I was fast when I was a kid. But all kids were fast back then. We either walked to where we were going, we biked to where we were going, or we ran. We ran because it was faster than walking, because the terrain forbid bikes, or because we were kids and running was just short of flying. We ran from the tennis courts to the woods, through the fields and down to the pond. We ran because it was Summer, and once Summer arrived it stayed forever and forever, and it never died. We ran because running was as natural as breathing, as natural as going barefoot, and as natural as drinking out of the same coke bottle as three of four other kids who has all pitched in a couple of pennies apiece to share one coke.
I would run as fast as I could, and then lean forward, to see if I would take off and fly, and at that point in my life I didn’t know I couldn’t, the theory hadn’t been tested, the physics not dared yet. I would fall, brutally fall, unknowledgeable on how to fall except through this manner of university, this harsh law of gravity, and the ground would testify to my speed with its hardness and even in pain I realized that my speed had brought that on, and my blood would be my only medal for speed running, but that was enough at that time.
Summer came and we ran to greet it, we ran beside it, and then we chased it, knowing we could keep it there with us, and it would not leave. But it did leave, it left us with old people, people in their thirties and even the ancient ones who had grown old to forty, and after that people spent their time wasting away because they no longer ran. The old people, those people in their thirties, and the ancient ones in their forties would make us stop running, chase Summer away, and school would begin. Hours spent living were instead spent growing old, and not running.
Now I am ancient, and I no longer run except to keep from growing older. I run slower, much slower, so much slower than that kid so many years ago, but he was so fast, so incredibly fast, and each year there is les and less of him in my gait, no matter how hard I chase him.