I walk outside and feel the grass being crushed under my shoe. A light breeze teases the trees. The peaceful yard won’t be this way for long.
“Come on, Klaire! Race me!” Sophia cries, grasping my hand and pulling me over to the edge of the grass.
“Only one race,” I remind her.
“OK!” she says, itching to start.
“From here to Monica’s driveway,” Sophia says, pointing her finger at the gravel two lawns away.
“Got it,” I assure her.
We take our positions. I crouch, poised, like an arrow about to be released from an archer’s bow. My knees are slightly bent and my eyes are on the driveway. Sophia glances at me, and then models herself after my pose. She starts the countdown.
“On your mark, get set, go!” she cries.
I quickly zoom away, like a tornado whirling. My sandals fly off, but I haven’t time to catch them. The world flies by as my feet leap over the soft green grass. It tickles my toes and scratches my feet. The air rushes by my head. My hair is flying in back of me like a banner. I keep my eyes on the ground so I can dodge the pinecones scattered about by the neighborhood squirrels. A smile leaps across my lips. I’d forgotten how happy running makes me. I reach the gravel and turn around. I’m far ahead of Sophia. A moth flies up from the dirt where I have disturbed it. I’m almost to the finish line and I slow down a bit, not a tornado but a zephyr now. I reach the driveway and stop, hands on knees and panting.
Sophia halts beside me. My hair is in disarray and my mouth is smiling, smiling wider than it has smiled for a very long time. “Wanna race again?” I ask.