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“Seasoned Runners”

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We ran in the cool, salty mornings and on steamy afternoons and along the road under tall poles casting brilliant light into the night. We ran in sunshine so bright our skin peeled and in rain so hard we slipped on rocks and cut our feet. We ran around the block, hopping over sidewalk cracks, still plagued by the rhyming warning not to break our mothers’ backs. We ran to work, down past the church with Friday lobster roll lunches, hoping to hitch a ride. We ran through the parking lot, arms laden with sails, trying to remember if we remembered to put on sunscreen. We ran to our boats, rocking slightly, dancing with the movement of the wind, waiting for us ever so patiently, waiting for the work clock to run out. And then we would sail. We ran races outside our rocky jetty, shielding the small shingled clubhouse from the crashing waves and spitting spray. Creamy sails luffed and spray hit our sunglasses and smiles played on our faces as we shouted and cussed and won and lost. But then, we’d run our boats back up on the docks and pull down the fluttering sails and leave the boats sitting patiently, resting. And we’d run off, in search of dinner, as the stars began to come out, one by one by one. We ran to ice cream- vanilla, chocolate, raz oreo-, hair and laughter flying out behind us in our wake, to the picnic tables so dark where we would never perch for fear of sitting on spilt ice cream we could not see. In the light streaming from the shop windows we could only make out each other’s silhouettes yet we could recognize the smiles and echoing light hearted laughter all the same. We ran to the beach, looking out over the swirling water, trying to spot Nantucket with the sand crinkling beneath our bare feet and the breeze playing with our long hair, lightened by long days on the ocean. We ran that town. We biked miles to quaint breakfast diners and sailed across flat stretches of sea to islands hours away and set off fireworks and taught kids how to fly spinnakers and found shells on the beach and laughed till our stomachs hurt. We ran from our troubles and pain and rules, to lighthearted summer sunshine. We ran from cruelty and fear and loneliness, childhood and adulthood and reality. We ran too fast, and collided, headlong, with autumn. And then we stopped, sat rocking with emotion, as the boats that had so patiently waited for us before were run up on shore to be put away.    

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“Seasoned Runners”