the sky was gray above her, the certainty of rain heavy in the air.

the field was empty, the track stretched out, waiting. she could have been the only person in the world as her feet hit the pavement in a slow, steady rhythm.

she ran, her body registering each stride, muscles flexing and lengthening to accommodate her will. her breath was a constant push past her lips, lungs expanding to match the demanding pace.

running to something, or from something, it didn’t matter, as long as one foot went in front of the other. it was a place of peace, this world of motion. her worries became part of the blurry scenery, smears of color in the corner of her eye.

but when she stopped, when her breath came in gasps and her muscles shook with fatigue, the world caught up to her again. it waited, knowing that her inertia always brought her back, that the circle of the track always ended where it began.

and she cried at the steps she’d retraced, over and over again, the miles she’d run in the same place. the only thing she had to show for it was the strength of her legs.

she gazed out at the horizon past the field, at the one way ticket to somewhere. wiping the sweat from her brow, she ran again, one foot and then the other, this time away from the track, away from the known. a new path stretched ahead, and her feet fell lightly on the unfamiliar. the unchartered.

running, she told herself, should move you places.