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Memories of a Runner

By , Princeton Jct., NJ
It’s not practical. I’m not fast enough anyway and it won’t get me into college. Stress relief? Exercise? I’m one of the most academically focused people in my grade – nothing exists for us but school, afterschool clubs, and outside of school competitions.

Last year sports existed; last year everything did. But now time slips away like silk, rustling and laughing as it passes. The days are too short. I cling to what of my life I can, but all in vain: the ground shifts too fast underfoot. The music, the wind, the smell of fresh grass twist away from me and I grope as might one blind.

My classmates and my teachers tell me I’m a slacker. I lack dedication and commitment. I may be “smart” but I’ll never get anywhere unless I try harder … How hard am I supposed to try, and how hard can anyone try?

I swallow my feelings every day, pushing them far down so that I can jam in that extra hour of contest prep, so that I can get up an hour earlier every morning to read my math textbooks before school starts. But when I am alone – when I dream – when I wander – a voice I barely recognize anymore whispers to me. I remember everything I am giving up, everything I could have had …

A “normal” person. Good enough but not “exceptional.” Would that be so bad? It was only a short time ago; yet what has risen up between – all those hours of my life, tirelessly passionate, that I devoted to what I am right now – can I leave that behind? Do I want to?

I chose this; I gave up everything. This is a eulogy I suppose, a parting verse for something I once loved more than love can comprehend … I chose this.





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