**Originally Written for the Chat Book, Truth**
An Accidental Kiss (Part 2 of 5) - Short Story
On September 10th, 2010 I was driving to my high school’s home cross-country meet. Maybe I didn’t have to talk to her. There are usually a few hundred people at a cross-country meet; no one had to know why I was there. In fall of 2006 I was captain of the MHS X-C and Track teams and the OCIAA’s scholar and sportsman of the year. Why wouldn’t someone like me return to support the team? In fact, it was even the truth.
It was as if I was here only yesterday. The park’s grass was overgrown except for the race path mowed down by the maintenance crew. Near the front side of the lake, the tunnel of grass transformed into a dirt path. Sometimes while you are running, you’ll step on a rock sticking out of the dirt as if the ground was six months pregnant. The race wasn’t all on grass, dirt, and cinder. The race starts on a road that runs around the outside edge of the park. It follows the road until a narrow trail appears to the right. You want to be leading by this point or you’ll find yourself fighting flailing elbows, tripping feet, and jagged tree branches. The trail can squeeze a pack of runners
like a toothpaste tube. That outlet of the trail comes out to the grassy field, which follows back to the lake. Spectators line the race path, creating an effect that you are running faster than you really are. It’s a feeling of serene adrenaline that runs through your veins as you fight head to head with the runner at your right shoulder.
From the parking lot I saw a group of girls on the far side of the lake wearing Middie Blue colors. Kim must be in that wave somewhere. I looked towards the field of blue expecting to see her long silky burnt red hair leading her team. All I could see was blue, and flashes of bright orange, green, and hot pink reflecting off shoes left and right. Near the finish line I saw Coach Beam situated in the middle of the guys team giving a pep talk. Aaron was stretching near the edge of the circle. He had incredible natural running talent. At first glance his physique gave an aura of strength, and efficiency: An American Kenyan runner. Mixed emotions fluttered through me like butterflies. He’s the one who exposed me. Though he was a runner of mine and I had watched him grow into a fine young man.
The girls had finally returned and began stripping their warm-ups. Guys joked about if you couldn’t afford playboy, the start of a girl cross-country race was the next best thing. Then there was a migration of spectators from the parking lots to the fields and starting line.
BANG! The gunshot shouted, sending an eerie chill to my feet. I wanted to “go.” I longed to start with them regardless of the fact they were girls; the aspect of racing with my high school team excited me. I watched a rainbow pass by me: Purple and Gold, Green and White, Middie Blue, Red, Black, Orange and Yellow. The colors mixed together slowly. The pace stretched out the individual teams and they all blended together into a tie-dye state. You could close your
eyes and imagine the pounding of their shoes as large raindrops pelting the road. To me, it was such a welcoming sound. My eyes were fixed on the lead runners. As the mob stretched further openings appeared between the once shoulder-to-shoulder group. Kim squeezed out from being boxed and escaped to the edge of the pack. She had been trapped, but now she surged toward the front. Kim reached the lead pack and settled in around 5th or 6th place. Her gait was wide and fluent. Her calf exploded from the ground, propelling her forward, not up. Her knee bent and her heel met her butt before she swung her leg in front of her. Her knee came up, foot perpendicular with the hard ground; ready to hit the ground again.