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left behind

They walk so quickly.

My husband and son zoom off. They hardly wait or look back at me walking behind them. Their long legs carry them farther than my short ones struggling to keep up.

They have their pace and I have mine. I wish I could say it doesn’t bother me. But it does.

We would walk slower when my son was younger. On golden spring evenings we’d head out our door after dinner and walk to our local ice cream shop for a treat. We moved as a family then. My husband walking slowly with me and our boy. Waiting for both of us to catch up.

The pace started getting faster as our son grew. He was eager to catch up to his father and would often leave me behind. It happened so gradually I didn’t notice him slipping away from me.

“You’re too slow Agnes,” my husband would bite back in frustration every time I asked him to wait. My son would stand by his father and wait for me to hurry up.

I have stopped asking them to slow down.

Sometimes on our walks our boy would travel back to me to chat about his latest interests.

“Mum, what do you think is the most underrated Pokémon?”

“I don’t know…” I would then try and think of a Pokémon, any Pokémon, that I could remember. “Um, Pickachu?”

Our boy would stay with me for a little while longer to say what a terrible choice that was. It’s nice to have his company. When he’s done, he shoots back to his father again at the front.

I try to move faster, but it’s so easy for my husband to quicken his pace and for my son to follow. I feel my breath quicken, my heart rate rise, the familiar prickle of sweat on my back.

They walk for fitness. I walk for the company of family.

Suddenly I’m playing catch up with people who I thought were mine. People I thought would always be with me.

“Come on Agnes,” my husband often cajoles. “Let’s go for a walk. I want you to see the Common.”

“No,” I now reply. “Let’s take the bus.”

He thinks I’m being lazy. Unwilling to move my body. Unwilling to stay healthy.

I don’t tell him a part of me always feels a little left out when we walk these days. I doubt it would change anything.

Discover prompt #16: Slow

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April 2020
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