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My heart was racing. It sounded like at any moment it would explode from out of my chest. I looked in the crowd, and still couldn't find my parents. The race hadn't even started, and I was already sweating. I took my position, behind the line. My legs were shaking. I could still hear my heart, I never was this nervous. I wondered what made this race different. Maybe it's because this is my last race.

My name is Mia Perez. I'm a senior at West Wind High School. I've joined track every year that I possibly could. Ever since I was a young girl, running was what I enjoyed, and what I was best at. My parents always told me I ran before I walked; so I guess you can say being a track star was my destiny. I'm not a cocky person: not at all. I was aware that that I was the best, and so was everyone else. I placed first in every race I participated in. Although being the best seems like it’s so great, it's harder than you think. Instead of going out and having fun, I trained hard, I ate healthy, and I didn't give into peer pressure. I could honestly say through my entire high school years, I only went to one party. I stayed for about a half hour. There was too much smoke, and it made my stomach turn. I also had to keep my reputation of being the best, and prove to everybody I really was. If I was devoted to anything, it's running.

When I was fifteen my mother was diagnosed with cancer. That was a huge stab in chest to my whole family. Everybody was always on the edge. If it wasn't mom sobbing about her pain, it was dad because he had to hold down the house. If it wasn't him, it was me from my sister asking question after question. My escape was, and has always been running. As soon as my cleats hit the track, all my worries and stress were gone. It was just me and the track, exactly how I liked it.

"Why are they not here?" I whispered to myself then I heard a loud bang! The race had started. As I took each step, thoughts raced through my mind. My parents never, not once missed a race. I tried not to let it distract me. Jenny Wastin was gaining speed, and catching my pace. She had always been my competition. Then something jolted me. I felt something it’s hard to explain, something like a presence; someone was pushing me. My arms pumped with all of my might, my calves felt like they were ripping because of my speed, and my heart was pounding. Jenny was far behind now. I felt the gold ribbon detach, and I did it, I won my last race.

My coach was jumping up and down, like a kid on a trampoline for the first time. "You did it! You broke your record. Hell I think you beat Sarah Crayton's time!" Sarah Crayton was the fastest girl in the 100 meter dash. A smile crept upon my face. She received the time of 10.8 seconds, in the year of 1993. To beat that time was an honor. "Your time is 10.4! I'm so proud of you! I bet your parents are too."

My parents, I had forgotten all about them. I scanned the crowd anxiously, until my eyes met Kate. Kate was my best friend since kindergarten. She was like a sister to me, and a daughter to my parents. I could tell something was wrong. She approached me, tears in her eyes. "Mia, your mother, she, she, she's gone."

A huge boulder formed in this inside of my throat. I fell to my knees. The crowd was loud around me. I was being selfish. "How could she do this to me? She knew how important this was to me, and she didn't come!" I was more angry than hurt, but I guess you will not understand unless you're ever in my position.

Weeks passed, and I took her flowers. "Hey mom, it's a nice day. Sorry it took so long for me to come around, but I'm just beginning to understand this whole, well you know. I also wanted to say sorry, for being mad at you ‘cause you weren't there for me." I stopped. There was a gentle, reassuring breeze that whispered in the humid air. She’s here. She always had been. It was that day that I finally realized it.





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