Mile Monday

A Guest Post by Eliana M.

(my 11-year old daughter!)

ellie

 

Everything will be fine.  Relax, says the soft quiet breeze as it sweeps over me.  I reposition my feet, causing the gravel below me to crunch.  I slowly exhale as the rest of my classmates assemble in a semi-circle, staring at our teacher Mr. Wheaton.   Everyone waits, chatting and joking quietly, but I stand still, already knowing what our teacher is going to say.  Suddenly, everyone else is silent.  Mr. Wheaton smiles and takes a breath.  “Class.  Today is Monday, as you all know.  But it’s not just any Monday.  Me and my past sixth grade friends like to call it… pause for effect… Mile Monday!

Groaning.  Muttering.  Silence.

I’m still holding my breath.  I tune out and look past him at the gravel track which seems to expand before my eyes.  This is the moment I have been dreading this whole first day of school.  I heard about it from past sixth graders and am not looking forward to it a bit after my long, lazy summer.

But here I am, about to run a mile.

Better make the best of it, I think to myself.

A moment later, I am jogging on the track.  As a light wind blows, I try to tell myself what the breeze told me earlier.  But it doesn’t calm me.  Instead, I tense, jogging stiffly past oak and maple trees.  I can feel fear creep up my spine as I pace alongside the metal chainlink fence that separates our schoolyard from a cackling creek and whispering, creepy-looking trees.  I feel like everything and everyone is judging me.  Self conscious, I move on, bits of fear slipping off my back as I move into a more sunlit area of the track.  Maybe this isn’t so bad after all, I tell myself.

After staring at my feet for a couple of laps, I finally look up to see a handful of my classmates assembled beside the track— they have completed their mile.  With still more than half a lap to go, I look back behind me… hoping… Oh no.  I watch as two boys in front of me hurry to join the group of finished runners… but no one else is on the track.

Just me.

I am last.

I. am. last. 

With everybody staring at me, I hold back tears of embarrassment and sprint over to the group.  Wishing I could wipe this moment from everyone’s minds forever, I jerk to a stop in the middle of the group.

Red-faced, sweaty, and panting.  I feel like collapsing because I am so tired.

I look at the ground.  I’m too embarrassed to look anyone in the eyes.

I want to cry.  I want to disappear.

But I can’t.

And then… 

“It’s okay, Ellie.  Everyone has bad days.”

I turn to a pair of deep brown, reassuring eyes, filled with understanding.  They pierce through my heart, knowing how I feel.

This is what I need.

Not to cry.  Not to disappear.  Just love from a friend.

Just an “It’s okay.”  

I smile wholeheartedly and turn towards the rest of my class.  Strength fills me again and I sigh happily.

***

What about you?

What story spills out of you when you are prompted to “write a narrative about a time when you felt something really deeply”?

Please feel free to share your comments or your own journey in the comment section below.

 

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