Love to Run: A Story of Two Sisters
Chapter 2 ~ You’re Something Special
Lisa lied in bed staring at her iPhone. She swiped through images of Nicole and she running together. She wanted time to stand still. It didn’t. The family was driving Nicole to the university on Sunday. It was only two days away. It bothered Lisa that Nicole was excited. Lisa didn’t understand why Nicole could be so happy leaving to go to college and she wasn’t. Lisa refused to go with Nicole and their mom to buy clothes and other essentials for college.
When Nicole and her mom returned from shopping, Nicole couldn’t wait to show Lisa all the things she bought to take to the university. Lisa felt like rolling her eyes, but made a half-hearted attempt to appear interested. She didn’t understand why Nicole needed so many clothes. Then there was the makeup bag, a rain jacket, new jeans, a casual and formal dress. To Lisa, it looked Nicole was packing to leave forever. The worse part was all Nicole talked about was going to college and running cross-country for one of the best women teams in the country. She even had a countdown calendar on her wall.
Sunday happened. Lisa couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening. Lisa, Nicole and their mom and dad piled into the SUV with all Nicole’s gear stuffed in the back. Lisa stared out the window as they pulled out of the driveway. She watched as they turned off their street. She looked out the back window and saw their house disappear. She watched as they passed by Lincoln park where Nicole and she ran wind sprints. She watched as they rode up Mason’s Hill where they did their hill work on the way to the Interstate. The more she thought about Nicole going away, the more her stomach hurt.
Lisa wished she took earplugs to block Nicole’s voice. Nicole couldn’t stop talking. All through the ride she talked about her dorm. She talked about the cross-country schedule. She talked about her classes. She read the schedule three times to them. She read the training rules to them. She read the recommended foods runners were supposed to eat. Lisa wanted to stick her finger down her throat.
A mile from the university, Nicole reached over and grabbed Lisa around the shoulders and hugged her, “Come on Lisa. You wouldn’t want me to pass up a great chance now would you? What do you think I’d say if you had a chance to go to an Olympic training camp and train with the best runners in the country in the Colorado mountains. What would you say?”
Lisa wiggled her head free, she gave Nicole a hint of a smile, “You’re that good Nicole. I’m not that good.”
Nicole went to grab Lisa again. Lisa ducked out of the way and squeezed next to the window.
Nicole said, “Your time in the mile last spring was better than I did in grade nine and you were only in grade eight. When we ran the cross country course for time last week, you set a PR and that was as good as I did in grade ten. Yah, I think you’re something special. I really do.”
“You really think I’m pretty good? You’re not trying to make me feel good, right?” Lisa eased herself away from the window.
“Let me show you something I never showed you before.” She opened her wallet, pulled out a translucent plastic case. She handed it to Lisa. “Take a look. I’ve been carrying it since last spring,” said Nicole.
Lisa took the case and looked at a photo, her blue eyes grew wider, “Where’d you get this?”
“I took this picture of you crossing the finish line in the county middle school meet against Logan last fall. Do you remember the race? You were tripped at the start and fell down. You got up and gave it all you had. When the finish line was in sight, you sprinted and caught the leaders five yards from the finish. You fell across the finish line. I took the picture as you fell across the line. I had it printed at the drug store so I could carry it in my wallet,” said Nicole.
“Why do you carry it?” Lisa asked, still staring at the picture.
“Whenever I get down. I pull it out and look at it. It reminds me to try harder. I make myself get up and never quit. That’s why I carry it Lisa. You’re something special,” said Nicole. The sisters hugged.
Lisa turned away and looked out the window. She didn’t want Nicole to see the tears in her eyes.