Here we are back in Leslie’s novel, Slippery Slope. Annie (female protagonist) is at the gym chasing after illusions. Remember, this is an original work of fiction. Please feel free to offer comments, feedback, etc. but don’t take as your own work. Thanks–and enjoy!
I am back at the gym. The dreaded treadmill; an artificial run. The mechanics of the machine lifting itself up, clanging and cranking. Feigning a hill.
Hot, rubbery legs.
Steve’s legs, long and lean reaching for my foot. The other day. Lunch.
I press the speed button several times—5.3 MPH. A good, healthy jog. My heart is pounding, but not because of the run. I didn’t sleep well last night.
Joe’s breath on the back of my neck.
See a therapist. You’re not yourself.
Steve’s cocky grin.
I tossed and turned. Thinking. Dreaming.
Come back to me.
So much pent-up energy inside of my body.
I close my eyes briefly, my legs pounding the black rubber strip. Madi’s bottom-lip popped out appears in my mind. She’s sitting on Mrs. Stover’s lap—the headmistress at Hollybrook Academy. She’s not crying, but she looks worried.
Where’s my mommy?
I crank the speed up higher. My legs taking me nowhere, yet running me in circles.
Madi’s eyes brighten when she sees me. She scrambles out of Mrs. Stover’s lap and into my arms.
I press the buttons on the machine, increasing my pace. 5.9 MPH. Joe’s height.
I’m so sorry, Joe. I’m sorry, Madi. It won’t happen again, I promise.
Mentally apologizing won’t work. My body needs more. The thoughts won’t go away. I crank the speed to 6.1 MPH.
The digits attack my consciousness, coming at me like a giant Pac-Man, gobbling away dots in a maze.
I called your husband, you know. Flake, unorganized mother, watch out for that one.
I punch the arrow on the treadmill again. 6.3 MPH.
My legs struggle to keep up. My breath coming in puffs. A metallic taste fills my mouth. I reach for my water bottle.
Can I take it here? Can I do this? Sweat rolls down my forehead, my back.
It goes on like this for twenty-six minutes.
Running after illusions.