The Faster I Run
Peter is running fast from me. But I am faster, and I am not worried. When he turns around the corner, I start to run after him.
“I’m going to get you, Peter!”
Five big steps barefoot in the grass and I turn right. There he is, further than I imagined. Running as fast as he can. One, two, three, four… ten steps more, and I am close. I see his back, blue hoody, white shoes, golden hair. All I have to do is reach him. I move my hand, stretch it forwards. But all I grab is thin air.
“I am faster, and you know it!”
He doesn’t listen, he rushes. I can hear his breathing. He is already getting tired, but does not slow his pace. I stretch my arm again. I feel my fingertips touching his hair for a second, and then he shoots forward rapidly. I am faster. But he started the race first.
I shout, but I am not even sure if he hears me. I am still running, but it seems that he gets further and further from me. I am way behind now. I focus and accumulate all my energy for the second try, and increase my pace. I am racing enormously fast, getting closer and closer again, inhaling Peter’s scent, hearing his bare feet smashing into the ground, counting his heartbeat. All I need to do now is to touch him. Grab that shoulder, and it will be over. But I can’t. The further I reach, the greater is the gap between us. He slips through my fingers again.
“Peter, I can’t, please stop!”
He is so far and so small, I can barely see him. The distance between us expands into the infinity. I feel like I freeze in time and space, and with every step the length of my road multiplies. For a moment I am afraid that I will never catch him and he will be gone forever.
He turns around the corner again, and I hear a loud laugh. I put myself together and jog to that side. My heart is pounding. I turn to the right and see him, standing there, smiling at me and giggling. I stop and take a deep breath.
“I thought I will never catch you.”
I lean down, my arms resting against my knees. I watch Peter’s face. Suddenly he has this little smirk, and I realise what he is going to do now. He turns away from me and takes two huge steps, then three, then four, and he is running again.
“No, Peter, I am tired, I can’t!”
But he runs and runs, becomes smaller again. I cannot believe how much energy Peter has, he is restless. I feel defeated, and just stand there, looking at his tiny figure in the horizon. Then an idea struck me. I rest for a second more and shout as loud as I can:
I see him slowing down a bit, noticing that I am not chasing him anymore.
“I change the rules, Peter!”
I turn around. One, two, three… and I am off. I feel free and uncontrollable. The race starts again. I am faster, and he will never catch me. I will win this.
I hear him far behind, heavily breathing. I am not worried at all, I have this. Wind is in my hair, in my eyes and on my skin. I breathe in and out cold whiffs of air, and I am powerful.
I run so fast, and for so long. Peter must be left far behind. I slow down just a little bit, to turn back and see where he is. Maybe he is already out of the game and I win.
I am absolutely shocked by what I see. Peter is just here, jogging behind me, not even trying to hurry up. He is laughing. I look at his blue eyes and see a spark of victory in them. I realise that the game is over.
He boosts his pace again, for the last time. But he does not reach for me, he out passes me from the left side. For a few seconds we are in the same line, crossing universe together as if we were not competing. I realise that this is my only chance.
I grab him. He screams. I push him down on the ground and hold him tight so that he cannot escape me again. It is over.
“Let me go! I win, I win!” he shouts.
“You win” I say.
He eases up. Shows me that big smile of his.
“I am faster!” he announces.
“You are not faster. My leg hurts today, that is why I could not catch you”.
I start tickling him, and he cries and cries from laughter. Then I let him go, and he escapes into the distance, far away from me. I lie on the grass for a bit, still catching my breath and realise that it will be like this for all time. I will be faster, but he will win.