Have you ever felt like running away?
Running is the only thing I have going for me so all I ever think about is wanting to run and run until I’m far, far away from everything I’ve ever know. It’s unrealistic because I have nowhere else to go.
Running has earned me medals but it doesn’t actually solve anything. Running away is only the avoidance of a problem. No matter where I run, I can’t escape what’s already happened. I can’t do anything to fix what has been long messed up before I was even born.
So, as much as I like to fantasize about running away, in the end I never get far.
I always end up back in the one place I hate the most.
“Emery Elizabeth, I didn’t know you’d be home right now. What about school?” My mom asks as she stands in the door way of the bedroom we share, failing to block the view of an older man sitting on the bed behind her.
He’s shirtless and has the sheets wrapped around his torso, while my mom seems to be wearing his shirt.
“I forgot something, so I came back to get it.” I say as I cast my eyes away from her and towards my track bag that’s leaning against the wall next to the door of the bedroom. I grab it as quickly as I can before turning my back to her and her company.
She quickly steps in front of me to stop me. “Wait, Emery. The thing is...” She starts to say but trails off. Her eyes cast down and she bites the corner of her lip. She’s embarrassed. She always is.
“I have to leave. I have practice today until late. I’m going to crash at a friend’s house after.” I tell her, knowing already that my mom probably doesn’t want me home tonight, especially if she’s entertaining clients.
I offer a fake smile as my mom steps aside to let me pass.
I look to see the shame and guilt on her aging face. I glance behind me for a second, my eyes landing on the man on the bed. He looks old enough to be someones great grandfather. The man eyes me in an obvious way that makes me feel exposed and violated. I advert my eyes before I quickly make my way out of the apartment.
I don’t have a car so I walk the half a mile distance to school. When I get there school has already ended, but my last period which I skipped to go home to get my stuff was study hall so it’s not like I missed much.
I careful sprint all the way to the girls’ locker rooms on the far side of the gym.
I get strange looks like usual from the girls who are already in their changing. They whisper unpleasant things as I walk past. I ignore them as I move to change into a white t-shirt and dark red gym shorts. I then put on my knee brace that keeps my right knee from locking up during practice.
“I can’t believe coach let her on the team. My mom says girls like her shouldn’t be allowed around the rest of us.” The team captain says loud enough for me to hear.
The other girls snicker as they gossip about me as if I’m not even there.
“I bet she’s easy too.”
“Cody Rodgers said he gave her a twenty for a blow job. How cheap.”
“I heard she’ll have sex with anyone no matter the price.”
“What a whore.”
“Just like her mother.”
I ignore them as I put on my white running shoes before shoving my bag into the locker.
Everyone knows about my mom’s “job”. It’s a small town after all so my mom doing sexual favors in exchange for money is no big secret. In short, she’s a prostitute which means I’m the daughter of a prostitute.
Because of what my mom does everyone seems to assume that I’m just like her.
Nobody cares about the truth. Even if I told them that the rumors about me aren’t true, they wouldn’t believe me. So I just keep it to myself. I know my truth and that’s good enough.
I go out to the track field and start to stretch out since I’m the first one there.
Coach Aaron nods at me briefly before looking at the clip board in his hands.
I can’t help but peer over at him from beneath my eyelashes as I stretch my calves. It’s still surreal that the coach of the track team is a former national track star like Kyle Aaron.
He was famous as a long distance runner and even set some records. He retired a few year ago even though he was only in his early thirties. For some reason he came to this town and ended up becoming a gym teacher as well ad the coach for the girls track team.
He’s the one who requited me last year for the track team and even paid for my track uniform and shoes.
As more track team members show up, Coach Aaron calls us to the center of the field with a whistle. He then gives orders for warm ups.
I’m by myself having to run up and down the bleachers. Coach Aaron usually secludes me from them I’m used to it. I start off slow at first, being careful. Then I pick up the pace gradually. Soon I’m running full pace up and down the bleachers, feeling the same rush of energy I always get when I run.
Coach Aaron blows his whistle again, and I leave the bleachers to gather around with the other girls. The other girls always make sure there’s a good distance between us.
Coach Aaron then tells us to switch warm ups. So I end up doing sit ups on the side lines while the other girls run up the bleachers or do other exercises. It takes about thirty five minutes for warm ups to be done with completely.
Coach Aaron has us gather again. He has the short distance runners go first, so I stretch out on the side lines doing toe touches since I’m one of the few long distance runners.
While I’m going toe touches I glance over to the bleachers now. I saw him before when I was running up and down them, but I can see him better now. Shaggy dark brown hair that reaches just past his ears framing his sharp but handsome features down turned eyes that once was filled with laughter but now only seem intense and cold just like the light blue colored contacts he can wears.
Without a doubt I know it's Cameron Lee.
His eyes meet mine just as I bend over to stretch.
Has he been there this whole time?
I don’t smile and neither does he. We just stare intensely at each other.
At one point it would have flustered me to have met the eyes of someone who was as popular as him.
It’s a shame really how everything happened. He went from being so well liked to being treated like trash like me. However, that’s none of my business anyways.
I’m still staring at him when I hear Coach Aaron yelling my last name,“-oore! Moore! Moore!”
My head snaps up as I look at Coach Aaron. “Are you going to run with the other long distance runners or would you like to be benched next meet?” He asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry sir. I was distracted. It won’t happen again.” I say glancing from him, back to Cameron.
Cameron has a smirk on his face now. I ingrain it in my memory before jogging to the field so I can begin my run.
I like running. Running is the one thing that makes me feel alive, because when I run it makes me feel like maybe I’ll just never stop. I can do anything, be anyone, and go anywhere. I’m invincible and all those bad things from my life can’t touch me. It’s an escape that I so badly need.
If I didn’t run I feel like I’d forget how to breathe.
After practice I go to shower and change. Once I’m out of the shower and in my regular clothes, the girls are talking about meeting at an ice cream shop.
Of course I’m not invited.
I never am.
There’s no where for me to go. I can’t go home, because my mom’s using the bedroom all night. Also, I already lied and said I was going to stay at a friend’s house, so it’s not like I can do home and just camp out in the living room.
I linger behind as all the other girls leave the locker room. I move to look at myself in the big full sized mirror on the wall.
I can’t help but hate my reflection as I glance at it. I look so much like a younger version of my mother to the point that it scares me.
I have the same thick wavy dark blonde hair and petite and delicate facial features that mirror her own. I’m tall and slim like her as well, standing at five foot ten and only weighing a hundred and twenty pounds. The only noticeable differences between my mother’s appearance and mine, is my pale, freckled skin, and dark green eyes.
I sigh as I turn away from my reflection before grabbing my bag and making my way out of the locker room.
When I open the door I see Cameron standing there with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.