The Day He Stopped Running - Poem by Jason Terrell
There was a kid who'd run home. Not because he was hungry. But because he was full of fear inside his aching heart hoping his sister had survived to see another day. One time she was about to hang herself from the ceiling of her room, and he barely caught her. He'd wake up in cold sweats and go to her room to make sure she was fine so HE could feel better. He held on helplessly hoping heaven would send an angel down to earth because his feet couldn't run without her. He'd get up each morning and go to sleep each night with anxiety because he didn't know how much longer he could go. Long nights spent comforting her and each day a battle within his mind, his sister was hanging off the top of a mountain while he, he was doing just fine. He was getting by because he could see his sisters face, and the smile that he got when he saw her wasn't something any god could create. It was relief, satisfaction, love, every positive emotion welled up into 26 muscles contracting and relaxing into a smile. He'd run miles to see the smile on her face he hadn't seen in a while. Years since she heard the first, but not the worst because the worst is always yet to come. She had been called FAT, and she went two days without eating a morsel, she starved herself hoping to fit in to a bunch of misfits mismatched by the puzzle called life. She started cutting herself because she had no other choice, she had vocal cords but didn't have a voice, because to everyone but her brother she was background noise, the kind our bodies have grown to ignore even more since the days where we cared about what we said, forgetting saying one thing could push someone over the edge. She became a hurricane of anorexia, self-harm and hospital patient. Getting her stomach pumped twice in three months and left emotionally vacant because she had been told she was ugly by some kids at her school. Fools, it's not just kids, everyone can be cruel trying to be cool but we're all just stupid if we play monkey see monkey do just because someone's behaving like am idiot, doesn't mean you have to too. I've seen people casually message someone telling them to kill themselves, but our lives are more than just novels that can be taken off of bookshelves. She started writing a suicide letter that was a blank page, because words were an enemy and she had none left to say. Her brother came home and she was gone one day. He came home to a body hanging in the middle of a room; he was minutes too late, her life ended too soon. She had been choked by her noose. But it wasn't the one from around her neck; it was from the pressure mentally building that she couldn't keep in check. The desks that are said to be safe at school have now become battlegrounds for students dropping the latest atomic bombs on their peers. There isn't a worst but they're all just as bad to hear. I'm not a seer but it’s clear that we really don't care because a suicide every twenty minutes is something to fear.3 every hour,72 every day, why do we make people feel like its their only way. Those numbers are from our country, the land of the free where hypocrisy runs rampant and futures are dampened because someone's more beautiful, someone's stronger, but someone feels like they don't want to live any longer. As he laid his eyes on her corpse knowing she could breathe no more dangling from the ceiling, feeling hopeless, helpless, broken as he looked at the blank page she had left. She had left him bereft of emotion and tears, his fears had been realized and his nightmares came true, he thought he'd be able to save her, but he just couldn't pull her through. He missed school for a week and then they finally saw him. The bus pulled up to the stop and as he got off you could see tears dripping down his chin. His shoulders hunched down with the boulder of his grief. And instead of running home on that bright sunny day, he walked and the kids all stood watching him fade away. The other kids used to laugh and mock at the way he'd run, they'd make jokes about how he sprinted home, but now whenever he got there he was left all alone. We assume so much about someone yet we know so little, we need to stop being a part of two extremes and discover the middle. Because society will tell you how much to weigh, how much to eat, what to be and what you need. What you need is to be yourself and eat what you want and weigh yourself in experiences. Because we are all books still being written, and I don't know what obstacles you've faced so I have no right to judge because we all run a different race.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about The Day He Stopped Running by Jason Terrell
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.