Running Up That Hill

        I had dreamed of the opportunity for years before I finally received permission to run. The second that cloud burst, I’d be running up that hill, toward my opportunity at life, my opportunity to feel and be felt, my opportunity to be born. Then the day came. The cloud began to break open with a loud ripping sound. Light poured out like water from the top of a waterfall. Before I knew it, I was running. My brothers and sisters raced next to me. Only the first would be accepted. Soon my legs began to ache. My heart pounded in my ears. I pushed harder and reached the hill first. I mentally celebrated my lead and my momentum pushed me face-first into the green, grass-covered hill. I wanted to lie there and revel in my small success, but my victory was not secured yet. I climbed upward. My legs felt like Jelly and burned. Still I climbed, pushing the fire in my legs out the bottoms of my bare feet. The hill was larger than it looked from the distance. I lost my footing, but stabilized myself quickly. The grass was slick. My sister passed me after I had slipped one of the many times. She smiled at me with great anticipation in her eyes. My face was sore from the smile I held the entire run. My eyes connected with hers and I returned her smile. I was happy for her, but wanted my trophy more. I pushed on, passing my sister. I loved her so much, but wasn’t going to give her this one without a fight. Soon I found myself at the top, looking down as she looked up at me. With tears in her eyes, she smiled at me. Soon, other brothers and sisters reached the top. They looked on as I was raised into the air. The cascading light had now formed a sling and was lifting me upward. I looked upward with great anticipation, tears streaming from my face.
        Twenty-seven years later, I had forgotten all about my race. I found myself stepping onto the seat of a dining-room chair. The past twenty-six years had really made me feel heavy. I was now slouching. I looked downward at the linoleum floor. It wasn’t a particularly pretty design. She must have picked it out. My wife had recently filed for divorce. After all I gave her… I slipped my head into the noose hanging from the ceiling above me. My grandfather had taught me how to tie nooses when I was very young. “Don’t wrap it more than 14 times”, he said, “That’s illegal.” Who knew if that were true? I stepped off the chair and felt the world I knew slowly slip away.
        I awoke in a hospital bed, wearing a blue gown. The sound of beeping filled the room. I felt an overwhelming sense of optimism. Maybe I could make this life work, after-all. Maybe there was purpose for me to be here. The nurse entered. I recognized her, but couldn’t place her. She said, “You wanted it more than any of us. That’s why you won. And after you ran so hard, after you beat me out of winning, and I ran hard for it,…” It was my sister. I remembered her. She smiled a sad smile with tears in her eyes and said, “you give your trophy back?”

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