The Reluctance of the Young Runner

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The Reluctance of the Young Runner



The Reluctance of the Young Runner

           by Edmund Siejka

He was a gawky teenager
On a high school track team
Intimidated by his coach
Who exercised almost total control
Over him.

He was examined
Tested
Questioned what he ate
How much he weighed
It became too much to bear
That he couldn’t tell anyone you
How lonely he felt.

Running at a track meet
Neck and neck for third place 
The finish line seemed unreachable
His parents, watching from crowded bleachers,
Were proud 
Impatiently calling out his name
When suddenly he fell
Tripping over some unknown thing lying on the track.

Falling, his long legs cascaded over the white lines of the track
Colliding with the front runner
Who had the looks of an actor 
And the temperament of a snake.

The coach was angry
Thick fingers pummeled the young runner’s chest
Because he fell
The team was disappointed
Not so much for him
But for the lead runner
Who struggled to third place.

Facing dismissal from the team
An inner smile caressed the young boy’s heart
No more coach, no more watching
Waves of relief gently cascaded over him
Bringing with it
A sudden realization
That he would no longer 
Have to hide.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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