Friday, February 21, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday: Personal Best

Flash Fiction Friday is a weekly roundup of quickly-written fiction, 1000 words or less. Our host is Suzanne Warr and her blog, Tales from the Raven. Go here to read all the entries! Flash Fiction Friday

Today's prompt: In honor of the Olympics, show someone overcoming a physical limitation or reaching a new personal best.  Extra points if you can sneak some Olympics references in there. 

                                                    Personal Best

                                               by Rebecca Blevins

I sat down on my bedroom carpet and reached and reached and reached. I'd been working toward this goal for months, several times every day. My hamstrings trembled with the strain.

My trainer, Lisa, had told me to be careful not to overdo. "If you push too far too fast, you'll hurt yourself, Bobby," she'd said, blonde ponytail bouncing as she cracked her gum. But what did she know? Pretty much everything, I guessed, yet she couldn't feel exactly just how much I wanted this. 

Okay, I told myself. I'm almost there. Just a bit more, a little more--oh, to be a kid again. A kid who didn't have all these aches and pains, a kid who could turn somersaults and do backbends with ease. When did I stop? Why did I stop? 

Oh, yeah, that's right. When I became a grownup, got a real job as an athletic shoe salesman, married my wife, had kids. When I thought that being an adult meant I had to squash that kid inside flat, so flat he couldn't breathe, and surrounded him with apathy so he couldn't get back out.

What was I thinking? Those people ice skating and skiing on the TV for the Olympics--they didn't lose sight of what they had. My little girl, Jenny, dresses up in her tutus and spins around the living room like she's Gracie Gold. I bet Gracie did the same thing when she was five, and look at her now! When I was a kid, I had dreams! Big ones! But they got swallowed up in the practical, the grownup version of me.

No more. I've decided that middle age should be renamed the enlightenment age. I spent so much time proving who I was that I forgot who I could be. So what if Joe's lawn looks better than mine? I don't care anymore. I'll get a boat and park over it instead and spend weekends sailing instead of pulling out dandelions. I've always kind of liked those yellow spots in the yard anyway.

A little more reaching, almost there . . . I took a deep breath, then as Lisa had taught me, let it out slowly and stretched my fingertips out toward the toes on my right foot. My back was straight--I would do this with proper form. My hamstring had just about reached its limit as I sat, bending over it. Just a fraction of an inch more--THERE! I barely touched my toes with the tips of my fingers, but I'd done it! Finally! 

Finally. Today, my toes. In a few weeks, my heels. 

I think I'll try that yoga class next Thursday. And maybe take Jenny ice skating this weekend.


Suzanne Warr said...

Love it! And am so there with him on re-naming it Enlightenment Age! In fact...this has inspired me to try stretching today. Like, the kind where I have to reach for my toes. I don't do that nearly enough, but today is a new day and this piece is a great reminder of that!

Elm Christensen said...

I sooo relate! And I love that his inner realization is as enlightened as the outer. Great writing.