The Path

Darkness. Pitch black for infinity with only the sounds of birds chirping in the trees. For now, that served as the background music. That is, until she pulls her headphones over her hears. When the music hits her, she opens her eyes. Before her, a cement path. It’s unimpressive, beige and cracked, flanked by grass and weeds, sticks and leaves.

But to her, it’s a runway. Straight and narrow, stretching into the horizon awaiting its jet plane to begin its ascent. And it wasn’t built for just any jet. No, it was built for only the toughest of jets. It was built for her.

She stares down at her sneakers, then up again at the path. She adjusts her music to make sure the volume’s just right. She stares down her runway, and with a jolt, she’s off. She starts off steady, building her speed as she makes her way down the runway in her mind, the path before her outside. Her legs kick into high gear, and she’s starts, step by step, taking off. In her mind, she’s flying. She’s moving faster than any land contraption could be, quicker than any airplane or jet, too. This is what freedom feels like, she thinks.

She keeps running for as long as her legs allow. Face on fire, lungs pumping, legs numb, she finally stops. As she catches her breath, she thinks about how far she’s come. She thinks about her journey. She thinks about how she doesn’t think when she’s running. But maybe it’s not really running to her. Maybe it’s soaring above all the things that have ever held her back. Because when she’s running, there is nowhere to go but forward.