Love to Run ~ A Story of Two Sisters
Chapter 4 ~ It’s Harder to Quit When Someone Cares
A promise is a promise is a promise. Sometimes, they’re harder to keep than other times. Lisa set her iPhone for 5:45 a.m. When the alarm sounded, she was in the middle of a dream where she was running with Nicole. Nicole pulled ahead of her and waved. Try as she might, she couldn’t catch up to Nicole. She kept hollering, “Nicole, Nicole, wait for me. Please wait for me.” Nicole looked over her shoulder, laughed, and waved, then sped ahead, soon pulling out of Lisa’s sight. When Lisa lost sight of Nicole, she woke up in a start. She thought her heart was going to break out of her chest. She looked at her iPhone. It was 3:15 a.m. Her heart was racing. Her nightmare was too much like her real life. It made her feel worse than she did before she went to bed. She tried and tried to fall back to sleep, without success. At 5:30 a.m. she checked her iPhone again. That was when she dropped off into a deep sleep, only to wake fifteen minutes later when the iPhone’s alarm made its wake up call.
Lisa pulled her pillow over her head. Her iPhone’s alarm was persistent. It sounded on and on. She reached her arm out for her iPhone and knocked over her lamp.
“Aaagh,” she hollered.
She tossed the blankets off her bed, and threw her pillow against the wall. She got out of bed, picked up the lamp and put it back on the table next to her bed. She pulled the covers over the bed so it looked partially made. Then she picked up the pillow and tossed it near the head of the bed. The pillow bounced off the header board and flopped onto the floor. Lisa ignored it.
Lisa went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth. She didn’t bother washing. She came back to her bedroom, slipped on the blue and gold running shorts and shirt she wore the last time she ran with Nicole.
Lisa decided to run the six mile run route she and Nicole often ran. They’d go a mile and half to the river, join the running trail along side the river for two miles to Oppenhourer Avenue. They’d leave the river trail at Oppenhourer Avenue climb the steps to the road, and cross the bridge and run another two miles to the high school ball fields. They’d circle the fields and take the route through Nickerson Park back home, six and one tenth miles.
Lisa set out on the same route, earphones plugged in, iPod strapped to her arm. She didn’t listen to the playlist she and Nicole used for running. Anything but that. She used a separate mix she made up. Lisa took it easy. She planned to run for one week and she didn’t care if she ever ran again.
Lisa wasn’t quite at the river, when a car pulled up alongside her. It seemed to follow slowly behind her. Lisa could feel the car over her shoulder. She didn’t like the feeling. It was only two hundred yards to the river, the car couldn’t follow her down there.
Then she heard a voice from the car, “You’re running like an old woman, Lisa.”
Lisa new the voice. She kept running slowly as she turned her head and looked over to the car. It was Coach Kappa, the cross country and track coach at the high school. Lisa turned and waved, continuing to jog in place, she said, “Hi Coach.”
Coach Kappa had the passenger window rolled down, she drove slowly keeping pace with Lisa, “I can’t see how you can run with varsity if that’s the best you can do. You have an injury or something?”
Lisa shrugged, she didn’t say anything.
“You lost your voice, Lisa?” said Coach Kappa.
Lisa stopped jogging and faced Coach Kappa. Coach Kappa put the car in park, and got out. She walked around the car to the sidewalk and looked at Lisa. She said, “I got a text from Nicole. She told me to check on you. Looks like she was right to worry.”
Lisa kicked at the sidewalk, “Nicole texted you? Why?”
Coach Kappa, who was now within an arms reach of Lisa, put her right arm out resting her hand on Lisa’s shoulder, “You love Nicole, right?”
Coach Kappa smiled, “You two are about as close as any two sisters I’ve seen. You want her to be successful at the University, right?”
Lisa kicked at the ground, “Yeah. I suppose.”
“That sounds selfish, Lisa. Do you think Nicole wants you to fail?
Lisa looked away, wondering what would happen if she suddenly ran away from Coach Kappa. She mumbled, “No.”
Coach Kappa, still holding on to Lisa’s shoulder said, “I think you have a chance to make Nicole proud of you. I think you have a chance to giver Nicole something to brag about with new friends she is going to make at the university. Not everyone has your talent. Do you want to throw it away or do you want to make Nicole proud of you?”
Lisa turned her head back and looked at Coach Kappa, then turned her eyes back to her shoes, and said, “I guess.”
Coach Kappa took her hands off Lisa’s shoulders and reached into her pants pocket. She pulled out her cell phone, pushed some icons, then said, “Take a look at the last text Nicole sent. Go ahead. Read it out loud.”
Lisa reached for the cell phone, looked at the text messages between Coach Kappa and Nicole. She looked at the last text from Nicole and read it, “Tell Lisa to make me proud. I know she can break all my records.”
Lisa didn’t know what to say. She read it again to herself. She handed the cell back to Coach Kappa. “I gotta go Coach. Bye.”
Coach Kappa watched Lisa jog down the path to the river and disappear on the trail. She knew the route Lisa would take and drove over to Oppenhourer Avenue.