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Racing Raymond

Sometimes the sky was was a soft pastel blue, smeared above us like a simple quiet piece of artwork. It's arms wide open. Smiling. Smooth. Slowly drifting and darkening. Sometimes it was patterned with smudges of white cotton, crawling across it's surface, inching towards the ends of the earth.

But, it wasn't always like this for Raymond and I.

Sometimes the sky was a hovering mass of grey, sprinkled with pepper. Slipping, dangling over, threatening to cry, to ring droplets of its pain down to the soil and black asphalt of the earth. Often you could hear it breathing. Jagged and uneven. Its breath swooshing across our faces, tickling the tips of our noses and tangling our hair.

Flowing blue or crippled grey.
It didn't matter.
Each day we raced.
From one side of the school-yard to the other and the back.

Raymond and I ran.

Not so much against each-other as against the the thief of time and the bipolar sky, seeing if we could reach the end before either of them had a chance to change. Of course, we didn't know it at the time. But, now looking back, I know that is why neither of us ever stole glances at the opponent.
Our eyes always straight forward.
Skinny arms reaching for the floppy metal of the fence that we would use to launch ourselves back in the other direction.

The practice became a ritual.
Everyday after school, I knew where to be. Raymond did too.
We would wait for each other. One of us sitting on the crooked wooden bench in front of the kindergarten classroom, deciding what mood the sky was in that day.

Ready. Set. Go!

And just like that we were flying. Soaring. Racing.
The sound of tennis shoes slapping the concrete in the empty thud that remind me of those memories. Mouths open. Dilated pupils that were already imagining the finish line. Our faces grinning,not because of the certainty that we would win. No, but because we were free.

We were the only ones in the world.

And too soon, it would be over. Us smiling. Our lungs inflating and deflating. Over and over again.

We were back to reality. Looking around, we would realize we were surrounded by a scattering of left over children with sullen, tired faces that said they wanted to go home. We weren't the only ones in the world anymore.
We never declared the winner of any race.

Over time, the ritual would disperse and only come together every once in while to greet us.

I don't remember the last race or the first one.

But, I do remember one day, lazily wearing flip-flops to school. And at the end of the day, when Raymond came up to me and asked if I wanted to race, if I wanted to be free for a couple seconds more, I would drop my head down and point to my bare feet, scrunching my crinkled toes against the warm plastic of the shoes and say,

"Can't. I got flip-flops on. See?"

I can him now, the wrinkled laugh lines at the corners of his pointy eyes fading away.

The ritual eventually fell apart. Its pieces got lost and couldn't find their way back. Somewhere along the way it gradually softened and became dust that floated away in the hustle bustle of life.

Was it that schizophrenic sky that eventually won the race?
Was it me?
Was it Raymond?

I can't know for sure. But, something tells me that in the end, it was that thief of time that finally caught up with us.



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thewriter247This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 7:37 pm:
I just LOVE the imagery on this. Awesome, Rainy!
 
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