birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Just Move

It's long and white. Much whiter than my already pale complexion. The white that a roughly erased word leaves behind on a page. No freckles will ever be on that portion of my body again. I only see it when I'm before a mirror and my elbow is at just the right angle to reflect it back to me. Sometimes it surprises me to see it.

A bit of my flesh was left behind on that hard cement cycling path. The result of bicycle wheel getting caught between the void of soft grass and raised cement path. Thought I had navigated the transition better, but the angle was off. Thunk. Head hitting ground, elbow and knee taking the rest of the fall. Helmet cracked...Stars were seen on a bright summer afternoon. I think it took other people around me saying that my elbow was bleeding to even know that it was injured. I was a bit dazed. It hurt. Took a while to heal; going from the red angry inflammation phase and that stung-feeling of flesh that's been scraped across rough cement. It did the oozing bit and didn't really care for the July 4th pool party not long after the incident.

I'd been training for a sprint triathlon, which was training for a half marathon that my brother challenged us to. All summer I'd been running, biking, a bit of swimming. Seems that's all I did that year. Run, bike, sweat, eat-drink, shower, sleep, repeat. I was never what anyone would consider an athlete. Always the last to be chosen for any team. Always bringing up the rear at the presidential physical fitness activities we did back in school. I had aspirations and high hopes of running like a gazelle, and cutting through the water like a porpoise, but reality was that just was never me.

Despite the injury and lack of physical prowess I persevered. I finished the sprint-triathlon, with a few friends even cheering me on. I finished the half-marathon a month later. With the promise by promoters for donuts and beer afterwards-what could stop me from that! By the time I finished, there was no more beer. What?! What I do have is the long-lasting scar on my elbow to remind me of my accomplishments and the knowledge that you don't have to be a star athlete to put one foot in front of the other and just move.

The Opposite of Well Put Together

Picking Faces