Deep breaths, she thinks to herself. Closing her eyes, she inhales through her nose and out her mouth. She holds her books tightly to her chest. Breathing deeper, she wonders why she feels the need to calm herself. A need inside of her starts to creep up her spine. Just do it, she thinks. Run. Go. Run. Run. She starts to breathe more quickly, breathing more shallow breaths and she opens her eyes to look around.
“You okay,” he asks her. She cuts her eyes over at him, then looks to the other side of the street. The feeling taunts her. Just do it, go, go now. If you don’t go now, you’ll never go. Run. You know you want to, you know you have to, can you do
it? Run. Go! Screw it.
She looks over at him and says, “No.” Tossing her books into his arms, she dashes in the other direction. Running as fast as she can, the feeling loosens its grip on her, the anxiety is left on the street corner back with her books and a past. Feet pounding the pavement, her left shoe falls off her foot and, hopping, she takes off the right one, tossing it into the gutter. This feels good. The wind whipping through her hair, the pavement scratching the bottoms of her feet, she lunges forward with everything she has, running toward nothing but away from everything.
Eventually she comes to the end of town, jogging rather than running then walking rather than jogging. Out of breath she stops at the beginning of Mister Kaluse’s corn field, hands on her knees, head hanging down, gulping the fresh night air. She leans her head back and looks up at the sky full of clouds. She wishes she could grab one and fly away from this place to somewhere new. Her feet are aching, her lungs are burning and she can’t help but smile for the first time in months. She straightens her skirt, adjusts her bra and starts to walk along the edge of the field, head tilted toward the heavens looking at stars and satellites.
“Hey,” a deep voice says from about a foot behind her. She jumps and whirls around. Her heart is pounding anew, this time a fight or flight response. A good looking man in dingy jeans and a t-shirt laughs and takes two steps back, signaling he means no harm. “Didn’t mean to scare you but I was just thinking it’s getting sort of late for a woman to be walking around in the dark on a road with no shoes or company. You need any help?” The way he tilts his chin at her and grins stirs something inside of her. It’s like she’s met this man before, although she doesn’t recognize him. His eyes sparkle with interest. “No, thank you, I’m fine. I just needed some fresh air and my shoes were just getting in the way.”
Another feeling is tingling inside of her. She walks up to the man and stands no more than a few inches from him, the heat from his body and hers mingling together in the cool of the air. “I’m better now though,” she says to him. “I can breathe out here.” He looks down at her. “Well, that’s very good. I’m glad for that. Be a shame for a pretty girl like you..” He doesn’t get to finish his sentence because she stands on tiptoe, grabs his shirt and, pulling his body closer to hers, kisses him square on the mouth. He’s taken off guard but within seconds puts his hands around her waist and pulls her close, their kiss deep, warm, familiar. She pulls back and looks into his eyes. They’d never met before but some part of her soul recognized his. She smiles a crooked grin and he chuckles softly at her. He knows it, too. His hand goes to her jaw and he gently pulls her in again for another kiss, softer this time, less urgent. Deeper and passionate. She runs her hands through his hair and down his shirt….
The night goes on around them, the world spinning along as it should. The guy at that corner went along his way, not giving much thought to the books he carried or the girl who ran off. The shoes got picked up by a kid on her way over to a slumber party, and the woman… well that is what imagination is for, after all.