Pages

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Athlete

I have PE first period.  If I were a vampire, seven fifteen would be the end of a long day of sucking. But since I'm me, there's ever-so-much suckage to go.

My polyester shorts itch as I sit on gym floor; the air smells of basketballs. I hope I don't have to touch one. Yesterday, I couldn't pay attention in algebra, swimming in the rubbery stench still festering on my hands. That grime, working its way under my fingernails.

Mrs. Harris stands in front, wide legged, her meaty hands resting on her hips. "We're doing the mile today," she barks, "You have twenty minutes to do it. Athletes do it in four."

I knew all about milers. When Dad was still alive, he used to perch me on his lap, watching track and field on NBC Universal. "Roger Bannister broke it first," he said, as we watched the runners, all sinew and motion, arms and legs pumping towards glory. "Maybe you'll break it someday."

"I will, Daddy," I rubbed the side of his face, scratchy and warm. "I'll beat you!"

"We'll see," he replied, kissing me on the head, "Maybe you will"

Mrs. Harris blows her whistle, and herds us to the track. The November wind bites my bare legs. Heather and Lauren laugh, arms interlinked. It seems so natural, the way other kids bunch together, mingling like wild grass.  Meanwhile, I play with my cuticles and pretend to tie my shoelaces.

Daddy used to do track workouts. He blurred around the circle, as I collected dandelions on the sidelines. I was in charge of Gatorade. I held the bottle for him, as he panted, hands on his knees, sweat dripping onto the black asphalt. "Thank you, Janie-Girl," he said. Sometimes, he let me have a sip.

I haven't been able to touch the stuff since the accident.

"Okay, folks, line up!" Mrs. Harris blows her whistle. I stare down the track, and decide I'm going to take the full twenty minutes.

I'm no athlete.

Meet Janie. She's the heroine of my National Novel Writing Month project. She's also the subject of this week's prompt for Write on Edge.



23 comments:

Victoria KP said...

I love Janie. I totally would have hung out with her in high school.

Cheryl said...

I am so glad you decided what you wanted to do. Love Janie already!

Kir said...

Janie reminds me of Juno (from the movie), she seems cool and aloof and "deep" and I like that about her.

you've set the bar very high...
this was excellent

CDG said...

And you kick off strong.

I love that about you.

Nicole Rivera said...

Awesome! I wrote using my NaNoWriMo also, but sadly I have no names yet so you have completely kicked my @$$ here (for more reasons than that)!! Funniest part, though? SAME SPORT!! I wrote about track too, and the joy of running, I guess.

I love your take. This is a memoir-like moment for Janie and I say that because it reads like REAL memories. Brilliant! Also, you subtly hooked me - what accident? What happened??? One line and *BLAM!* a whole story awaits!! Fantastic.

Someone said it above - you set the bar high!

Best wishes for a productive November!!

Vikki @ She Has Cute Shoes! said...

So much to like about this but I laughed out loud at this....

"If I were a vampire, seven fifteen would be the end of a long day of sucking. But since I'm me, there's ever-so-much suckage to go."

Loved it!

John said...

This just started some truly evil memories in me . . . I started school with "0-period gym." Because I dd lots of extra-curriculars, I would get gym in before the start of the day. It was painful. Always.

But I love this peek into the character :-)

idiosyncraticeye said...

Very intriguing, can't wait to read more! :)

Mry Jhnsn said...

Oh the ups and downs of a teenager, add to that dealing with loss - great job on this character.

MISH said...

Great opening lines. "Ever-so-much-suckage-to-go" had me in stitches...
I enjoyed this piece.
Hope all your NaNoWriMo dreams come true!

Alison said...

Wow, that brought back memories of me sucking at running in high school. I used to love when I had last period gym class so I could leave after they took attendance and sneak out of school early. This is definitely an awesome piece and I loved it.

Venus said...

Great piece!! You did so much with so little, I'm looking forward to learning more about Janie. :-)

Barbara @ derebus, via WRite on Edge said...

Ooo! Love the teaser imbedded in here with "accident" and the development of Janie.

You inner Janie dialogue really captures the character: I especially love the details about smelling the rubber and feeling grime hours later.

It compelled me to want to give her my Purell... a strong reaction to fictional character!

Can't wait to read more - I am also working with a character developed from a Write on Edge prompt for my Nano novel!

http://www.derebus.net/home/?p=241

Tina Lane said...

Loved it.

All of my old High School anxiety has lodged back in my throat on reading this.

Karen said...

So glad to meet Janie, she sounds like a joy to read & write! I had already told myself I wasn't going to try NaNoWriMo and then a bug in my ear started whispering yesterday. So, I'm thinking I might jump in the water with you! :>

Lance said...

I think Janie is my wife or my 7 yr old (princess - not an athlete).

I loved this. I read it to my wife. I liked the back and forth between teen Janie and Janie Girl, juxapositioning the baby of a runner and the cynicism of a teen athletics hater.

This was brillant. Maybe my favorite I;ve read today. Great work.

Carrie said...

I look forward to reading more about janie. She sounds like an interesting character

Susie said...

What a great piece. Ah and Nanowrimo... you're so much more ahead than me! I'm still debating it lol. But this sounds like it will be a great novel!

maryannsteiner said...

I could almost smell the dirty basketballs and feel the grime under my fingernails! Nice job.

Unknown Mami said...

Nice to meet you Janie. I like you already.

The Drama Mama said...

This sounds like a great start to your NaNo project. It flows so beautifully, I can't wait to see what it is all about. I'm in love with Janie already, and I love the opening lines about if she were a vmapire. That was awesome!

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

There is something different about a girl who doesn't call her father Daddy for at least part of her life. (Not bad or good, just different) I am intrigued.

Well, darn it! Now I want to know more!

Rachel (Totally Ovar It) said...

You are an amazing writer. I so enjoy your posts. You inspire me to become a better writer. Thank you for writing!