By the way, I'm officially on FedEx's payroll. And training with them, well, just let me say its insanity. Or maybe it'll drive you to insanity. . .either way. . .lets have some creative writing. . .
The night air was crisp, dark, clean. Rain fell around him lightly, as the track came into view. There he was. There he always was, waiting for him. He hung his head as he approached the track in the night air. There was nothing he could do. He had to run. Thoughts of turning back came to him, but he knew, he just KNEW he had to run. If he didn't, he would've wasted weeks, months of running and dieting, and he wasn't ready to give that up. As he stepped onto the track to stretch, it started.
"Well, well, look who showed up tonight. I thought the rain would have kept you inside."
"Never has and it never will."
"Oh, I think it has. I think it will again. You know why? Because you don't have what it takes. You're not strong enough. You don't want it enough. You know what you are?"
He finished stretching and looked up.
"No, what am I?"
"You're scum. You're worthless. You are what floats in the toilet, right before I flush it, the piece that's so riddled with fat that it barely gets sucked down into the empty void of nothing. You are soft. You are weak. You are nothing."
The night air begin to fill his lungs as he took his first step. It felt good, good enough to warrant another step, and another, until he begin to lose count of his steps. As he rounded the second bend, it continued.
"You can't run a little faster? What are you waiting for? What are you afraid of? You trying to save some energy? Come on pudgy. Run! RUN!!"
Third lap. His knees were starting to ache, and his lungs begin to join in with them. He could feel the burn.
"You hurting yet, piggy? You feel the burn? Oh, we going to cook that bacon tonight."
Fourth lap. He could feel his back hurt, and he wasn't sure how long he could keep this pace up. The pain in his knee had mutated from its dull throbbing, to a sharp constant pain. But he couldn't stop. He wouldn't stop.
He stopped. Condensed air from his lungs fogged his contact lenses, and he held his knees as he continued to gasp for air. How far had he gone? Had he even made a mile? Last lap he could remember was six. He'd made a mile. Good.
"Hello to what?"
"Your own personal wall. That's right. You're body doesn't want to keep going. It's telling you to stop because its not comfortable. Its just like you. Weak. Soft. Right now, its miserable and it doesn't want to keep going. And you're going to let it off the hook like you always do. Why don't you go give it some doughnuts to make it feel better? Maybe it'd like a double cheeseburger combo meal, with supersized soda and fries? Why don't you go to a buffet, and give in to it, just like you always have."
"No I haven't. . ."
"Yes you have. I'm looking at you. I've got eyes. You've never said no to food. You probably eat twice in the same hour, thinking that you don't feel full. Go ahead, Nancy. Quit."
"Don't call me Nancy!"
He shot forward and begin running again. Forget the pain. Forget the pain. Forget the pain. He felt the warmth crawl up from his ankles, to his knees. Hello shin splints. On a night like tonight, that warmth was welcome. He savored it as he tried to block out his "companion's" voice.
"Right now, you can feel your body screaming. Rebelling. It doesn't want to run anymore. But you're forcing it to. How long can you do that? How long can you will it to run?"
"Until I beat you."
He heard the whisper in his voice as he stopped again, this time in agony, to catch his breath.
"You never will."
He looked up and began walking home, head down. A feeling of defeat swept over him. He'd run his two miles for today, and he'd done all he could. As he passed the older couple walking towards the track he nodded, smiled, and kept walking with his head down.
The old lady watched as he walked by, and then she turned to her husband.
"He's losing weight. Look at him. He's a lot thinner than he was a few months ago."
The old man nodded in agreement. The older lady kept looking back at him as he went by.
"The strangest thing though," she said with a look of concern in her eye, "I was out here the other day, when you were sick, and I heard voices. As I got closer, I heard names like 'Nancy boy', 'piggy', 'pudgy', 'chubby', and I even heard 'give up' and all kinds of discouraging things, but when I got close to the track, I couldn't see anyone but him. Then it hit me. I heard him. He was calling himself all those things. That's why I don't like coming to the track without you. You know what they say about people who talk to themselves don't you?"
Torment by numbers. . .