Three years before, I watched as Kim’s thigh thundered into the sand. The girl behind her planted her foot on an unlevel hole and tumbled face first. With 400 meters to go Kim picked it up. She was so close, yet so far. The leader had gained substantial distance in the beginning of the freshman race, but Kim had caught up with her. Thirty meters behind, now twenty. She’s going to catch her, just a little further. Ten meters. “Come on Kim!” Both girls crossed the line, Kim only inches back. They stumbled side to side, bumping into each other as they were momentarily disoriented.
“That was an incredible race! Really exciting! That girl led with such force for so long. It looked as if she was going to take it with ease but you really picked it up in that last mile.”
“I guess…I just…felt…good.” As Kim said this to me, she stole tiny sips of breath between her words. “I think, I’ll go for a long walk and cooldown. My legs are shaking.” Kim chuckled at herself, still feeling tired, but more composed and obviously pleased with herself. She gave me a kiss, pressing the sweat that lined her upper lip onto mine.
Kim and I took a barefooted walk on the beach. It was quiet. We knew what the other was thinking; feeling. Hand in hand we walked as our feet felt the soothing coolness of the sand beneath our toes. The sun was still high in the sky and glimmered out over the calm water. For a moment, I caught a reflection of the sun that highlighted Kim’s red hair. Her hair flowed down the middle of her back, quietly rubbing her exposed skin around her sports bra.
Kim’s face flourished an expression of fulfillment. She looked relaxed, and so content. She had done so well today and I knew she was pleased with herself. I looked into her eyes, feeling warmth, and solitude. I wrapped my arms around her waist and hers around my neck. I could feel the sense of the Cross Country season. It was the smell of autumn; a sweet, crisp smell that could wrap its arms around you and pull you in close.
On the way back to the parking lot we passed the maintenance crew dissembling tents and water stations. Parents talked to each other in little clumps scattered between their cars. Kim’s best friend, Nicolette, skipped over to us. She looked as though she was soaring through her mind. “Congratulations on your great finish Kim! That was awesome! God knows I can’t run for shit.”
My mind wandered as Kim and Nicolette spoke in female tongues. I had the State Championship next week and thought how great it would be to win; Running at full speed through the grass, heart pumping harder than ever before, pushing my body to its limit. I saw Nicolette standing there and thought how cute her hips followed her outfit. Her eyes were bright and energetic, so inviting.
“…can bring Nicolette home?”
I snapped back to reality. “Um, oh, yeah. Sorry tuned out for a second.” The girls hugged and Kim turned to me and gave me a long kiss and a smile. She sped off to her parent’s car. Nicolette and I walked toward the edge of the parking lot where my Corolla sat.
Nicolette broke the relaxing silence, which I was enjoying. “That was a great performance Kim had today.”
“True. She’s doing well. In a couple of years she’ll kick ass at states.” I wandered back to winning states. Nicolette and I talked about all our school stuff on the way home. We sang in chorus, played clarinet in band, and worked together in the performance of Beauty and the Beast. I parked in her driveway and we kept talking. After a half an hour we realized the sun was setting.
“Thank you for the ride. It was much better off than walking two miles home.” Nicolette leaned in and gave me a hug. We separated but stopped when we could see each other’s eyes. I felt the most inviting tension to kiss her. A forbidden lust. She felt it also and moved closer, our lips separated by mere slits of air. They swayed up and down, controlling the urge to press forward. The tension snapped. Our lips connected in inflamed judgment as my conscious became impaired with a cloud of lust. I felt her hands move toward the back of my head. Mine caressed her back while the night sky blanketed the outside air.
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