My Forever Light

December 29, 2009
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The sun was almost entirely gone now. The light would soon disappear too. The light that stayed after the sun always felt like an empty promise to me. I started to run, feeling my feet get under me. His deep, booming voice blared in my head, “Go, Massie! Faster!” In the distance, I could see the last remnants of my tall shadow bobbing in the distance. My breaths heaved in and out with each pounding step. In… out…. in… The slaps of my pink Nike shocks against the concrete echoed in the background of the lullaby breeze of the wind. My neon yellow shoelaces shined in the faint dim of sunlight. The chirp of the crickets hummed in the distance, chorusing with the buzz of the emerging fireflies, hidden in the forest of golden, August grass.

Running reminded me the most of him. My dad. I squeezed my eyes shut for a second in pain. In that second, I could almost hear his deep, rumbling laugh in the distance. I could see his black, wispy strands of hair, mixed in a sea of white strands that he claimed didn’t exist. My breaths shortened as I forced the memories away. I gathered speed, refusing to look back. The scrunchie holding my musky, amber brown hair felt loose as the ends of my wispy strands of hair tickled my spine. Shaking my mane in frustration, I leaped forward. Faster. Faster. Faster! I screamed in my mind.

Heart thudding, my breaths whimpered out of my throat. I felt the world whirl around me as my legs carried me further and further, quicker and quicker, through the familiar path through the woods. But, it seemed like nothing was fast enough, to escape, get away from his memories. I could still hear his heavy pants in the background, cheering me on. I screeched in frustration. His words lingered in my mind, “Go, Massie. You can do it!” I could almost see his shadow creep up on mine, his heavy breaths haunting me. Go away! Go away! I screamed in my mind. Running used to be time that I had for myself. To be with myself in peace. But not anymore. Now whenever I ran, I saw him. His presence haunting me.

My legs buckled under me as I collapsed into the patch of dry grass, mixed with a rough field of weeds. I couldn’t run any longer. Breathing in the sweet night air, I let the memories overtake me. I couldn’t hide or run from them any longer. My dad coaxing me onto my first two-wheeler bike; my fear then awe when I realized that he had tricked me into thinking that he was holding on to me, but I was really riding by myself. My dad patiently teaching me how to tie my shoes into the perfect bows. My dad cheering on the sidelines for me at all those first grade soccer games. My dad training me for all those track meets, waking me up on all those Saturday mornings when I wanted to be sleeping, so dedicated to making sure that I was the best I could be. And finally, my dad lying in the coffin, so lifeless, fingers cold and unmoving. Gone forever.

I plowed my sweaty fingers through the grass. Taking a deep breath, I picked myself up from the ground. As the sun disappeared under the road in front of me, I felt a faint smile play across my lips, happy for once as his booming voice filled my mind, “Let’s go, Massie! Breaks over!” The reassurance soothed my panicking heart. His memories are going to be with me forever.

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