Sometimes, he dreams that he is running.
It starts as a step.
Just one, like he’s afraid of it, like he thinks maybe if he takes too many he won’t be able to any longer. Just one, like he doesn’t remember how, like he can’t make his legs work, but he can — he can.
It starts as a step and it turns into three.
It starts as a step and it turns into ten.
It starts as a step and it turns into twenty.
It starts as a step and then he is
R U N N I N G.
Running and running and his lungs burn as the air catches in them, a sharp sting with every breath but he doesn’t care because there is gravel crunching beneath his feet and sunlight on his face and his heart is beating a study ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum in his chest, hammering against skin stretched tight as a drum.
Running and running and everything seems b r i g h t e r
because how long has he wanted t h i s ?
(More than anything and sometimes he can’t quite feel guilty for that bit of selfishness.)
Running and running and when he stops he bends at the waist, hands splayed against his knees and heart still galloping, and laughs so hard he cries.
(laughs because he wants it
because he can’t have it
because it is impossible
and yet —
he can’t let it go.)
And then he wakes up.
And then he can’t run anymore.
And then he remembers.
And then he swallows disappointment and anger at himself because why does he continue to h o p e ?
(But sometimes, he wishes he could.)