Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Writing Exercises

Running Ahead

When did you know you were going to suffer, but you went ahead anyway?

Something as mundane as I found out he was courting other women, and yet I went on, enmeshed, with him anyway.

Courting is a nice word for manipulating. Affairs of the imagination, choosing which flesh to realize.

I sat in the car with a friend after finding out. Devastated. She told me it isn’t the lame zebra’s fault for being lame. It’s the asshole lion’s fault for going after lame zebras. I didn’t mind her calling me lame. I was lamer than that. Lame was an understatement. I was more like hobbled. The asshole lion the kind of asshole that hobbles the naive zebra then makes her sport—makes her an easy catch.

I told my friend I was done. We arrived at my house and, in the dark, in my driveway, before opening the car door to let myself out, I told her I was done with him. That was it and it was over and I was done.

She patted my head and said sympathetically, “No you’re not.” A sentence of death and destruction and many, many more months of eating my heart out.

It sounds cliched, but time was the only thing that healed it. Time and he got married to one of his other lame zebras. He said she made him feel like a teenager again. That’s likely because she was the worst hobbled amongst us and, compared to her, he could run like the wind.

He wrote to me, “Since I’ve been with her, I’ve been running. Can you imagine? Me? At my age? Running?”

I wonder how long that lasted before she gave up and he, at his age, convinced her life was easier sitting, limp and licking his chops as she puts on weight and wonders what happened to her legs that used to run so swiftly and kick so high.

I took up running myself a few years later and I’m faster now than I ever was. I have no hurt for him anymore. I hurt for her. I’m sure I won’t be seeing her at any local, smalltime races anytime soon. The LA Marathon is bound to miss her as well. She might have wanted to do that before she was forty only a little less than she was terrified she wouldn’t be married by then.

Better wed and walking than a spinster fleet of foot.

I feel you sister. I do.

-M
(Ten minute writing exercise from the book Old Friend from Far Away.)

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