Posted on December 6, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


I felt like Gulliver, standing in the gym packed with kids and waiting for the Girls on the Run coach.  Part of the team was already there sitting on the floor, heads bobbing together over someone’s homework while they discussed the story problem laid out before them.  I tried to appear present but disinterested.  The last thing I wanted was for them to ask me for help. I’ve always hated story problems.

We spotted each other across the gym at the same time.  She locked her eyes on me and wouldn’t let go. I smiled, at first.  She was so cute, a toddler with bouncing hair, standing there in her little dress, arm outstretched and finger pointed at…something.  I glanced in the direction her finger demanded, but saw nothing of interest.  I tilted my head quizzically as she started to run, straight at me, finger still pointing.  On the end of her finger was a lump. A rather large one.

A fear greater than the one of story problems overtook me. What was that on her finger? Would she really have the audacity to wipe it on me? And why me, of all the people in here? Should I run, grab her by the wrist in the nick of time, divert her attention with something shiny? Did I have anything shiny? Before I could make a logical and ethical decision, she stopped inches from me.  Her eyes had not left my face as she ran, and, although I struggled to retain my composure, I wondered if she sensed my alarm. She smiled widely and raised her arm toward me.

“Look,” she said proudly.

I braced myself and looked. A small, black butterfly perched on her fingertip, its wings quivering slightly.

“A butterfly.” I was relieved and astonished. “Did it just fly up and land on you?” I asked.

“Yes!” she beamed.

We both stared in silence at the butterfly dawdling comfortably on her fingertip until it decided to fly away.  She looked back up at me, smiled again, and ran back in the direction she came from.

How strange, I thought, that she chose me to share such a wondrous thing with. How strange, and how lucky.


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