Snapshots

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Runaway Train

Her feet pounded on the concrete in frantic rhythm. Her hair flew out behind her as she ran. She ignored the stares of the people as she flew past them.

It seemed she spent her whole life running. Maybe she was a coward. It seemed shadows were always chasing her; always there ready to pounce if she slowed down for an instant. So she ran until her lungs ached and her legs burned. How many times had she run like this, afraid that she wouldn’t be fast enough.

She had lost her shoes and now was running barefoot through the city streets. Cars honked and people dodged out of her way. She didn’t even notice.

She had run from so many things. She had run from places and people. But never had she run like this. She ran with desperation. If she wasn’t fast enough she would just die. How could she have been so foolish? It was so simple. She always thought just run as fast as you could and you would be fine. Except when you run away you never think about where you are running too.

She turned sharply at 3rd street and raced down the stairs to the train terminal. Her heart pounded so loudly she didn’t hear the toll man’s shout as she jumped the over the entrance railing. She ran past the luggage racks and the unloading passengers until she came to the train marked 42. She raced to the loading platform. The doors were closed and the train pulled slowly from the terminal. Sweat trickled down her spine as the icy grip of despair caressed her. She fell to her knees as a tear slide down her cheek. She was too late. She wasn’t fast enough... All these years running and she wasn’t fast enough. The pounding of her heart slowly faded as she caught her breath. The security guard stood glaring at her. She didn’t know how to explain that she just lost the most important race of her life. She opened her mouth when.

“I am sorry Sir… I’ll pay the toll. She was running to meet me to get on the train. She is always late. I am sorry for the trouble.”

John reached a hand down and helped Lily to her feet. Lily stared in wonder. He said he was leaving. That he was tired of her running away from him. He said that he was going to be on that train. But he was here holding her hand as he paid the toll and apologized again. His normally perfectly groom hair was disheveled as if he had been running his hands through it. Even his perfect suit seemed stressed and mussed. They walked hand in hand in silence back to the terminal where they sat together. Lily looked back at him unable to believe he was really there. John was not the kind of man that went back on what he said. His ambitious nature and drive and always scared her. He seemed so aggressive and independent that he worried her. He sat there silently still holding her hand. The idea that she would never see him again scared her more then anything. Even if he didn’t leave without her, she wasn’t going to run away.

“John… I love you.” She meant to say it strongly but it came out a soft whisper His hand clenched around hers. He took a deep breath. “When they began boarding and you weren’t here I was so angry at you. I got on the train. I sat there as everyone else loaded onto the train. Then I got off and paced the terminal landing. They were closing the doors and I knew it was time to go.” He leaned his head back against the wall. “I knew that if I left I wouldn’t see you again. The rest of my life seemed so bleak without you that I couldn’t step on to the train. I lied when I said I wouldn’t wait for you.” He pressed a kiss to her hand. “I would wait forever. You don’t have to say these things now. If your’ not ready. I was wrong to push you.” Tears filled her eyes. And all the fear and worry seemed to vanish. “I am not running anymore. I spent so much time worrying about getting away I never worried about where I would end up. And when I did I realized something. You are where I want to be.”

The busy passengers unloaded from the large steel trains and hurriedly continued on their journeys to or from wherever, and never even noticed that they passed by the happiest couple, they were quite content to stay exactly where they were.

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