"Run" Reconstruction of a Memory- Sean Johnson

Looking up at the sky was often a good experience, feeling the earth’s gentle heat pulsing through my back, paired with the cool shade coming from the trees. It’s a feeling that leads someone into a peaceful trance. I remember being here, by these train tracks, twenty years ago. I get to feel that peace now, but back then, I remember laying on my back still, timid and afraid, afraid of getting back up. Until abruptly, the numbing sensation of summer transfigured into the powerful kick that lulled me back into reality. I realized then, I was being beaten. Beaten by a gang of teens, older, more developed teens. I was dimly aware of the events leading up to this assault. I remember the concoction of invincibility, amiability, doubt, and disbelief that made the force of the first punch seem that much more surreal. I got back on my feet, yet I was too stunned to move, too stunned to cry. So instead, I yelled, hollered, barked insults and empty words not only to protect myself, but to protect my little cousin. I screamed for help, spat curses that a 11 year old should never verbalize, all in vain. When my 9 assailants realized the hopelessness in all of my threats, they closed in for the finish. I was terrified, but in this flurry of punches and kicks I realized what I needed to do. I needed help, I needed to run, so why wasn’t I getting anywhere? Every attempt at escape was countered by a blow from a pair of unabaiting fists. Relentless, I tried to find security from blows to the back along a brick wall, but to these kids, the wall served as another weapon. I remember my head being slammed against brick, brutal in appearance but numbing in reality. I remember losing consciousness quickly, the world going out of focus, like the lens of a camera. I knew if I were to crash there I’d be done. So I miraculously, i got up. I ran, I ran past the BBQ'ers watching with sour faces, I ran past the cars that slowly drove by, I ran all the way back to my grandfather’s house for help.

Screenshot 2018-12-17 at 9.52.35 AM
Screenshot 2018-12-17 at 9.52.35 AM
Author's Note:

I wrote from my own personal memory, the primary source if you will. When it comes to the adaptations of my words I can attribute them to Margaret Atwood and her novel the handmaid’s tale. It always intrigued me how the author structured her words and emphasized specifics that you wouldn’t look into. I wanted to make a text that symbolized this sophistication and art when it came to the words in my recreation. I feel like this piece was a personal success because I feel that I  accomplished my goal when it came to copying her work, As well as writing in her image.

Comments (2)

Matthew Milligan (Student 2019)
Matthew Milligan

I agree. It was very easy to imagine the scene playing out because of how well you described everything in the beginning. I like how you were descriptive not only in the physical aspects of the scene but also in how you were feeling at the time. It gives a more complete picture overall. I am still thinking about the fight and how it started. How did an 11 year old wind up fighting a bunch of teenagers?