Quentin’s run a future vision
By Marlene Farrell
It had been another long day. Long in a wonderful way. Quentin had finished a stunning portrait of flowers at art camp, the swimming pool had beckoned us to dive and tread in its silky coolness, and then there was more earnest play at our friends’ riverfront barbeque below their orchard. We enforced a few moments of stillness in order to get Quentin and Alice to chew before dashing back to the beach to dig elaborate canals.
At the end of it all, we are lingering in the delightful elongation of evening, filled with shared contentment. We’re ready for the half-mile climb through the orchard back to our friends’ house before saying goodbye. Just waiting for kids to drop like ripe fruit into their car seats.
“I’m going to run behind the car.”
Quentin smiles, this little plan hatched in his head. His clothes are soggy, his legs splattered with sand and he’s wearing hand-me-down crocs that are still a size too big.
We roll the windows down and Kevin will drive slowly, just in case. We start our ascent. I can’t see Quentin through my side mirror so I have to turn my head to watch. He’s framed by the rear windshield, a moving picture, his sun bleached hair contrasting glowing cheeks, his arms pumping smoothly, rhythmically. When did his legs grow so long? When did his eyes gleam with such impish determination? How is he keeping those crocs on? These thoughts thud inside my head as I watch my boy, the one I pushed for so many miles in a baby jogger, enduring, running after his long day, fueled by ice cream that still encrusts his upper lip.
A few times Quentin slows. Twice to retrieve a wayward croc. A couple times to walk and catch his breath. I call out to him, does he want to hop in? I mention to Kevin that I could keep Quentin company and he could drive up to the house. My mom instinct overpowers me sometimes and Kevin thankfully denies my attempts at rescue. This is not about me running with Quentin. And it’s not about applauding his vim while cutting his vision short.
We continue to drive slowly, gravel crunching under our tires. After passing two dogs that wag their tails and sniff at Quentin, we’re at the final bend and rise to the house. Exhaustion starts to weigh on Quentin but he rallies for the finish. When we arrive there is cheering and Quentin saying to himself and to the rest of us, “I did it. I did it.” Alice, the biggest competitor in the family, shakes her head in wonder at her brother’s impressive strength.
It is clear to me now. I have glimpsed the young man Quentin will one day become, strong in body and mind. Powered by his heart’s desire, no task is too hard and every opportunity is open to him. The moment is etched into my memory, illuminated by a new pride, one that is beyond me, for Quentin alone and the values he embodies.
Marlene Farrell is a Leavenworth writer and long-distance runner who has qualified twice for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She also helps coach the Peshastin-Dryden Striders kids running club.