“Enough, Lucas! If you don’t have one chapter done by tomorrow, we’re done,” she uttered in a discontented tone, and left the flat.
This argument had been a constant issue in our relationship. Zoe truly believed in me and was desperate for others to see the talents she was so sure I possessed.
“I guess she’s right,” I thought to myself. Generally speaking, I believed there was nothing worse than writing for the sake of writing. For me, it had always been a medium through which I expressed ideas and frustrations. But Zoe did have a point. Playing video games all day long was not going to help me overcome my writer’s block.
I messaged Eli, thinking he’d know what to do. We used to be roommates at Boston University until our graduation last year. He moved back to The Big Apple, whereas I opted to stay in Boston. Something about the place made it impossible for me to leave.
Minutes passed and my phone beeped.
The message read: “Hey, brother! It’s been ages!”
We didn’t talk nearly as often as we had promised each other we would. It was mainly my fault.
Eli was the kind of writer who could just flow. It came very naturally to him and he rarely experienced writer’s block. He helped me through the Writing Program at Boston so I asked him what he thought I should do.
We talked for a while, and as I’d anticipated, he came up with a great solution. He said I needed to experience something for the first time. According to him, it would inspire me to try out new, unique styles and genres of writing. Immediately I thought of the Boston Marathon. It was two weeks away and Zoe and I enjoyed running the streets together. We were both in good shape and I was convinced it would be a formative experience both in our relationship and in my journey as a writer.
When Zoe returned home I told her about my idea, or rather Eli’s idea, and she was thrilled. She jumped on me and hugged me, and half-jokingly said “Eli should move in with us!”
We signed up online and later prepared dinner. We raised a toast, and Zoe said smiling “To us, and to writing.” We were the happiest we had been in ages.
The big day had arrived. I had hardly slept at all, unlike Zoe who was out like a light as soon as her head touched the pillow. I had spent the night looking at her and thinking how lucky I was to have someone so motivating in my life.
I woke her up, we prepared a light breakfast and headed out.
Eli called to wish Zoe and I good luck. “You better win a Pullitzer after this, Luke!” He remarked.
“We both know the only Pullitzer-destined one between the two of us is you, Eli. I promise I’ll try though!”
I gave Zoe a kiss as the starting pistol fired and we started running.
The first 26 miles were tough, but no amount of training could have prepared us for the last few yards. We were holding hands, heading towards a physical and symbolic finish line, when all of a sudden an earth-shattering explosion sent us flying. All I remember is seeing a blurred image of utter chaos around me. I was clutching Zoe’s body, too scared to look down at what was left of my own.
The next thing I remember is waking up in a white hospital room. As I slowly came to my senses, I heard Zoe’s soft voice. I looked up, and there she was sitting beside me, with both my parents and Eli there too.
Zoe leaped towards me, and Eli told her to be gentle. I later found out I had fractured my ribs and lost both my legs. Zoe was much luckier, only suffering a broken hand and a few other minor injuries. “We’ll be alright, Lucas. I promise,” she whispered. I believed her, mainly because I had no other choice.
When I said the marathon would be a formative experience, I did not realize quite how accurate an assessment that was. It changed every single aspect of my life. “On the bright side, you’ll have a copious amount of stories to tell now,” I remember Eli telling me.
This is the first story. Here’s to many more.