This Is Where I Say Goodbye

by | Apr 4, 2017 | Fiction

Starting Line. Watch time: 0:00.

The starting horn blares over Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. A cheer starts at the front and undulates through the anxious throng of runners. My stomach rumbles beneath the violet fabric of my long sleeved t-shirt. We shuffle forward, inch by inch. An elbow prods my ribs. A foot nudges mine. After what seems like hours, inches become feet. We’re speed walking. Jogging. Running. I push the start button on my watch just as my left foot crosses the starting line. The pack loosens and I dash down Columbus Drive.

Mile 1. Watch time: 8:01.

The sound of the starting line music fades behind us as we pound forward and enter the dark cavernous stretch under the viaduct. We emerge into the bright light and cross the first bridge. Red carpet covers the metal grates, but I can still feel them through my shoes. It isn’t so bad now, but later when my feet are sore it will feel like hell.

There are spectators everywhere. They line the streets five deep on both sides. Everyone smiles and cheers as we run by. Today, everyone in Chicago is a running fan.

I’m looking for him. Even among the crowds he was taller than almost everyone else. I would look for his smile, his encouragement. But today I won’t see him. I won’t hear him scream “Run, Anna, run!” while he waves his arms above the rest of the crowd so that I can’t miss him.

Mile 2. Watch time: 16:02.

My pacing is perfect through two miles. My legs feel light and fast. During the Stanley Cup parade, we stood on the very sidewalk I am running past, scrunched up against the metal barrier. Red and white confetti rained down and pooled in the street. Bits of it stuck in my hair and on his shoulders. He stood behind me with his arms wrapped around my waist, a shield against the flailing limbs of the intoxicated fan next to us. Eric shook his head at him and squeezed his arms so tightly around my waist that I could barely breathe. I could tell how badly he wanted a drink. I could see his fingers laced in front of my stomach. The nails of his right hand were dug so tightly into his left that small specks of red leaked from beneath them.

Mile 3. Watch time: 24:04.

I grab my first cup of water from the aid station just past the 5k mark. The water splashes down the front of my shirt as I try to drink without stopping. I get enough into my mouth and toss the cup to the side of the road. We continue north on LaSalle and run under the El tracks as a train rumbles overhead.

We met on one of those trains – the red line, further north than where I am. He sat next to me even though the car was nearly empty. “What are you reading?”

I didn’t realize he was talking to me until I looked up directly into his eyes. I was reading a book about nutrition and running performance. I showed him the cover without speaking.

“Are you a runner?” This time I knew he was talking to me. I nodded and smiled a little and then went back to trying to ignore him. I didn’t need him. I had spent too much time in and out of relationships and needed to learn how to be alone, or at least that’s what I tried to tell myself. But everyone I knew had someone. My friends were getting married, starting families, growing up. They treated me as though being single was a disease. There was no room for an odd number when they went out in groups of couples. There was no one for me to call and ask to hang out at the last minute on a Friday night. When given the choice of spending time with their someone or with me, I lost every time. I was so damn lonely and he was beautiful, tall with big brown eyes and lashes any girl would be jealous of. And my God he was persistent. He wouldn’t stop talking.

He stuck out his hand. “I’m Eric. So, what do you do for work?”

There were still several stops until it was time for me to get off, so I shook his hand and told him about my freelance writing work. He told me about his marketing job for some of the sports teams in town. We discovered that we were both from the west coast – I from Oregon and he from California. College had brought us both to Chicago. I had stayed because I had a great writing opportunity. He stayed because there was nothing to go back to.

“My parents died when I was a sophomore. I’m an only child so there was really nothing for me in California. Do you have any siblings?”

I felt myself soften. Perhaps it was his openness and genuine interest in my answers to his questions. “I have a sister, she’s seven years older than me. We’re not very close.”

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a sibling that was like a best friend, you know? Someone who was always there. I wonder if it would keep the lonely away when you had no one else.”

A shadow flitted across his face, but I noticed it and, in that moment, I felt a connection with him, because he was lonely too and, unlike so many other people I knew, he was not afraid to admit it. I smiled. “I think it might.”

The shadow was replaced with a smile and his cheeks flushed pink. “So, Anna, what kind of food do you absolutely hate?”

I laughed, I couldn’t help it. “Um, seafood. The smell, the taste, everything about it.”

“Broccoli for me. It’s awful. So if I were to ask you to go out to dinner with me, we would need a place with no fish and no broccoli.”

My stomach fluttered. “Are you asking?”

“Tomorrow night, the new Italian place on Morse?”

Of course I agreed.

Mile 4. Watch time: 32:07.

I find a nice pocket right behind the pack of 3:30 pace teamers. I won’t let thoughts of Eric distract me. The strain of pushing my body gives me needed distance from my memories. I picture each memory passing through my mind and floating away above me, like a runaway balloon. As each balloon soars away, I feel lighter and lighter.

My legs move effortlessly over the pavement. My breathing is steady and even. This is the closest I ever come to being free.

Mile 5. Watch time: 39:57.

I start to sweat. We run through Lincoln Park and the spectators become noticeably better dressed. The zoo is on our right. When we lived here, we had a love hate relationship with the zoo. We loved that admission was free and it was a nice place to walk around. We loved to see the animals, but we hated that they were in cages. After a while, I stopped going. I couldn’t take the hollow emptiness in their eyes and the way they paced in their enclosures. He still went, though. I think he found comfort in their desperation to escape their cages as he searched for a way out of his own.

Often during those final months he would be gone for hours. When he came home, we always had the same conversation. I’d ask, “How was your day?”

His answer was always the same. “Good. I just walked. Did some thinking.”

Then his eyes would narrow and his words became crisp, his enunciation more pronounced. “I wasn’t drinking or anything if that’s what you’re asking.”

It wasn’t what I had asked, but we both knew that it was what I had meant.

Mile 6. Watch time: 48:03.

I’m cruising through six miles. I focus on my breathing. In. Three steps. Out. Three steps. A steady rhythm. Our old neighborhood is coming up. Just past the 10k marker, we cross Diversey. In. Out. I concentrate on the breathing. We are running north on Sheridan and our old street runs parallel to it, two blocks to the east. We are almost to Belmont, almost into Lakeview. I try to avoid it, but I can’t keep myself from glancing to the right. I can see the lake in the distance, charcoal grey sinking beneath the blue sky.

We chose to live here because it was close to the lake, the zoo, the running path. One year, a blizzard shut down the entire city. On the morning after the storm, we ventured outside and stumbled over the mountains of snow.

The usually hectic street was deserted and noiseless. We stood at the edge of the park and looked out over the vast expanse of white to the east. Even the sky was a colorless splash of bright light. It was impossible to tell where the park ended and the water began.

As I squinted and tried to make out the horizon line, his voice crackled through the silence.

“When I’m with you, I feel like this.” He swept his gloved hand out toward the frozen water. “Like I don’t know where I end and you begin. I’m safe because you’re around me. When I’m with you, like this, just us here, I don’t want anything else. I don’t want to drink, I don’t want the fog. I want to be here.”

His words suffocated me.

I loosened my scarf. But then he leaned to kiss me and the heat from his lips made me forget his words. We hurried home and stripped off our snowy clothes as soon as our heavy wooden door thudded shut behind us. We made love on the floor in front of our door. His hands burned as they roamed over my cold skin, warming it inch by inch. The heat from our bodies melted the snow into little lakes around us.

There is no snow today but there is wind. I struggle to force my legs through the resistance, but then it whips up off the lake and swirls north, pushing us forward and away from our old home. The wind understands that I need to get away from here before I can’t.

Mile 7. Watch time: 55:59.

We reach the northernmost point of the course and veer west on Addison. I can see Wrigley Field. We used to go to games all the time. We’d sit in the sun out in the bleachers, drink bad warm beer, and half watch the baseball in front of us. I showed him how to fill out a scorecard, because his dad had never had the time to show him. We never paid close enough attention for an entire game to complete one, though. The warm air made us sleepy and silly and we would usually end up leaving by the seventh inning.

We went to a game against the Cardinals late in August that last summer. I was in the middle of an important project and had to step away to take several phone calls during the first few innings. The stack of clear plastic cups next to his feet grew a little larger each time I returned. I didn’t say anything. It was the anniversary of his parents’ deaths and he was always sullen on that day. But then, in the sixth inning, this big guy in front of us wearing a Pujols jersey leapt up and threw his arms in the air when the Cardinals took the lead. He was holding a beer and it sloshed over the side of his cup and splashed down the front of Eric’s shirt.

“What the fuck! Hey asshole!” He dropped his own beer and shoved him from behind. The unexpected push nearly toppled the big guy, but one of his friends reached out and hauled him up. He spun around and pulled back his fist, ready to slam it into Eric’s face. We were near an aisle and a security guard rushed over. The guy’s friends saw the security guard and grabbed his arm before he could swing. The security guard pushed past me, and held his arm out in front of him.

“What happened here?”

“This jerk shoved me. I almost fell.”

The security guard looked at the friends. They both nodded. Eric’s eyes were glassy and his cheeks flushed. He swayed back and forth and I was afraid he would sway too far and tip over. The security guard looked over at me and I saw a look that I, in that instant, realized was familiar – a mixture of pity and disgust. I had been seeing it more and more frequently when I was out with him. I pulled my sunglasses down from their perch atop my head to hide my teary eyes. I stood up and, with the security guard gripping one arm and me holding the other, we walked him down the slippery bleachers and out of the stadium. That was our last baseball game.

Mile 8. Watch time: 1:03:55.

We run through Boystown and the cheerleaders are dressed like cowboys this year. They hurl their Stetsons into the air, spin, and catch them in a choreographed routine. In spite of my mood, I smile. I speed up a little. My muscles have warmed up completely and my legs are still blissfully light and fresh. In my endorphin induced nirvana, I am fully aware of the absence of pain. I wish this feeling would last forever.

Mile 9. Watch time: 1:12:01.

But of course, it cannot. We pass the 15k marker and the sixth aid station. There is a tall bald guy in front of me. He is moving at a nice pace and the sun reflects off the crown of his head. I like to look at it. It’s a nice focus point. But he stops suddenly for a drink and I nearly collide with his sweaty back. I stumble and almost fall. I manage to stay upright, but it breaks my concentration.

I am running through the southwestern edge of our old neighborhood. Every corner here is ripe with memories. The ghosts of our past life trail along the sidewalks, each day indistinguishable from the next. I see the two of us walking along, holding hands and smiling. I see him sitting on a bench, leaning over to look at his phone screen.

And it is here, in the former playground of our daily life, that for the first time today I think about the day they found him. Even though I am running quickly, I can see it as though it is happening in front of me.

The two officers lean against the side of their car, staring at our building. The shorter one is rubbing his forehead as though he has a headache. His partner stands perfectly still, snowflakes gathering on his dark jacket. I see myself coming up the street and I want to tell myself to stop walking and turn around. To keep walking back through time until I never board the train on that warm spring day nearly nine years ago. But I keep walking and watching. The snow makes it seem as though I am watching a scene on a dying TV.

The taller one turns and sees me. He lowers his head as strides toward me. “Anna, I’m sorry, but we think we found Eric.” He puts an arm on my shoulder and tells me about the body. He tells me about the wallet and the gunshots. I stand perfectly still on the sidewalk listening as tears rain down my face. The snow intensifies and begins to swirl and I lose the picture.

Mile 10. Watch time: 1:20:03.

I wipe some sweat from my forehead before it can drip into my eyes. We turn right from North Avenue onto Wells. Old Town. We used to shop at the Treasure Island grocery store over here. The produce was cheap and they always carried a wide variety of random fruits and vegetables.

He used to ask me what things were. Root vegetables were always a struggle. “Okay, what’s this one? Turnip?”

“Not even close! Parsnip.”

And then he would forget what we had bought by the time we got home.

“Hey, Anna, what should we make with these turnips?”

I never knew if he was joking or not – he always had a great poker face. But when he was sober, he would do anything to make me laugh – make faces in the middle of an argument, dance naked through the apartment when I least expected it, make up inappropriate stories about the people standing near us in a checkout line and whisper them in my ear until I’d burst out laughing.

I wish I could remember more of these times. Instead, my mind echoes with the silence left when the laughter stopped.

Mile 11. Watch time: 1:28:01.

More people line the street holding huge brightly colored signs and shake cowbells. Everyone smiles. I move my legs a little faster. One foot in front of the other. Repeat. If I do these things, I make progress. The pain is secondary, but important. It is a pain I can control because I choose it. It can never control me. When I run, I am not weak. I am alone, but I am not lonely. I think clearly. I make decisions. I move forward. I believe that I move on.

Mile 12. Watch time: 1:36:05.

We run south on Franklin and cross the river again. The metal grates of the bridge grind against the soles of my feet. For the first time, my feet hurt. But then I step off the bridge and onto the pavement and the relief is instantaneous.

When he was mired in one of his drinking bouts, I would sit on the porch steps of our building and listen to the neighborhood while I waited. Every squeal of tires in the distance was his car. Every firework in the summer, a gunshot through his chest. Every siren, an ambulance rushing him to the emergency room. I was terrified he wouldn’t come home because a part of me always knew that someday he wouldn’t.

Mile 13. Watch time: 1:44:13.

I am surprised to see that I am already approaching the halfway point. I feel good, physically. Nothing really hurts, yet. I have a remarkable tolerance for pain. It’s what made me a good runner in the first place. I need to push myself mentally and stop letting the visits from my past distract me.

Eric could never figure out how to harness the mental strength needed to tame his demons, although he did try.

“Anna, I can’t do the whole AA thing – too preachy for me.” I agreed. But he did go to counseling. He got sober.

Then he stayed busy. His weekly list of activities made me dizzy: “Yoga on Monday and Wednesday morning. Basketball on Tuesday and Thursday, Counseling on Monday and Thursday night. Big Brother / Big Sister time on Tuesday and Friday.” He wanted to give back, show kids the right way to do things. The more people he felt accountable for, the less likely he felt he was to let them down.

It was never enough, though. I always knew when he was sliding back into his old habits. I could tell when the darkness returned. Instead of a “Hey, Anna!” and a kiss, his greeting was silence. I could feel it. The air would be dense with his sadness.

When I came home to the thick darkness, I tried to force the light back in. I would walk in and he would be where I had left him that morning. I would turn on the lights, pull him up from the couch, smile, hug him, open the windows, coax him into the shower, and try to chatter life back into our dying apartment. I was afraid of losing him and of my guilt. Because deep down, part of me hated him for his weakness. I resented him. I missed going out with him and not having to worry about who was going to be there or if there would be alcohol. I felt isolated from my friends again. But lonely was different than alone, and more than anything I feared being alone.

Mile 14. Watch time: 1:52:15.

We run west on Adams. The further we get away from the Loop, the thinner the crowds are. The buildings are shorter and sparser. Boarded windows increase exponentially. For the first time, it is quiet. The pack of runners around me thins as some slow with fatigue and cramps. My legs get a little heavier, but I try to ignore them and push to keep my pace up.

Mile 15. Watch time: 2:00:19.

Eric loved basketball. I remember the last game that we went to together. It was a playoff game. The one where Derrick Rose blew out his knee. Afterwards, we went out to dinner even though neither of us really felt like eating. He pushed his ravioli around his plate, tracing white circles in the thick red sauce. As we walked out, he squeezed my hand so hard it felt as though my fingers would never come apart. But when I looked up at him to protest, he was staring at the bottles lined up behind the bar. The look on his face was full of longing and something darker that made me squeeze his hand back as tightly as he was squeezing mine.

We pass the United Center. I look at the empty stadium parking lot and a cramp crawls up my left leg. It lodges itself behind my knee.

Mile 16. Watch time, 2:08:27.

We head east again, on Jackson this time. It is deceptive. If we were to keep running in this direction, we would run right into Grant Park. The race could be over. But instead we have to turn south and then west again and so on. There are still ten miles to go. I drink some Gatorade at the aid station right before the turn on Halsted, even though I can’t stand the taste. I need the electrolytes.

Eric used to try to tell me that he hated the taste of alcohol. “I like beer, but could do without the other stuff.”

The mountains of empty bottles through the years said otherwise.

He told me that his parents were dead on the first night we met. He didn’t tell me how until much later.

“Both of my parents were alcoholics. They tried to hide it, but I knew. Kids always know what their mom and dad are hiding. That’s really why I came to school all the way out here – to get away.”

I had put my arm around him and pulled him closer.

“On the night they died, dad swerved right in front of a semi. My mom was in the passenger seat. Hard to tell who was drunker, they usually matched one another drink for drink. They both died instantly.”

“So did the truck driver. He was twenty-seven with a pregnant wife at home. I quit my fraternity the next day and swore that I would never drink again.”

I pressed my lips to his forehead. It was hot and dry. Before I could ask, he said precisely what I wondered. “I don’t know what happened.” His voice was so soft I could barely hear him.

“I got my dream job. And there were so many parties and events and games. Social drinking was just a part of it.

But I always had it under control.”

But he didn’t.

Mile 17. Watch time: 2:16:35.

Our ever dwindling pack turns west onto Taylor St. I begin to hit the wall. My head buzzes. My stomach is empty and it hurts. I know I need to eat. I have a packet of cranberry flavored fruit jellies pinned to the pocket inside my shorts. I unpin them, tear open the package, squeeze two blocks into my mouth, and dissolve them on my tongue. I twist the top of the packet shut and re-pin it to my shorts without slowing. I accept a cup of water at the station and drink enough to wash away the residue of the melted blocks.

Mile 18. Watch time: 2:24:43.

Eric became so unpredictable that I stopped waiting up for him. I would go to bed and watch the headlights from the streets below dance across the bedroom walls and beg sleep to come. Eventually it would. One night I was woken by the sound of what I thought was water pouring in the corner of our bedroom. He had crept in while I slept. He was crouched in the corner. He thought it was the bathroom. He thought it was the toilet.

“What the hell are you doing?” I screamed.

He looked at me like he didn’t know who I was. Then something clicked and he remembered. He realized what he was doing and began to cry, wet ugly sobs.

“Anna.”

I left him there and went to the living room. When the first light began to creep around the curtains, he came out of the bedroom.

“Anna, I am so sorry.” Crimson webs were scattered across the whites of his eyes. I could smell the booze leaking from his pores, even though his breath was toothpaste fresh. I looked away.

“Anna, look at me please. Please.”

I refused.

“Anna, I had a rough night. I can’t believe I did that. I know you don’t believe me, but I will never do anything like that again. I swear. It’s for real this time. Please believe me. This time is different. I can explain.”

“No. Eric, no. We’re done. This was the last time.” I was sobbing as I said it, but I didn’t relent.

“Anna!”

“No, I mean it. Go.”

His face crumbled, and even though my chest tightened and my stomach ached, I didn’t take it back. He stood up slowly and, head down, gathered his wallet and keys from the coffee table, walked to the door, and left.

As soon as the door slammed behind him, I ran to the door and pulled it open but he was already down the stairs and out of sight. I wanted him to come back and two days later, when he stumbled through the door, knelt in front of where I was sitting on the couch, and begged me to take him back, I did.

The calories from the blocks help fill the emptiness in my stomach. I begin to make bargains with myself. If I can make it to the nineteenth marker with an under eight minute mile, I can slow down a little for the next half mile. If I can make it to the next aid station without slowing down, I can stop to drink my water instead of drinking on the run. I have control over these outcomes and rewards. I savor moments of control in my life. Stability is underrated.

Mile 19. Watch time: 2:32:47.

I miss my bargain time by four seconds. I cannot stop but I can grab a cup of water. I’m not very thirsty, but I know I will be. I take a cup of water from a smiling volunteer and decelerate to drink it. My legs throb, the muscles contracting as they slow. I drink the water quickly, toss my cup to the side, and speed up. Even though it has only been a few seconds, it hurts to start again. I’m glad I drank the water, though. It’s important to keep the promises I make myself.

Mile 20. Watch time: 2:40:51.

The relief from the water wears off quickly. Pain shoots through my abdomen. I know the next aid station has bananas, but this pain is not something food can fix.

Sometimes he would call and beg me to come and get him. He would sob and plead with me and promise it would be the last time. I would tell him no and hang up. He would call back again and again because he knew I would eventually break down and say yes. And I did, every damn time. I would ask where he was. His directions would be so garbled and unclear that I would often only catch the general area and then I would have to search once I got there.

The last time I went to look for him I found him in one of the dodgy little bars here on Halsted. It was the shittiest looking one in a long line of shitty bars. The door was open and I stood outside and squinted through the dim greenish light. Even though smoking had been banned, the air still held the ghosts of thousands of cigarettes. It looked empty aside from the bored looking bartender who leaned on the counter as he watched the Cubs game flicker across the TV on the wall. There were two figures huddled on the stools at the far end.

As I approached, he glanced my way and raised the glass in his hand in my direction.

“Heyyyy, baby,” he slurred. “Don’t be mad at me. Are you mad? You’re not mad, right? This here’s my buddy.”

Eric waved vaguely in the direction of the man on the next stool. The man had massive thighs that strained against the filthy fabric of his faded jeans and oozed over the stool. His gut spilled from beneath his sweat stained t-shirt. His red-rimmed eyes leered from his pockmarked face. Eric was busy draining his glass and didn’t notice the way they scanned my body. Eric didn’t notice when he smacked his lips and reached toward my ass.

Eric didn’t see me jerk my body out of the guy’s reach. He didn’t question why the guy grunted, got up, and waddled away.

When Eric did finally look at me, his eyes were glassy, the pupils huge black orbs in their sea of brown. His glance flitted to my face and then back to the empty glass in front of him. He tried to reach over and touch my face. I turned and ran out of the bar and back down the block to my car. A few hours later, he was dead.

Mile 21. Watch time: 2:48:57.

We run under the bright red arch and are welcomed to Chinatown. The pungent smell of garlic turns my stomach. The brightly painted pagodas sting my eyes. My legs burn with fatigue. Every step requires more effort than the last. Each time my feet strike the pavement, cramps radiate up my calves. My left knee still feels tight and I can’t shake it out. I am doubting that I can maintain my pace for the last stretch. Even though I have already run twenty-one, the last five seem overwhelming.

Mile 22. Watch time: 2:57:31.

I clock my slowest mile of the race, but the pain fades into numbness. My legs shuffle automatically. We turn south on Wentworth. This is the last turn away from the finish line. After the next mile marker, we will start heading north towards the end. I remind myself that even on the days I feel like crap, days I haven’t slept, or days my stomach is going completely haywire, I can always run four miles. This is my minimum mileage – the amount it takes to make a run a real run for me. This makes me feel a little better. Then a truck hits the rumble strips on the Dan Ryan Expressway to my left. I jump and almost trip over my own feet. The noise sounds like a series of gunshots and it shatters my concentration.

Mile 23. Watch time: 3:05:41.

We are approaching the turn onto 35th near US Cellular Field. Even though sweat soaks my back and streams down my face, my hands feel frozen. The numbness in my legs remains, but not in my chest. There I feel a pain like a sharp knife dragging across my sternum. I wonder if I am having a heart attack.

This is where they found his body.

He was found slumped against the newspaper stand out in front of the ‘L’ station a few hours after I left him in that bar on Halsted. He had been shot twice. Once in the chest, once in the head. No one heard the shots, or at least no one ever came forward to admit that they had. Gun violence is so common in this area that the crack of gunfire would have not seemed unusual to anyone out that night.

They left his wallet next to him on the pavement, but took his credit card and cash, if he even had any on him at the time. His jacket was torn and there were scratches on his hands and forearms. These details haunt me the most. He fought death even though he had been quietly killing himself for years.

This is why his ghost hovers over me like the fog that clings to the lake on cool mornings. Maybe something had changed for him when I left him in that bar. Maybe he had finally had enough.

Mile 24. Watch time: 3:13:41.

I speed up. The guilt I have worked so hard to forget floods my mind. It spurs me on and my legs turn over faster and faster until I can feel the pain of each foot strike again. I welcome the pain. Each step brings me closer to the end. I grab a cup of water from the second to last aid station. It mingles with the sweat on my lips and tastes salty. We are heading north on Michigan Avenue. McCormick Place is just ahead.

Mile 25. Watch time: 3:21:47.

The crowds lining Michigan Avenue blur into a stream of color. My legs are so tired. My throat is raw. We pass the marker that indicates that there is only one mile to go. One more. I can do this.

I search for a distraction. Anything to keep me moving into Grant Park. I see a sign just up ahead. As I get closer, the words become clearer. On a silver poster board, bright pink letters declare: “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever!” I want to believe this is true, but experience has taught me differently. For me, the quitting part was nothing more than a moment of frustration. I had had enough and I walked out of that bar. The pain, however, has lasted.

Mile 26. Watch time: 3:29:49.

We make the final turn into Grant Park. I push up the hill with every last ounce of energy I have. I see the red arch up ahead. I see the yellow numbers of the clock ticking upwards. I think I see Eric standing along the fence. He waves. My mouth opens and I almost lift my hand to wave back. But then he is gone. I sprint to the finish line.

Finish Line. Watch time, 3:31:33.

 

Jessica Schnur graduated from the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. She teaches in the General Studies department at MSOE, an engineering college in Milwaukee, WI. When she is not teaching, she spends her time balancing too much long distance running, reading, and writing a little bit of everything – fiction, nonfiction, and (somewhat poorly) poetry. Her work has been published in the Sheepshead Review and Door is a Jar.

 

 

 

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