Sunset Running | Teen Ink

Sunset Running MAG

May 17, 2009
By Berry BRONZE, Honiton, Other
Berry BRONZE, Honiton, Other
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments

I met him when I went running for the first time, about a year ago. It was winter, but the sky was clear and bright as I ran along the sea wall. There were plenty of other runners. Some were in pairs or even groups, but the only sound was the traffic and the gulls and the rhythmic waves.

I had just arrived, and I was unsure of what to do, so I lingered with my hands on the wall watching the sun go down. To the left, a young man sat on a peeling green bench, slowly lacing up his sneakers – procrastinating like me, it seemed. Then he stood up and began to run. That was when I stopped watching him subtly out of the corner of my eye and turned to face his receding form, staring.

His movement was so awkward that it was painful to watch. He lurched forward like a startled colt (but without any of the natural elegance) and carried on cantering, with stiff legs. Other runners turned to look too, their mouths slightly agape. An old couple walking their dog stopped talking to watch, eyes wide. I even noticed the people's heads in cars turn in his direction.

The young man didn't slow, but staggered on in his sideways gait. I turned away and began running in the opposite direction, a fierce blush burning my cheeks. I felt humiliated for him.

I saw him every night, always at sunset, and I did my best not to stare, as others did. As my running became stronger, his seemed to weaken and become even more pained. Several times I caught him bent over his shoelaces with tears in his eyes. Whether they were from embarrassment or pain, I couldn't tell.

Everything changed that spring. Though it was May, the sea was churning and the rain was swept sideways by the wind, freezing my fingers and cheeks. I had just finished my circuit and sat proudly with my legs dangling over the sea wall, breathing deeply. The young man collapsed onto a bench nearby, grimacing, with his legs stretched out in front of him. As is the way with wet tracksuits, his had ridden up so I could see his socks. Sock, I corrected myself. He was only wearing one. He didn't need one on the other foot; metal isn't affected by the cold.

I couldn't stop my tears from forming, and my fists clenched in helpless shock. He caught me looking and I smiled encouragingly, hoping the rain would disguise my sadness.

“Hi,” I said, before I realized what I was doing.

“Hi,” he replied. Noticing my shivering, he said, “We should run in the morning.” He turned his face skyward and let the rain fall on it. “Maybe it wouldn't be so cold.”

“We should,” I agreed. He looked back at me as he slowly got up. Then he squared his shoulders and began running again.

The next day, I ran as the sun was rising, instead of setting. I'm not sure why I did this, but I just did. I think about this decision a lot because it makes me question fate, which until then I'd never given a second thought to. But this is not about me, it's about him.

I didn't expect him to be there, but he was, and I caught up with him halfway through my route. We fell into step and he smiled, pleasantly surprised. We didn't say anything. In fact, we rarely say anything, even though we run together almost every day now.

People still stare at him, unabashed by their rudeness – which infuriates me – but he never says a word. He just puts his head down and keeps on going. He is getting better, though he has good days and bad days. Sometimes he can't manage more than a few hundred yards. Those are the days when tears of shame come into his eyes and there is nothing I can do to help. But sometimes he runs for miles and miles with me.

His name is David.

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This article has 22 comments.

vivz02 GOLD said...
on Apr. 30 2016 at 9:32 pm
vivz02 GOLD, Naperville, Illinois
12 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"a life you love," sydney carton to lucie manette, a tale of two cities

Well written, the perfect amount of clear description without going overboard. Nice job!

on Dec. 4 2014 at 12:07 am
my-King-breathes-stars BRONZE, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
1 article 0 photos 20 comments
completely agree with rebecca. this is so amazing and wonderful to read. lm thrilled when I find such great stuff on here. you did great!

emattox SILVER said...
on Dec. 6 2011 at 11:32 am
emattox SILVER, Onancock, Virginia
9 articles 1 photo 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. -Ghandi

Love, love, love, love, love!

dm1723 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 23 2011 at 9:37 am
dm1723 BRONZE, Singapore, Other
1 article 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. - Ernest Hemingway.

Beautiful. Made my day. Running stories are my favourite. Im trying to write one. But nothing seems to work. I could use some tips. Thanks. Once again beautiful!!!!!!!!!

on Sep. 1 2011 at 12:35 pm
dia.dreamer GOLD, Kochi, Other
10 articles 0 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am." - Sylvia Plath

you didn't need to show why he was in pain. It was obvious and that makes it more heartwarming, for some reason. LOVED this. Your writing is just awesome. keep doing it. never stop. :) and check out my work too :)

on Aug. 18 2011 at 5:20 pm
meganwagner21 PLATINUM, Old Bridge, New Jersey
42 articles 0 photos 139 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes good things have to fall apart so better things can fall together." -Marilyn Monroe
"Nobody can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -Maria Robinson

i love this piece! its relly heartwarming. keep up the gud work!

on Aug. 18 2011 at 1:24 pm
dolphin13 BRONZE, North St. Paul, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 125 comments
Your writing just goes to show that we should not judge others. I love it! Keep on writing!

Berry BRONZE said...
on Dec. 20 2010 at 9:04 am
Berry BRONZE, Honiton, Other
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Hiya,  I guess I kind of thought that it'd be self-explanatory seeing as he had had his leg amputated...

But thanks for your comment, all critism is useful!

on Dec. 19 2010 at 5:47 pm
artistinda_lonelily SILVER, Joliet, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 43 comments
this is good, but there isn't an explination to why he was in pain so much. you should explain that int eh story so it would make more sense.

reenay_95 GOLD said...
on Dec. 19 2010 at 10:10 am
reenay_95 GOLD, West Lafayette, Indiana
16 articles 0 photos 86 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can't see the stars if you are always looking down.

This was sooo good. It was very touching. I like the way you revealed that he had a metal leg-subtle, but still there.

on Sep. 22 2010 at 9:20 pm
FutureAuthor12 BRONZE, Aurora, Colorado
4 articles 0 photos 5 comments
Like most authors on TeenInk, you have a great talent for writing! But by far, this is literally the greatest piece of writing I've read in my entire life! (:

banna42 BRONZE said...
on Jul. 18 2010 at 7:59 pm
banna42 BRONZE, Connellsville, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"you have enemies? good, it means you stood up for something" -eminem

that was awesomeee!

Chloe27 SILVER said...
on Jun. 4 2010 at 11:01 am
Chloe27 SILVER, Shawnee, Kansas
5 articles 0 photos 6 comments
Really great and surprise twist there.

on Mar. 30 2010 at 6:29 pm
thewriteidea DIAMOND, Pleasanton, California
67 articles 0 photos 336 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't cry that it's over, smile because it has happened."

Oh my God...this is so touching. I literally feel different now reading it. I had no idea it would turn out like that. Very impressive work.

E.Lee GOLD said...
on Mar. 30 2010 at 9:54 am
E.Lee GOLD, Akron, Ohio
15 articles 0 photos 168 comments
this is so amazing! i love it. good work

kjafdslk said...
on Feb. 1 2010 at 11:58 am
I love this! It's so sad how the guy was made fun of. Excellent detail!

on Dec. 21 2009 at 1:38 pm
CanYouSeeTheCrazy PLATINUM, Cle Elum, Washington
21 articles 0 photos 125 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I know why everyone in this world is so desperate to find love."
"Oh yeah? Why then?"
"Because, it's the closest thing we have to magic."

rebecca just voiced my exact opinion and feeling when i read your article. i love it. you're a genius.

wildflowers said...
on Dec. 10 2009 at 8:09 pm
wildflowers, Irvine, California
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." -Anonymous

Wow. Love the way you weave simply words together and end up with this masterpiece.

Such a great piece!

on Nov. 24 2009 at 8:20 am
bcookie PLATINUM, Ashville, Ohio
27 articles 5 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

This story was wonderfully written. It was very inspiring and I loved reading it. Good job!

Bex24 BRONZE said...
on Nov. 11 2009 at 4:20 pm
Bex24 BRONZE, Toronto, Other
3 articles 21 photos 79 comments
You know those moments when your heart just kind of stops for a second? When you watch a touching movie, or when you see something extraordinary? That just happened to me. This story is incredible. So subtle. So perceptive. So moving. Your insight is so rare, and so needed in this world. Congratulations for such a beautiful piece!