A family vacation
Okay, I have to admit that the family vacation was not only bad. After we survived the first day with Emma getting carsick, Mia yelling she had to go to the bathroom every ten minutes and a long detour, we ended up spending the night in a motel.I had to share a room with Tyler and we actually managed to not kill each other.
The second day was much better. We spend halve of the day in a small amusement park, before driving to our next stop. It’s a national park where we could stay the night in an adorable lodge. My aunt stays with Mia and Emma in the lodge, while the rest of us go hiking. The adventure route was full of challenges, but I loved every second of it. Climbing, walking through water and a high rope course. Loved it!
After hiking most of the day, I’m exhausted and I really need a shower. Unfortunately for me, princess Tyler is taking his time. So I decide to walk around the lodge while I wait for my turn. To my surprise I actually have reception on my phone and I read the text messages.
Millie says the coach was impressed with her progress. She did very well in the relay race and her times on the long distance run were improving. I’m proud and happy for Millie, but I can’t help to feel a little bit jealous.
″What’s up, kiddo?″
″Uncle Thomas, I’m seventeen years old. Why do you insist on calling me kiddo?″
″I always called you kiddo and I will keep calling you that when I’m old and grey.″
″You're already halve way there, Santa!″
Uncle Thomas laughs and he sits down next to me.
″You looked sad for a moment, is something bothering you?″
″Yes, Tyler is hogging the bathroom.″
″That’s not it.″
I sigh stare at the forest that surrounds us.
″I miss running.″
″I know it’s hard to for you to let go of your routine, but it’s only for a week and we made sure that we included a lot of physical activities.″
″I don’t mean running in general, uncle Thomas. I miss running competitively. I miss getting ready for a race, I miss the excitement and the rush.″
Uncle Thomas looks surprised when I say that and a deep frown appears on his face.
″Coach Simon said that he asked you to join the track team, but you said no. You love running and you miss it, so why don’t you join the school track team?″
″Because I can’t,″ I mutter.
Uncle Thomas takes something out of his pocket and he reach out his hand. I chuckle when I see it’s a stress ball and I squeeze it gratefully.
″I ran competitively for years and I absolutely loved it, but I also hated it at the same time. Everyone expected me to always win, especially my sponsors. Winning meant more money for me and for them. It meant always having the best running gear, the best trainers and the best training facilities. Eventually I had to take a break and I made a deal with my sponsors.″
I start squeezing the stress ball harder and I keep my gaze focused on the threes.
″For now you can say that I’m on reserve duty, but when I enter a race that changes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional race or a race on high school level. As soon as I enter, I’m back on active duty. It means that I have to uphold my contracts and I’m not ready for all of that. I’m mentally not ready and I’m definitely not physically ready.″
Uncle Thomas holds up his hands and I throw him the ball.
″It must be hard dealing with so much pressure from such a young age. May I ask how old you were when you started running competitively?″
″I think I was eleven when I started in the junior league. After I got into the institute, I started to run professionally.″
″Samantha, you can take your shower now!″ aunt Laurel yells.
″Coming!″ I get up and I see that uncle Thomas is deep in thoughts.
″It’s fine, uncle Thomas. I might miss that part of my life, but I’m healthy and happy now. That was something I couldn’t say back then, so don’t worry about it!″
Uncle Thomas stands up and gives me one of his bearhugs, before he ruffles my hair.
″We will think of something, kiddo. Now go take a shower and be ready for game night. I really hope that you can draw, before Laurel declares herself the Pictionary queen for the millionth time and she gets to decide what we are doing tomorrow.″
''And if I make sure that you win?''
Uncle Thomas chuckles and he puts away the stress ball.
''What do you want to do?''
''Paintball, so I get to shoot Tyler!''
''We are supposed to all make it out alive, Samantha.''
''If aunt Laurel wins, you know she will make us go shopping all day. Carrying bags, waiting by the changing room, trying not to lose Mia and Emma in the crowd.''
''You better help me win at Pictionary, kiddo!''