Pride and Precious Steps
Sweat slipped between my shoulder blades, forming a streamlined army of droplets cascading along the curve of my spine before halting at the line of my waist band. The sun’s rays pounded my shoulders, my arms, the sand and therefore, my feet, for hours. For not quite four hours.
The ridge, that last climb, led to the last downhill, to the finish. To the sweet, merciful end. Heat built in my shoes, the skin of my feet long since rubbed raw. A moisture filled my socks, one that could only mean painful steps for days to come. But the victory of the finish was just a few hundred yards.
The shimmer drew my eyes. They were there, watching and waiting. For me. From the flash of sunlight on glass, I stretched taller and lengthened my stride. I’ve done it.
I could taste the salt from my sweat as a wayward bead found its way to the corner of my mouth. This was a cold sweat. The next frame showed my misstep. And the next, my knee being forced in an awkward angle, out to the side. Then tumbling down, spraying sand in my wake. And in the last, I finally crossed the finish line….but on a cot.