Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Runner

In another life he might have been a high school track star. He runs with a single-minded focus. Impervious to pain or cold, his endurance is impressive. His long strides make him almost elegant to watch and near impossible to catch. I have seen many try.

Sam is a runner.

If the stars had lined up differently, I like to think he could have been Olympic. He is that fast. But the stars didn't quite line up that way.

Sam runs for reasons known only to him, usually with little warning.  At 16 he is big, strong and impossible to stop. He can defeat almost any lock. Weather is no deterrent: he runs barefoot in frigid conditions, impervious to pain; on a bad day scantily clad in underwear.  On an isolated worse day, naked. He doesn’t consider safety. He certainly doesn’t consider propriety. His sole mission is to flee.

Flee what? Sam offers no explanations.

A behavior near impossible to control, we’ve gone from a daily event to months, even two years without a run, almost lulling us into a false belief we are finally safe only to be abruptly reminded we are not. 

We are fortunate Sam often follows predictable routes. We find him, cold and sad, always contrite; unable to explain his distress. We warm him, knowing we were lucky – this time. And we hope. Maybe one day we will have more answers; maybe one day Sam will really know peace and safety. And no longer need to run. 

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  1. Has he done special olympics? I seem to remember him in some photos...?

    Thank God he is predictable.

    1. Usually predictable. Yes, he skis with Special Olympics. Haven't seen or tried anything for track.

  2. I think I can still catch him as long as he does't have too much of a head start. When I'm old though, maybe not.

    1. Maybe. But I am not so sure you can any more. He has endurance, adrenaline and long legs on his side.