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One More Race

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: The Imaginarium

A short story about parental pride and a son's understanding of it.

Submitted: September 04, 2018

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Submitted: September 04, 2018



I collapsed as soon as I crossed the finishing line. I was only 9, but my Mum and Dad were watching and I wanted so much to impress them. Everything I had I poured into that race. And there was nothing I could see beyond the winning of the race. I wasn’t expected to come first; I never did, but I wanted to win so badly. My breath was gone, my legs were turning to jelly and I almost fell over the line. True to form I didn’t even come in the top three, and I remember my Dad’s face as he picked me up. He didn’t say anything; he never needed to. He and mum just smiled and I could see they were still proud of me and they loved me even though I hadn’t won anything.

That’s been my life really; I try hard at everything but I never win. Perhaps that’s why I became a nurse; everyday is a day of effort, and although we have many victories, there are also losses. After each one I feel as though I am the end of that race, and then I feel my Dad’s strong hands lifting me to my feet and setting me up to try again. If my parents were here now I would tell him that I’d learnt what their life had been all about and what they had tried to teach me: that we cannot all be winners, but there is nobility in the effort, and in doing the best you can.

Today I had needed them more than ever. A young woman was brought in. She was the victim of a senseless accident; a car had careered off the road and hit her. I saw her husband as he sat distraught, desperate for news from the Doctor.

“We’re doing all we can,” the Doctor said, as I’ve heard many times before. I knew it was true; the woman had a rare blood type and that’s why I had been called in. I’d given my pint, but that wasn’t enough. The call had gone out for more, but there was no way to tell whether it would get to her in time.

It’s quiet here in the night room, and my shift will start in fifteen minutes which will be in good time. They will come looking for me if I’m not there. I will finish my race by then. This will be my last race, I am too weak now to stop myself from finishing even if I wanted to. Each bag of red is a testament to my effort this time, and once again someone else will be the winner. There is no resentment in me for her, only the hope for her future.

There it is; the finishing line; I’m almost there. My body is too weak to strive any more, my breath almost gone and the light dimming. I’m falling over the line; I’m going to do it. As I fall I feel a strength steadying me, I’m lifted once again, and I can feel the pride surround me. This time he did speak to me: “Come on son; your mother and I have been waiting for you.” 

(537 words)

© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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