Being bedridden is the worst thing for a runner, and with
two fractured ribs, a shattered forearm, and more bruises and cuts than he can
count, that’s exactly what Neil is. His upper body took the brunt of the
collision, but it’s his legs that ache. Every muscle twinges with the desire to
burn. It feels like the need ingrains itself all the way down to his bone,
making his toes twitch to get up and move.
It gets worse when Coach puts him on injury reserve. He’s
banished to the bench to watch his teammates run drills and scrimmages. His
nerves feel like a livewire waiting for that single spark to send fire
scorching through his veins. His whole body thrums with impatience to get back
on that court. It leaves him a mess of bubbling and warring emotions that clog
his chest and leave scarred destruction in their wake.
After his first game not playing, Neil is intercepted by a
tall man in a suit in the parking lot. The conversation is brief, but the
threat is clear. Neil barely makes it to the car before his whole world tilts.
His vision starts to blur around the edges, and he’s only vaguely aware of his
hands trembling at his sides. He’s not sure if he says anything, the ringing in
his ears too loud, but he must make some sort of sound because Andrew is there.
He crowds Neil back against their new car, a strong and solid weight coaxing
air back into Neil’s lungs. It calms Neil down, but it doesn’t chase the
shadows away, just keeps them at bay for the time being. He still feels dread
settle in his stomach like a cement block and unease digs its claws into his
throat until there’s a lump he has to swallow around. He rests his head against
the window as they drive back to their apartment and closes his eyes against
the dark clouds brewing inside him.
1. Hotel Song - Regina Spektor /// 2. True Affection - The Blow /// 3. Kiss That Counted - Catie Curtis /// 4. Breathe Me - Sia /// 5. Words Cannot Describe - Mirah /// 6. Can’t Help Falling in Love - Ingrid Michaelson /// 7. For My Lover - Tracy Chapman /// 8. Drive - Melissa Ferrick
Whenever anything triggering happens to me, most people I go to say things like, “Well you shoulda done this” or “You shoulda done that” which never makes me feel better so I just text my roommate instead and she just says, “I would’ve punched him in the face for you” and I immediately feel better. She always knows what to say.
This is a Catiepotatoes appreciation post. Thanks Catiepotatoes.