by E. H. Lupton
"Melissa? How was your run?" Mama calls when she hears me come in the back door.
"Fine." I run the water in the sink for a minute, then splash it on my face. I'm warm from the run and the cold on my skin feels delicious. I close my eyes.
"How far did you go?"
"Three miles, maybe." I walk through to the living room, drying my face on the dish towel. Mama is on the sofa where I left her, in the corner with her legs stretched out as though the chintzy floral print is about to swallow her. The TV is on but muted, showing something blurry, dark figures and light. I find my glasses on the bookshelf and it resolves into another anonymous judge program; a 'defendant' is pleading silently with a stern-faced woman over what the subtitle says is a matter of a vandalized car.
"You were gone for three hours," Mama is saying. "You must have gone more than three miles."
"Maybe." My glasses start to steam up from the heat of my face, so I take them off and polish them on the hem of my shirt.
"Did you just go somewhere and set for three hours?" Mama asks. "You don't look like you been settin'."
The fog swallowed up the streets early on, and I was reduced to running with arms outstretched, waiting for the slight dip which signaled the transition from sidewalk to street, trying to find the pole with the street name on top, though without my glasses it was an exercise in futility to try and read what it said.
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"Salad Days" is roughly 3372 words.
E. H. Lupton lives in Wisconsin with her husband and her cat. In addition to studying library science, she runs marathons, draws a web comic, and makes things up. She can be reached at email@example.com, or visit her website at pretensesoup.com.