My tendons flex and ache, the muscles retort painfully to my insistent ministrations. The letter and conversation ring loudly in my lobes, bouncing around my skull. I trot down the narrow trail and concentrate on my footing while I attempt to force the distracting thoughts from my conscious mind. Breaking out into the dim light of the wider path, I run as fast as I can through the tall weeds and thorny bushes. My feet catch on vines and I nearly stumble. I push forward, faster.
There is no breeze. There are no birds. There are no bugs. There are no planes crashing through the sky. The highway noises are muted. There is only the letter and conversation, shaking for attention, while my mind calms and my body pushes faster. The only wind I feel is an ephemeral zephyr created solely by my strange desire for more speed.
The letter was pleasant and polite. A material response to my hopes at last. Despite the crushing disappointment it carried, the letter was a response, which is an improvement. I run on.
I measure my time by the distance between telephone poles. I pass the third pole and keep running. The fourth and fifth pass before I notice. I stop at the sixth and walk for the seventh. My parents' voices rise above the pounding of my heart and the intake of breath. They worry, this is only natural. They will always worry. I will always give them reason to worry. The tide of our relationship is controlled by a cycle of security and uncertainty that I feel powerless to change. Security seems too close to comfort, and comfort is far too near settlement for me to enjoy. Uncertainty brings adversity and chaos, inspiration. I run until there is only the overgrown trail, the encroaching darkness, and me.