Mrs. Feehan Quotes in Runner
That night in my sleep, I dreamt of a house with pink walls […].All three of us were there, Ma, Jack, and me, sitting in front of a crackling fire. Beside the hearth, stacked neatly in rows, was a pile of wood stacked so high it reached the top of the mantelpiece. We sat smiling, faces aglow, dunking bits of bread into steaming soup […].
Next morning, it was the cold that woke me early. When I opened my eyes, the pink walls in my dream had turned a moldy gray and black.
It was quick, my father’s death […]. As soon as he took his last breath, Ma and I were forced to think of the future. Even in death, the poor were denied the luxury of grieving. There just wasn’t time […]. [W]hen the undertakes came to wheel my father’s lifeless body out to the hearse, it was as if they took my childhood with them.
I didn’t want what other people wanted. I didn’t want to be like Nostrils, sticking labels on tins of jam at Rosella’s, or like my father, who’d busted his gut down on the wharf for years. I wanted something more than that. I wanted a piece of the action. It didn’t have to be a huge helping, just a slice of it.
Enough to give Ma and Jack a better life.
I ran during the day and I ran at night. In fact, I ran so much that I didn’t bother changing into my father’s old boots anymore. Ma and I both had our secrets now […]. I avoided her as best I could, preferring to spend my time with Nostrils or Squizzy or Dolly. At least with them I didn’t have to pretend.
Reluctantly she swung my way, and it was then that I saw her battered face. I was shocked […]. I could not believe that the woman standing before me was the same one who’d brought me into this world––the one who’d cared for me all these years.
During the city runs, I’d been able to distance myself from Squizzy’s debtors. To me they were simply names on a list.
But now, after my meeting with the Cornwalls, I realized that these people were more than just names. They were real people, desperate people––people with families, people just like Ma and me.
“Did ya ‘appen to know, Charlie,” [Ma] said, pouring the tea, “that me and Alice ‘ave somethin’ in common? […] It just so ‘appens that Alice loves to dance.”
Right then, the strangest thing happened. A vision of my father appeared in the living room as clear as Ma was sitting in the chair opposite […]. He raised his eyebrows, then smiled.
“Giddyup, Charlie.” He winked.
Then he was gone.
I went back to that first time I’d ventured out––that time I plotted a course of four main streets to rid myself of the cold, dull ache in my bones. Tomorrow, however, I’d be running for something more. I’d be running for my father, for Ma, for Jack, for Alice, for Nostrils, and for Mr. Redmond. Tomorrow I’d be running the race of my life, and the stakes were high.
As I turned the knob, Ma appeared behind me.
“Where are ya goin’, Charlie?” she asked.
“I’m goin’ runnin’, Ma.”
“Runnin’? Where to?”
I dropped my eyes to my father’s boots, then looked up and smiled.
“Who knows, Ma. Who knows.”