The Thing

In Features, My Piece of the Sky, Opinion by Robert Montesino

As long as I remember, I’ve been running. All my life I have run to things, around things, through things and away from things.

Even in my sleep I run the shoes off my feet and still I keep running. In my dreams I’m always moving. I feel the wind against my face. My heart beats faster as I try to keep the pace. There’s no one running with me. I run alone. I run harder and faster never looking back.

Because I know I’m being chased though I cannot see who chases me. I just know not to stop or turn around. I pick up speed and keep running before it catches me.

I’m sure by now I’ve run around the world and back more than once. But I keep running and seem to never tire or lose my breath. Though sometimes I think I’m going to run myself to death.

I can’t remember ever waking up or even being born. All I’ve ever known is this endless chase, the road ahead and this thing behind me.

I’ve run upon the highest mountain tops and the valley floors below. Run in desert sands and along the oceans coastal shores. I have run on city streets and rural roads, even jungle paths have marked my steps imprinted on the ground in red.

Everyone I meet along the way just smiles, waves, then point their fingers in many different directions. So I continue running.

I don’t know where I’m going or what waits f

or me ahead. All I know is I must get there before it catches me and holds me firmly in its grasp. This is what I’ve always feared the most.

Stagnation. Atrophy. Complacency.

These things, all smell like death to me. I have to keep my body moving. I must never stop. Then it came to me in a dream last night. I ran until blood dripped from my feet but I didn’t feel the pain.

My only desire was for the open road and this endless race. So I ran some more until the road wore away my toes, feet and ankles too.

I ran harder and faster on my knees until in time they too were chewed away by an unforgiving hot asphalt surface.

My heart kept pumping. I kept my forward motion with my hips and arms swaying back and forth frantically.

Desperately, I inched toward one last horizon far off in the distance. I kept a constant pace. As I got closer, I used my chin to propel my head forward. The last thing I remember before breaking free of my corporeal body was my head rolling down the highway.

Yet, still I found myself running though there was nothing left of me. It was my spirit now that kept me going.

I didn’t stop but finally turned around to catch a glimpse of the thing chasing me. As long as I remember, I won’t forget the thing staring back.

It was then I knew all my life I’d been running from myself.

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