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Gotta Run, Gotta Write

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I sit on the front steps and pull my shoelaces as tight as I can. Double knotting them I kick the bottom step with my heel. These shoes aren’t going anywhere, but where I tell them. I walk down the walkway and as soon as I hit the sidewalk I take off at a jog. I turn around the corner at the end of the road and pick up my pace, not yet a full run but not a jog anymore either. The wind flattens my baggy t-shirt and shorts against my skin, and pulls my hair back like a rocket’s tail. I smile as I count the resonating slap of my shoes hitting the concrete as I get into high gear. I close my eyes and soak in the sun that’s hitting my face and arms.

I’m free. I’m in control. No one else gets to choose where my feet take me, but me. I can run to the library, the high school, or even the McDonald’s in the opposite directions. The point is the choice is all mine as to wear I go and the pace I go at.

After one lap I’m back at my house. I jog in place as I unscrew the lid to my water bottle and take a few gulps before setting it back down. I look at my watch. I still have another half hour before I have to be ready for the bus. Another lap it is
I turn around the last two corners and I’m back on my street. Pain gnaws from my knee up my leg. I take a deep breath. I can do this. I can make it to my house. My knee is not going to stop me this time.

I make it to my house almost in tears and out of breath. I stay standing even though I just want to collapse on the steps. I see my best friend, Tessa come around the bend. “I see you’ve already pushed yourself too far. We do have gym today, you know?” She says.

I nod, “I can’t choose where I run in gym, it’s not the same. Do you want to run with me tomorrow?”

She sighs, “I’m not getting up this early on a Saturday Chlo.”

I try to take a step towards the house now that some of the pain has resided. My knee buckles and I begin to fall. I see Tessa out of the corner of my eye lunge towards me. I grab a hold of the rickety railing attached to our porch.

“Are you okay?” She asks concerned as she pulls me up.I look down at my knee blinking back the tears and I shake my head.

“It’s getting worse.” Tessa hugs me as we both sit back on the bottom step. “It’s gotta get worse before it’ll get better, right?”

I glance up at her hopeful face and just nod. “Can you make it into the house okay?” I nod and stand making sure to keep as much of my weight on my left leg as possible.

Two years go by and we are going to visit family in Michigan over Thanksgiving break. By the time the five and half hour trip is done we are all tired and stiff. We each drag what we can carry into the farm house and relax on the floor of the living room. I stretch out my legs and begin rubbing from my knee to hip, but the pain doesn’t lessen. A day turn into days and then a couple weeks, but still the pain isn’t going away. My mom and I make an appointment and find the best thing to do at this point is physical therapy.

After four months of physical therapy we find out that there’s no way to fix what’s wrong with my leg. If the doctors had realized when I was younger during the many hospital visits and x-rays what the problem was they might have been able to fix it, but not now. The right hip had grown longer than the left and is eroding away at the cartilage between the joints in my right hip and knee. Since I grew up this way my left leg has tried to compensate for my right legs issue and has started to erode away at the cartilage in the left knee as well. I was to refrain from running or jumping as well as joining sports where you have to run or jump often because it will only speed the deteriorating process.
Since then I’ve found news ways to be in control and free. Even though this was one of the hardest times of my life I learned that I was a better writer than I ever was a runner.



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