I suppose you could say I’m the sporty type, so when I saw Ily’s call for subs for a lesbian erotica anthology with a sports theme, I knew immediately I wanted to write for it. I debated what sport I wanted to write about. Tennis – inspired by my never-ending crush, Amelie Mauresmo; boxing – inspired by the joy of pounding bag at the gym; even the very sweaty, very girly world of step aerobics, which I love. But somehow it always came back to running.
It always comes back to running.
My story, “Run, Jo, Run” isn’t about me, but I’m there in the story in the way that running makes me feel. The exhilaration, the exhaustion, the joy, the pain, the strength, the freedom. Always the freedom. And like Jo, I find running is a way of solving problems, escaping sadness, celebrating the happy things, releasing tension. Peace talks would go way better if the participants had to do a swift 5km first!
Of course, I’m a fraction of the runner that my characters, Jo and Carys, are. They have ability, strength, and stamina that I can only dream about! Wish fulfillment anyone? *g*
My copy of Girls Who Score is yet to arrive – Australia really is the arse-end of the world when it comes to mailing things – so I have yet to read any of the other stories in the book. I’m greatly looking forward to its arrival – many of my favorite writers writing about many of my favorite things.
Kudos to Ily for her line up. I’m honored to be included.
Here’s an excerpt from my story, “Run, Jo, Run.”
Side by side, they lope down the slope to the wooded valley. Soon the path is too narrow to allow them to run abreast, so Jo moves in front. She can hear Carys’ breathing behind her, the easy breath of the long distance runner, hear the soft thud of her feet on rocks and dirt. Curious, Jo increases her pace until she’s running faster than usual, and although Carys’ breathing increases, she’s still there on Jo’s tail.
The path opens out again and they run side by side through the birdsong-filled wood, splashing through the stream, passing the occasional rambler. Two miles, three, four and their pace is still gradually increasing, until when they burst from the woods out onto the heath, they’re flying and this is now no companionable run: it’s a race.
The heath ends at a road, and Jo knows without saying that it will be the finish line. Three hundred yards, two, then one. Jo digs deep, focuses on the road, and ignores the heaviness of her legs, the way there isn’t enough air in her lungs and the floating lightheadedness that threatens to swamp her. She’s aware of Carys at her side, matching her pace, sometimes half a stride ahead, and doesn’t let herself believe that Carys is only pacing her and that she will break away in the last few yards.
They reach the road together and if there’s a winner, Jo doesn’t know which of them it is.
She crashes to the grass as exhausted as if she’s run a marathon. Carys lies next to her, her body at an angle to Jo’s. After a minute or so, Carys stretches out a hand, finds Jo’s and grasps it.
“Great run,” she says, and her breathing is nearly back to normal.
“Yeah.” Jo lies still, listening to the thundering of her heart and savoring the touch of Carys’ hand in her own. She wonders what Carys’ touch really means, and then Carys squeezes her fingers, a swift caress with the pad of her thumb, and Jo wonders no more.
A routine develops. They meet at the top of the tor and run a few miles together, ending with the sprint to the road. Sometimes Jo wins, mostly Carys does, and then, if it’s dry, they lie on the turf together to recover and share snippets of their lives: where they live, where they work, what TV shows they watch.
One day Jo asks, with a studied casualness, “You have a girlfriend?”
Carys squeezes her fingers and replies, “No. Not yet.”