I wasn’t sure why I was doing it — if I was running towards some kind of freedom from the chasm that losing you tore in my heart, or merely trying in vain to put some distance between myself and its crumbling precipice, lest I teeter too close and tumble over the edge.
The last fifth of a mile loomed ahead; the screams of the Marines drowned out by the roaring in my own ears.
It wasn’t the steep incline that stole the air from my lungs. It was the place. Of all the places — of all the goddamned places they could end this race, they chose your resting place. The very place where my lungs never failed to seize up. The place where my throat closed, choked with tears that I refused to let reach my eyes, forcing my jaw to clench.
“Breathe, you idiot,” my brain demanded of my lungs.
The hill was a battle — the incline sharp, and the curve in it merely insult unto injury. But the real beast was my thoughts. The haunting sound of rifle volleys that I would never escape. The crisp autumn air that neither of us could breathe.
So much of my heart has been laid to rest on these grounds. It calls me every time I set foot back here.
I knew then. I wasn’t running away from the chasm. I was sprinting towards it, ready to take a bounding leap from that precipice back into the darkness.