"Your form is crappy today, Buddy," I said to Kyle as we jogged along. We were only a mile into the New Year's Day 5k and he looked like he was dying. The sweat pants he wore made him look skinny—malnourished, almost.
"Mom, I feel like total crap. Just go. I'll see you at the finish. I’m dying."
"Bub, it’s your first real 5k; I’m not going to leave you. Let's just get this over with. We're almost half finished already."
We trudged along and finished 10 minutes slower than our regular training runs. I fought being pissed--this race was Kyle’s idea and I felt like he didn't even try; he seemed distracted the whole jog.
Oh, well. So I was out $50 bucks. I got to spend the morning with my 12-year-old son and we both had new matching boxy t-shirts emblazoned with Chiropractic advertisements. It was money well spent in my book. I was thrilled Kyle seemed interested in my sport; distance running isn't the most exciting activity and it forced my introverted boy to hang out with me and almost chat for full 30-minute blocks of time. I really thought our relationship grew during our two months of training.
"Mom, can I talk to you about a personal issue? I mean, a sex issue?"
We were 10 minutes into our drive home from the race and the car interior suddenly seemed vacuum-sealed. Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground were on the radio asking me What Goes on in My Mind, but I reached up and silenced them so I could hear what the hell was going on in my son's pre-teen mind.
BY CAROLYN SMUTS
BY PAUL HOSTOVSKY
BY DAVID PULLAR
BY BRIAN WRIGHT
Advice for Submitting to Literary Magazines
in the Coming Totalitarian Dystopia
Daniel Paul, McSweeney's
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