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On the Track
Brooke placed her foot on the starting block. As the starter yelled “On your mark!” she set her face in an unwavering stare toward the finish line. “Get set!” rang the warning call. “POW!” the gun went off. She took her first step and…. Plop! Face first she fell on the rubbery red track. The sound of the laughing crowd was like a million claws scraping across a million chalkboards. And when she finally crossed the finish, all the other girls were trying, not successfully, to hide the smiles and snickers of laughter. But the worst thing of all was that her sister, Aubrey, Queen of the Track, Empress of the High Jump had seen her shameful fall.
Brooke’s piercing green eyes were down cast climbing into their car. She swept her black curls from her face as a tear fell on her track shorts. She looked at her sister. At school, friends always surrounded Aubrey. All the guys adored her. Who could blame them? She was smart, pretty and could talk about almost any sport existing. She had an athletic build and her swift powerful legs had never tasted defeat. Brooke felt a twinge of jealousy pump through her. She stared down at her own two legs. Her stupid, weak, clumsy legs!
When the car stopped in their driveway she swung the door open. Rushing to her room she flung herself onto the bed, Aubrey running up after her.
“Today wasn’t that bad. I mean you can’t win them all. Right?” said Aubrey sympathetically.
“Wasn’t that bad?! Have you ever fallen on you face, heard almost your whole school mock you with laughter?! Then had to face going to school on Monday to hear more people ridicule you?” exclaimed Brooke.
“Well no, but…I…I didn’t mean it that way…. I just…I don’t know…” Aubrey fell silent and an awkward pause prevailed.
Aubrey tried to comfort her, “I know you feel really bad, but in awhile every thing will calm down and nobody will remember what happened.” After Aubrey left, it took Brooke awhile to cry herself to sleep.
Monday morning’s sunshine woke Brooke up and she jumped out of bed forgetting the tragedy of Friday. But as soon as she spotted her track shoes the whole thing burst through her mind eating at her thoughts growing into a bigger embarrassment than it needed to be. She sluggishly pulled on her favorite outfit wishing that she’d miss the bus. But despite her efforts to be late for school she was ready when the bus came forced herself out the door.
She wearily walked toward the bus with her head down and her thoughts dwelling on what people would say the second she stepped on the bus. “They’ll probably all smile and turn to the person next to them and say, ‘Isn’t that the girl who fell on her face.’ And then they’ll snicker and giggle at me.”
The bus turned the corner into the school and parked. Everyone else rushed to lockers and classrooms while Brooke lagged behind. Brooke was left to walk through the crowded hallway alone. She once again let her imagination go wild. She envisioned everyone turning, pointing and laughing, rolling on the floor, and jeering at her scornfully. As she came back from to reality she was three inches from her math class door. She dreaded going in but she was late all ready so she thrust herself through. The rest of the day was spent wondering what people were saying about her. She was lost in self-pity. Just as she thought the day couldn't be worst she ran into Amber.
“Brooke” Amber said shortly.
“Amber” Brooke returned. They nodded at each other and were about to go their separate ways when Amber said sardonically, “Hey, nice job at track. You’re so balanced.”
Brooke clinched her teeth to stop the tears from coming. “It wasn’t my fault the starting block slipped.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you want to tell your self, Brooklyn”
“Don’t call me Brooklyn!”
Amber disregarded the comment, swung on her heel and proceeded to walk down the hallways chanting, “Brooklyn Grace fell on her face!”
Broke walked home. Once again Brooke retreated to her room. On he Tweety Bird covers she perched herself and grasping her pillow curled up like a potato bug. Ugh! Amber is so, so ugh! She makes my so mad! The sound of little footsteps aroused Brooke.
“Book is you okay.” Brooke raised head to see her three year old brother peering anxiously at her.
“Are you upset cause you falled?”
“When I messed up at preschool I drew a cool picture of Spiderman and everybody forgeted what I did.”
“That’s it!” exclaimed Brooke, startling her little brother.
He hesitated, “I have a color ring set,” his brown eyes wide with adoration that his sister would take his advice.
“No it’s ok, that’s not exactly what I meant.” Brooke’s brain spun outrageous ideas of performing magnificent deeds so that no one would remember her humiliation. She rushed from her room to call Aubrey.
“Meet me at the pond!” (Click) as Brooke hung up she grabbed her jacket and ran out the door.
The pond’s plush moss and pleasant trees surrounded the tranquil pool with an air of serene peace, which was only disturbed when the two sisters sat there and conversed. They sat by the pond chattering wildly of Brooke’s humorous ideas until Aubrey exclaimed:
“I’ve got it!”
“You’ve got what?”
“The perfect idea! You have a track meet on Wednesday right? All you have to do is win a race and all is forgotten!”
“Well you make it sound easy but I’m the one the one who has to do it.”
“Oh come on, your great at racing. You beat me here and I had a two-block head start. Plus you have tomorrow to practice. See you tomorrow?”
“Don’t think this is going to work, but why not try?
Tuesday flew by like a feather in a hurricane. When Wednesday came Brooke was on edge, anxious, and completely miserable thinking constantly of that afternoon’s events. Finally the track meet was starting and her only chance to redeem herself was the 100 meter dash.
The track lay before her, her starting blocks were set. Her eyes were riveted on the goal like a lioness hunting her prey. The starter called out the order to get on their marks. The tension that surrounded her suddenly fell away. She clenched her teeth and…POW! The gun went off.