Across the Street

My window looked out at the cross streets of my neighborhood. Six different families moved in on the same day. The Willows came from up North. They were escaping the fire that had ravaged their home. The only picture that survived was that of their dog. The dog had not. The Fathoms came from the South. They came looking for a bigger home for their growing family: six children of all ages, and some of them had children too.

The Ericksons and the Bolders came from the west. They came in together, still feuding over their children’s marriage. Romeo and Juliet was said to be based off their lives.

The Mater family had only one young son who was ill all the time. No one on the block ever saw him. Many said he didn’t exist.

The Cordions family had lived in the neighborhood before, only moving out to let their home be fumigated. Termites and rats had taken up residence while they’d been on an extended furlough in the Rocky Mountains.

My window faced the street they all moved in on. From the first moments of their arrivals (the Fathoms arrived first) traffic spread around the whole neighborhood. A small town, with small neighborhoods, one street closes and then all streets close. I watched with glee as several new families moved in. I couldn’t wait to meet every one of them. The minute my alarm went off I ran to my window, the one that overlooked everything, opened the curtains, and waited impatiently for the first moving vans to file down our street.

I watched the unloading of boxes, chairs, and TVs. When the next van moved up an argument broke out on the street. (The Ericksons arrived second, followed closely by the Bolders.)

I loved the Ericksons’ dog. He was small, a chihuahua, and he yipped and bit at the movers feet. I had always wanted a dog, so I decided I’d be friends with the Ericksons. Especially since they had a young girl about my age and we could easily become best friends.

The Fathoms argued with the Ericksons. The Fathoms were ugly people: greesy hair, bushy eyebrows, and crooked teeth. I crossed off their names from the legal pad I had sitting on my legs. It held the names of the six families – those I liked and those I didn’t.

The Maters, Cordions, and Willows, all came together. They seemed to know each other. But my favorite family was the Maters because they showed up in the dark with torches.

Strangely, the family that had lived across the street from me all my life remained silent. The only thing I even knew about them was the window that remained lit all night long.


A Runner

In honor of those hurt during the Boston Marathon.

Marcus ran down the park path. Arms pumping and legs searing with pain, in his mind he saw himself pulling past Ryan Hall at the thirteen mile marker during the Chicago Half Marathon. Marcus surged ahead and even though his legs were screaming for him to stop, his mind roared to continue.

“Faster,” he said.

A few people sitting on benches watched him as he ran. Marcus amplified them into hundreds and thousands of screaming fans all shouting his name. He imagined them turning to one another and saying things like:

“He’s going to break the record!”

“Ryan Hall’s going to have to retire because of Marcus.”

“No one, I mean no one can run like Marcus Torres.”

Marcus started to smile as he coasted along the next bend. His strong legs would take him anywhere he wanted to go, as fast as he wanted to get there. Dogs, he laughed, he would pass dogs without even blinking an eye. And he loved when people were out walking. They were his obstacle course. He loved it even more when he ran through the forest, dodging animals and tree branches, frightening away deer.

During his run he never listened to music. He only wore what was necessary, nothing extra. He carried one small water bottle and knew all the places he could fill it up. He would be gone for hours at a time, running farther than a marathon and keeping up a brilliant pace.

In reality, he didn’t keep track of how far or how fast or how long. He just ran because he liked to run. Where others read books or went to the theater, Marcus Torres loved to run. And so he did everyday.