On the Run

January 2002
High School English, Senior

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A dreary, cold day in France, thick gray clouds covered the sky; shafts of sunlight could barely penetrate through them leaving the land darkened and gray. A cool fog seemed to hang in the air; sporadic gusts of wind caused it to drift gradually over the seemingly vast expanse of land.

I walked along a cobblestone path in a small park, heading back to where the tour bus intended to pick up everyone from my tour group. The tour guide said that from where the subway dropped us off, it would only take twenty minutes to get to where the bus planned to pick us up. However, as I soon found out, that was not the case.

Only one hour of free time remained before I needed to be back at the bus and I planned to see the Eiffel Tower once more before meeting the bus destined for Versailles. As I looked at the map, the destination seemed a much further distance than is humanly possible to cover in twenty minutes. My hopes of seeing the Eiffel Tower were dashed. I knew I could not view Paris from the top and get to my intended destination within an hour. I made my decision. It was time to head for the bus pickup in front of the Opera house.

My pace quickened as I realized how far I needed to travel; the idea of not arriving on time concerned me. I had no idea what would happen if I did not make it. Would they leave without me? I was not going to take the chance of becoming stranded in a foreign country surrounded by people who spoke a different language.

I checked my watch constantly, worrying that I was not going to make it. Time passed, almost too quickly it seemed, and I could not see the bus yet. My legs ached from walking. My heart sped up, seeming to come to my throat. It was painful to swallow as I became gripped with fear; I knew my time to be there fast approached.

Through the crowded streets, over the crazy roadways as cars whizzed by, I pressed on. Drivers lacked concern for pedestrians, zooming through crosswalks when the signal to cross belonged to me. I grew with fear; my anxiety began to build even more.

Finally, after I turned around a corner, the bus came into view. I made it just in time. A feeling of relief surged through me when I saw the tour group waiting up ahead, once again I was able to swallow and the pounding in my chest ceased. Their welcoming faces filled me with a sense of happiness, knowing that they were thankful that I returned. What the tour guide said about it only taking twenty minutes, turned out to be an hour; an hour of walking so fast to the point where I exhausted myself, having traveled almost four grueling miles. I learned not to totally trust the guide from then on, but to trust more in my own instincts. I planned to check things out for myself instead of relying on someone else to do it for me.