Short Stories

“On the Other Side”

 “Okay Rico, just a few more blocks to go,” shouted Paul as he tried to encourage his friend.

“I can’t do it,” Rico sighed as he slowed his pace, “it’s too hard and I’m so tired.”

“I know it’s hard, but you can do it man,” Paul said, “you’re almost done, don’t give up now.”

As the two young men pushed to make it the final stretch of the Run for Wellness Marathon, a stray soccer ball rolled onto the street right in Rico’s path causing him to take a vicious fall to the ground.

“Whoa, Rico, you alright man?” Paul said as he rushed to his friend’s aid.  Rico looked at Paul but he didn’t answer him.  He made a small attempt to get up, but then he fell back to the ground as if he was defeated.  Paul extended his hand to Rico, “Come on man, let me help you up.”  Rico looked Paul square in the eyes and discouraged, he said, “I can’t do this Paul. This ain’t me,” he sighed in frustration, “I’m overweight and out of shape.  I don’t know why I thought I could do this marathon.”  Rico sat up, wiped the sweat from his forehead, and rested his arms on his knees.

Paul knelt down and got face to face with Rico.  “I know you can do this.  You made it this far and that says a lot.” Rico looked up as Paul continued, “Maybe you don’t realize it, but you’re not the same Rico you used to be.  The new Rico is a lot stronger, a lot more determined, and resilient.  Yeah you took a fall, it happens to the best of us, but finishing this marathon is as simple as getting back up.  If you keep looking at who you were, then you’re right, you can’t do this.  But if you look forward,” Paul pointed to the end of the street, “you’ll see that it will all be worth it in the end.”

Rico looked down to the end of the street and saw that it was the end of the marathon.  All around the finish line were crowds of people cheering and waving. Above the finish line was a huge banner that read, “YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! VICTORY IS ON THE OTHER SIDE!”

Paul stood up, extended his hand to his friend once again and said, “See how close you are? Don’t give up now.”

Rico reached out and put his hand in Paul’s.  Once he was up off of the ground, he dusted himself off and looked Paul in the eyes. “Thanks man,” he said as he took off toward the finish line.

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