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Running

By , Clarkston , MI

Her feet hit the concrete and her music blared through her headphones as Stevie ran around the old track in the musty high school gym. “Three,” she whispered under her breath as she lapped her starting position. “Six more to go,” she said while the her breathing became more forced and her mind drifted even farther away. When people asked her why she ran, she always told people what they wanted to hear. “I run to stay healthy,” or “I just like the way it feels,” she lied through her teeth as she put on the mask that everyone loved and no one questioned. Stevie ran because she was lonely, Stevie ran because the pain she felt distracted her away from the pit in her stomach that constantly reminded her that she would never find anyone that could make her truly happy. So she kept on running and she kept on pushing so that one day maybe the pit would go away.
Lap after lap Stevie ran, and lap after lap the pit remained. She was so focused on the feeling of sadness that she missed the thudding of another pair of feet behind her. It wasn’t until she heard, “on your left” that she realized that she wasn’t by herself. The boy brushed past her and continued on his path while Stevie watched, entranced as he carried himself along the track. Her music blared in her ears again and she snapped back to reality, realizing that the boy had already passed her by a quarter of a lap while she had watched like a hawk. “Keep going,” she said as the pit in her stomach wrenched. She caught up with the runner and this time she said “on your right.” Feeling accomplished that she had passed him, she continued running at a faster clip. Half a lap later, again she heard the thundering of footsteps and yet again he called out. His blonde hair whipped back and forth as he pumped his legs with force. She paused her music and set her jaw, forcing her legs to run faster, as her mind was set on winning the playful battle between the stranger. “On...your...right,” she said between breaths, catching up to his position. Without looking over, she matched his pace and listened as his breath became ragged at the exertion. The two were locked in, until she felt his presence leave her side and heard his footsteps come to a halt. Stopping and looking back, Stevie saw the stranger bent over with his hand on his knees, breathing heavily. “Looks like I won,” She called out playfully. He jerked his head up and their eyes locked with one another. “You’re one heck of a sprinter, it’s almost like you’re running from something, ” She called called with a smirk. “Maybe not running from someone, maybe I’m running to someone,” he retorted, with a cute smile. The pit in her stomach turned to butterflies and her heart that had been pumping from running suddenly pumped for another reason.






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