Alex’s feet hit the pavement, the rhythm of the song in her headphones matching perfectly with her pace, heart thudding out of sync with the music, breath coming in short puffs.
The hill back to her house was long, a gently sloping incline that seemed to stretch for miles. It was a good last sprint to finish off her morning run.
She’d started the practice after she'd woken up from her three year long coma. Her body hadn't been in shambles, not like she had expected it to be, not like it should have been. The morning run was still necessary, keeping her sane, keeping her fit, keeping her on track.
It was a compulsion more than anything else. She would wake up feeling as if she needed to run, would do it and run for miles and miles before eating breakfast or showering. The first morning she’d woken at home, the urge to run driving her out of her warm bed with it’s comfy, familiar smelling sheets. Her feet had drove her for miles, despite her shoulder and hip being stiff enough to make her feel like a puppet. But she’d come home feeling better than when she’d set off. And she’d kept doing it, for six weeks, she’d just kept getting up and kept running.
The last push up the stairs to her house and she could hear the cacophony of dishes and school work coming from the house. Two older sisters and a brother, off to college classes with go cups of coffee, Ray snagging a lunch bag and breakfast to be wolfed down in the car. She watched as her younger, dark haired brother snuck the waffle off the plate, despite their mother’s efforts to get him to sit.
“I told you I can’t.” Ray scooped up his pack on the way to the car. “I’m hitching with Manda and I have CS Club in ten!”
“Get up earlier tomorrow!” their mom shouted after him. He only waved.
“Have fun, Ray.” Alex shouted after. Ray made no answer.
Alex peeled off her running shoes and flopped onto the carpet to begin stretching. That was the intention, at least. She mostly just flopped, face down, letting her exhaustion get the better of her.
“Stretch that hip, sweetheart.” Her mom reminded gently. The first morning Alex had got home and started running, her mom had freaked out, tracked her down using her phone, and come up behind her in the car. Alex had refused to get in and completed her run. Her mom had followed behind, slowly, the first few mornings. But she had given up and had switched to supportive comments and encouraging stretching “that hip.”.
Alex rolled onto her back, spreading out like a starfish.
“This is a very important stretch, mommy dear. It’s called ‘Snorlax to the Sun’. It’s very popular in Brazil.” Alex grinned as her mother’s face appeared above her.
“Is it, now?” she smirked. “It looks more like ‘Sass Bucket Who Receives No Breakfast’. “
“I must be doing it wrong.”