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Just keep running

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When she was just 5 years old, Clarissa’s mom left her. That was 11 years ago, now she’s 16. She never knew the reason why her mom left her. Maybe she was too obnoxious, hyper, or maybe the reason didn’t have to do with her at all. But whether she hated her or did it because she loved her (doubtful), She will never forgive her for leaving her with the Broginsons.

Something about the way that the house smelled every morning of coffee and cigarettes, and the way Kerry her 8 year old step sister pulled her hair to wake her up, never seemed to get Clarissa onto a good start. But today, she woke up realizing it’s the first day of summer. No school, camps, volunteering, and not too many friends. Just sitting here, babysitting, or doing chores.

There is no way I am going to go through another summer. I’m getting older and I can’t take this much longer.

“Clarissa! Clarissa! Wake up!” Yelled Kerry that morning, and the first morning of many.

Instead of pushing her off like she usually does, she got up already feeling numb as the day began.

There was her dad, the man who once gave her piggy back rides and hugs everyday. But now, he was a workaholic, and not the friend-dad he used to be before she turned 9.

Also at the breakfast table, were Holly and Jeff, her other younger step-siblings. And of course, Candace. Or as Kerry wished she’d call her all these years, mom.

It was a sunny day, the opposite of Clarissa’s mood. Normal people would look at this day as one of the best days of the year. It was officially the start of care free fun. But, oddly, Clarissa liked school. She got to escape the confines of this house, and actually do something she cared about.

“I’m going to go on a run, ok?”

“Fine, be back by 3:00 though to baby-sit.” Said her dad.

Rolling her eyes, and grabbing her ipod she started out on her escape from the Broginsons. That’s how she labeled every run. The one thing she loved the most was running, and she has been on the track team since 6th grade.

Clarissa could go up to 5 miles if she really felt like it. And today, when she got to the 2nd mile, she didn’t ever want to stop. Suddenly she had a small memory, of running in her backyard and going past the fence until she was in a field where the grass was at her knees. She remembered her mom calling her name, and eventually turning around. I’ve always wondered what would’ve happened if I kept going. Clarissa thought.

Now she had the chance.

With feelings of determination flooding through her, she ran through the woods. The ache in her stomach only made her go faster.

I’m free! I can live at my friend’s house, get a job! Who cares, but I’m free!

At the rate she was going, she never wanted to stop. In fact she thought maybe she could run the longest a female has ever run, maybe 60 miles! But just as fast as the thought came into her head, it left as she saw a woman crying on the bench.

She’s not your problem, really keep running! But even as she thought this, her legs began to slow down. And when she finally got to the bench, she stopped. The lady looked up.

She looked as if she hasn’t slept in days; her face was blotchy from crying. The lady looked as if maybe she was 45.

“Are you okay?” Clarissa asked.

“Oh, yes yes I’m fine. Don’t worry about me honey, I’m just a selfish lonely old woman.”

Pity immediately appeared in Clarissa’s eyes. “I know I’m a stranger, but really you can talk to me.”

With hesitation, she finally gave in. “It’s just… 10 years ago I left my 7 year old daughter. I was young, and stupid. I thought my job was more important, and I just lost myself. And…” She started crying even harder.

“My mom left me too. Your not the only one who made that decision”


“Wait, are you, Gabby?” The ladies eyes opened wide, as she studied Clarissa’s face.

“Well, uh, no. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, no that’s okay. I just feel like I’ve been seeing her little 7 year old face everywhere lately. I don’t know what’s getting into me.”

“Why don’t you go find her?”

“I would. But I’m just scared that she won’t want me back in her life. That she’ll be ashamed of me.”

“Hey, don’t worry about that. Can I tell you something?”

“Sure, of course.”

“Well, if my mom came back, I would be really mad at her. Except, I would be too happy to care. I have dreams that she’ll come to my house. But we haven’t moved since she left, and I know if she wanted me again, she would’ve come back.”

Now the pity was directed towards Clarissa. “Oh, sweety I’m so sorry! You know what; I’m going to go march up to her house right now!”

With a tight hug, the lady left.

And Clarissa realized something as well. By now, her mom would’ve come. But it is pretty obvious she doesn’t care.

She looked at the path to the right of her. That meant a life of independence, that she just wasn’t sure she was ready for yet. And she looked at the path on her left. She got up off the bench, and began her path back home.



“Hello, I made you some pasta because I really admire how much you run Clarissa. I know I could never have the patience to do that.”
said Candace.

Full of gratitude, Clarissa smiled. “Thanks mom!”





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Zero_K This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm
This is so cute! I love it!
-Blessed Be!
+++ZERO+++
 
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