Hadn’t my grandparents always said, “nothing worthwhile comes easy”?
At the track and field events, I earned each of my awards and ribbons. I’d raced along, my eyes on the mark. Momentum built as my arms pumped with energy and my long legs pounded the grassy field. The warmth from the sun’s rays kissed my face, and the breeze caressed my long, flowing hair. My mind, clear and free from worries, centered my concentration on one goal: crossing the finish line.
We took our places and lined up in a row, waiting for Coach’s command.
“ON YOUR MARK . . .”
Nerves hit the pit of my stomach.
“GET SET . . .”
I willed my mind to focus, my eyes fixed straight ahead.
We were off. My foot slipped; two of us bumped. I regained momentum, pumping my arms, elbows high. I needed to pace myself or I’d run out of wind. I decided to hold steady at a comfortable third place. I knew that if I stretched myself, I’d pick up speed and pass them one by one. Needed to time it just right.
Breathe. Keep your eyes on the back of their heads.
Don’t get in too much of a hurry.
Steady . . . Steady . . .
Not yet. Not yet.
Almost . . .
I passed one girl. Then another. A burst of energy flooded me as I gained a second wind. I closed in on the leader. I heard her breathing. The sound of our feet pounded the ground in unison, inches apart. It was now or never.
We came onto the turn, and I moved to the right. Willing my legs to move faster, I passed her up, taking the lead. In record time, I beat her to the finish line!
That was me a hundred years ago. Strong. Perky. Ageless.
If I did it then — perhaps, just maybe — I can do it again, in whatever I set out my mind to do.
(excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace works in progress)
© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved