When I was seven years old I quietly dressed my self one morning in my favorite pink gingham dress that my mother always said was too small, quietly tiptoed out the door, and ran away from home. My sister who was five and who I told everything to didn’t know, my father whom I loved didn’t suspect a thing and my mother whom I tolerated didn’t know. They were all still sleeping.
I walked that summer morning many miles, from one end of Fort Collins to the other. When the police car found me I was walking in front of Jax, my dad’s favorite hardware store not knowing what to do because only mountains lay before me. I was surprised when I turned around, I had gone far and I had never looked back.
Not long after my adventure across town, my mother divorced my father, packed up me and my sister and took the alcohol that had caused so much hurt with her. We ended up next door in Loveland, the sweetheart town. I had hoped for a fairy tail, a dream-come-true, with that kind of name, but I ended up in a nightmare.
My mother remarried a monster. He did all of the terrible things monsters do. I tried to run away again but he promised to kill my sister my mother and my father if I left. And so I ran. I ran at school and beat the fastest runner in the 6th grade who was a boy named Simon and I never looked back. Looking back while running slows you down.
In high school I ran for real. I ran far. I raced. I loved it. I graduated, went to college and even ran there. I left my mother, kept my father and drank with my sister. I met my husband, fell in love, and then one day, quite by accident, I looked back.
There behind me stood a little girl, about seven, frail and skinny and tired. I didn’t recognize her but she seemed somehow familiar. She told me that she was a runner too. We sat down together and she told me everything I already knew and many things that were new. Then she asked the question no one had answered for me, “Do you believe me?” And without hesitation or doubt or running away I answered, “I believe.”
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