Hammerport

October 7, 2006

The Promise in the Cellar (3 of 12)

Thread: Mission

“Mi-chelle! Mi-chelle! Mi-chelle!” her Mom chanted from the track’s edge. At the halfway point, Mizzy was the leader of the pack. “Come on, Michelle! You can do it!”

She could do it. Mom had drummed into her that second place is loser’s place; second place was not going to happen. It was more likely that Julie behind her in loser’s place would spontaneously combust and shower the spectators with human ash. Running every day without fail, aided by her Mom who held a stopwatch like she had a beating heart in her grip, the timings had got better each day. Fait accompli. Her feet rode the track with experience, propelling her ever closer to….

Now here was the thing. If she was victorious, she would definitely go forward to represent the school in the state tournament next year. Was she good enough for that? She could beat everyone here, wipe the canteen floor with them bringing out an unfamiliar shine in its surface. But all those other girls from other schools? She didn’t know any of them, their strengths or weaknesses. The finish line was not the line of victory; it was the divide between the certainty of success and the discomforting arrival of the potential to be second. If she made it over the line, her confidence could come to a sticky end. She needed confidence when she went to the prom, not this worry crawling around in her head like termites setting up shop. Eddie would say, hey, what’s the deal, girl? He wouldn’t want to do It with her. And It was more than merely important, It was of celestial significance. Global warming and the plight of the third world was hinging on It. Eddie was sooooo gorgeous.

Anxiety was issuing threats to her legs. Look, legs, her anxiety was saying, stop it, stop it yeah. Do you know what you’re doing? Huh? With its limited lexicon, it made its point.

And where the hell was Dad?

With that thought, her right leg went down sideways and her body pivoted around it, the sprinter becoming ballerina. There was a sound like she had crunched up some nachos, but these were nachos that were inside her leg. She collapsed two metres from the finish line like a building under controlled demolition, causing no damage to any of the nearby sprinters. Julie, after sprinting across the finish, did the Samaritan thing and checked to see if Mizzy was okay. Julie even said, with charitable concern, that Mizzy should not even think about going to the prom for the good of her legs and take it easy over the coming week. She said that, right there on the track.

In the hospital, Dad said everything was cool and was really sorry he couldn’t make it because of the big business deal he’d pulled off with the Cartwrights, which meant the family wallet was going to be not just fat but obese in the years to come. Mom was more than cool, she was Titanic-sinking iceberg cold that her baby could not win one measly race, one measly race was she listening, and commented that Mizzy was the probably the biggest disappointment of a daughter she had ever laid eyes on. She did concede that Mizzy’s leg probably hurt a lot, so okay then, but at least Mizzy should stop crying like some silly teenage girl. Eddie came to see her once but thought that he might break Mizzy’s leg again if he took her to the prom and slept with her afterwards, so he did the right thing and took Julie to the prom and slept with her afterwards. Second place is loser’s place.

Mizzy was comfortable with her stalwart self-esteem and chose to end her athletic pursuits. Running every day would become something she had done in her youth, a pleasant memory. At every dinner, Mom taunted her with that memory by fiddling with the training stopwatch while they ate. Click, start. Click, stop. Click, start. Click, stop.

Winning was not important, knowing you could win or could have won was. And, not that it made her feel any better, oh no not at all, but that bitchwhore Julie got pregnant after prom night.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1841

4 Responses to “The Promise in the Cellar (3 of 12)”

  1. Jennifer x2 wrote on 1-Dec-2006 @ 2353:

    Had to read 2&3 together. Well you certainly know how to end with a page turner! You tease you, of course it’s the rector! Where on earth are all these leading to? Stigmatas, a damaged childhood, an overbearing mother, a distant father. No, no, no I won’t read this all at once! I’ll take my time. But I am more than intrigued and I do want to read on.

    [London trash accent?] 🙂

  2. Jennifer x2 wrote on 1-Dec-2006 @ 2353:

    Had to read 2&3 together. Well you certainly know how to end with a page turner! You tease you, of course it’s the rector! Where on earth are all these leading to? Stigmatas, a damaged childhood, an overbearing mother, a distant father. No, no, no I won’t read this all at once! I’ll take my time. But I am more than intrigued and I do want to read on.

    [London trash accent?] 🙂

  3. The Harbour Master wrote on 3-Dec-2006 @ 1936:

    Thanks again. Man, I hope I can pull this all together. There’s nothing like speeding towards an anti-climax =)

  4. The Harbour Master wrote on 3-Dec-2006 @ 1936:

    Thanks again. Man, I hope I can pull this all together. There’s nothing like speeding towards an anti-climax =)

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