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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'Self Doubt Can't See At Night'

Ben Stoll, 18, of Georgia, VT, writes about a surprising personal victory when he’s pushed to the limit by a relentless running buddy.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Caleb Dudley, Essex Junction
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Ben Stoll, 18, of Georgia, VT, writes about a surprising personal victory when he’s pushed to the limit by a relentless running buddy.";

You wanted to race

in the dark.

I looked at you

with a droopy frown

and eyes filled with disbelief.

We had run all day,

with only

minute-long water breaks

scattered sparsely throughout.

The sun was finally setting,

signaling the end of practice.

You stood in my way however,

determined to get in

one last race.

‘Just a mile,’

you said.

‘Just a mile.’

I couldn’t do a mile;

I could hardly stand.

Self doubt coursed

through my veins.

Yet I let you

convince me,

and we mounted the start line.

It was pitch black now.

I could only see

a few feet ahead.

You shouted, ‘Go!’

And we ran.

I fell behind quickly,

but I refused to stop.

My muscles screamed,

telling me it was too far.

I knew it was;

but I would only stop

when you would. 

You eventually did,

and I caught up.

I collapsed to your feet,

tears rushing down my cheeks.

‘I could barely run a mile.

How could I compare to you?’

You stood me up,

and grinned.

‘You’re right,’

you said.

‘You can do more.’

Switching on a flashlight,

you showed me

the finish:

Several yards behind us.

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