by Casey Murphy
“Have you ever run so fast it’s like you left your past behind?”
The sun was sinking low behind the trees as Renee and Frank stared through the wire mesh fence out over the hills beyond. Renee’s fingers were laced through the holes in the fence, while Frank’s were stuffed in his pockets. He wanted to hold her thin, pale hands in his tan, thick ones. They looked cold in the fading light.
“Huh?” he asked.
Her eyes were suddenly locked on his. He had never noticed how blue they were. Almost like ice. But not cold, like her hands.
“Never mind,” she replied, turning back to the hills. “It’s stupid.”
“No, it’s not. I’m sorry. I didn’t hear what you said.” Frank could feel the heat rising to his face. He was blabbering like an idiot, and he didn’t know why. His heart was pounding in his chest. No, it was in his throat. His throat and his stomach.
Just shut up, Frank, he chastised himself. Renee laughed. Not like she was making fun of him, though. It was more playful. Frank smiled. Renee gripped her fingers tighter around the fence until they were white where the wire was cutting into them. Slowly, she leaned back on her heels. The fence bent with her, adjusting to her weight. She let her head hang backward, her long, brown hair leading the way.
“You get what I mean, though, right?” she suddenly asked, still leaning backward.
“What about it?”
She straightened up, those icy blue eyes back on him. “You mean you’ve never felt that adrenaline rush that makes your heart go wild as you run? You don’t have to be running to anywhere, either. Just running.”
“Can’t say I have.”
“Oh,” she paused, “It’s kind of like sex.”
Again, Frank felt heat in his cheeks. His eyes broke from hers and concentrated on the last few rays of the sun as they completely disappeared behind the trees. They were now in twilight, that moment where it wasn’t pitch black, but the sun was no longer out in the open. Renee stepped closer to him. He could feel her breath on his cheek as she leaned to whisper in his ear.
“Want me to show you?”
“What!” Frank stumbled back, startled. That playful laughter played in his ear. And she was off, racing along the fence. Frank stared after her for a minute, confused. Then he got it. He ran after her.
Her laughter danced in the air. Every second it became darker, and he needed the laughter to lead the way. His chest was burning and his breath wheezed out of his lungs. Suddenly, he couldn’t hear the laughter any more. He slowed to a jog, then a walk.
“Renee!” he called, his hands cupped around his mouth. The words echoed in the night sky. “Renee!” He gasped as he was tackled to the ground. The laughter was now rolling with him down the hill away from the fence. And now their faces were mere inches apart as they lay in the grass, trying to catch their breath. And his hands were laced with hers, and they weren’t cold. He smiled up as she smiled down.
“See what I mean?” she asked, still giggling.
He could feel her heart racing along with his, and he was no longer nervous. Or scared. So he kissed her.
“Yes,” he replied, as he stared at her surprised face. “I get exactly what you mean.”
-refers from Christopher Allen’s photo Fence