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Dante` J Gonzales

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By Dante` J Gonzales
Sunday, March 16, 2008

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Half of a short story about a daily jog in life.


            It came back into focus. The graying asphalt of the road. He had drifted off again in the middle of his jog, a common trait that he had developed over the past year. Thoughts and worries pervaded his mind as his body was in motion. The very nature of the idea seemed to slip past his brain like a wet amoeba. Slow and traditional, his jog was rhythmic, his breaths perfectly pitched in between the “ pat, pat pat” of his light footsteps. The day was turning out to be a dreary one. Almost a reflection of his mood. The wind was not bad enough to kill his spirits completely. Lapsing and in and out of consistency, he was frustrated with life. Not knowing where he was going, he ran to try and clear his mind. Or perhaps procrastinate from his daily duties. As a son. A student. A young man trying to make his way through societ--- JUMP! 
            Didn’t see the dead squirrel lying in the road. It’s frugal yet simple life of gathering food, enough to last it through winter, cut short by the momentum of a Buick. Or maybe a Cadillac. Whatever the older people around here were driving. Breath faltered for a second, obstructed by the buildup of mucus in the cold, dead air. 
            Birds that were willing to brave the cold rang out their song in an attempt to brighten the day. The sound of rolling cars and foghorns on ferries smothered the air, bringing a symphony of natural and industrial life. Burp. Hold down the sandwich he ate an hour ago. Rumble rumble. Stomach was growling in digestion. It was the only comfot in his life, running. At this point at least. Not his love. Not his family. Not his friends, education, video games, music. It didn’t annoy him over a period of time. He didn’t want to hide from it when he wasn’t in the mood. It was as neutral as anything he could find in his life. It gave him reason to procrastinate from the norm. From work. From life. Alone time. His time. And if it were up to him, he would take a right at the intersection instead of going straight. Right would lead him towards the highway, backroads, north, or even south. It would carry him far far away, from his pressures, his worries, his fears. Straight could bring him freedom as well, but he would still be going back to his home, with his parents. Where school, love, heaven and hell all collided and created a disgusting hybrid of reality. Right, would let him escape from it. Right, would put him on his own two feet. If he went right, he wasn’t coming back, and all the ties that he was bound to would break, fester off and he would be free, a world onto his own. He could do it. It was a possibility. But he would not. He could not.
            He wasn’t even at this point in his run, however. Far from it. He was simply making his way uphill, past the open fields on either side of him on the slim two way road. “Run in the grass, better for your knees.” His mind would tell him. He hopped from the road onto the frozen ground next to him. He wished that he could run across the open field, and when he was exhausted, simply lay on his back and look up to the sky. But he could not. It was not his. He ran by it, merely touching upon its greatness on the side of the road. Elderly people were coming into the restaurant on his left. A single building on this side of the road, it was an overpriced restaurant where the elderly in the neighborhood would go to socialize, drink, eat, and find better ways to live out their remaining days without worry, without care. No more struggle. Simple, daily, repetitious habit, exemplified by those who had nothing left to live for. Those who had served their purpose in society, and made enough money in doing so to live comfortably. 
            So what was he doing then? Running obviously didn’t pay the bills, if it had then he would have been a millionaire by now. Slowly, the intersection came up ahead, not the final one, but one close in similarity. Taking a right here as well would lead to freedom, or it could very well lead back home, and to repetition. Wake up, stare at the ceiling, fall back asleep until 12. Unless it was a school day. Then it would be wake up at nine, look at the ceiling, take a shower and then fall asleep again. Or go to school. Most likely option 2. 
            He took a left, towards the beach, and continuing on his path of regularity. He shamed himself. He didn’t take the chance. He disappointed his needs and cast himself deeper into a state of confusion and powerlessness. He didn’t want to conform, and yet he did. Didn’t want to kill himself in an attempt to be the best, but it happened anyways. Didn’t want to worry, or at least not worry so much, about menial items. But the anxiety was overbearing. And he was still running on the road back towards his house. 

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