Disclaimer- I do not own The Outsiders
September 27th, 1967
I wasn't sure why I let them talk me into this. I was never going to make the team. I'm really not that fast. Besides, I hate people staring at me. Large crowds still send chills up my spine. I had half a mind to turn tail and run all the way home to my room, safe, quiet no people…. I looked up and sighed. Soda was in the stands. I looked closer. Darry was too. "What is he doing off work?" I gulped. They were not alone. I recognized three other faces. Their friends who have slowly but surely become my friends as well.
My heart pounded in my chest and my palms felt sweaty. I sighed. "You can do this… You can do this… I can't do this…" My stomach twisted in knots and I felt sick.
I looked down and laced my untied shoes, once belonging to Soda. I looked up. He was still up in the stands smiling at me. He gave me thumbs up. I gave a nervous smile and bit my lip. …" I closed my eyes tight picturing my first run, with Darry. I had never felt freedom like that before. It was invigorating. I was going to do this. I had to do this. I had to prove it to my self that I could.
I briefly remembered another time that I was terrified out of my wits, to scared ti speak, to do anything. "I know you don't have to go back to that stand Ponyboy but if you don't he's still got power of you. I can't stand it for you to feel that way. You deserve to be the one to hold the aces this time, huh?"
For so many years I had no choice, no freedom. Even once I was home, with people who cared about me, I was still a prisoner, to my memories to my lack of, to my fears…
I sighed. If I didn't do this, I'd never forgive myself.
Another vice popped into my head, the voice of Harper Lee. I could see the pages as clearly as the field before me. "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do"
For once in my life; I would be brave. The coach's voice boomed "Ready, Set… GO!" Before my brain had a chance to register what was going on, my feet were off, pounding hard against the pavement. My heart raced, in a rhythmic beat with my feet below. 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1…..
Sweat poured down my brow and breathed in deeply. I never felt so, so right… A senior boy made is way to run in front of me. I felt myself arching, my speed increasing. I wasn't going to give up the lead. For once in my life… I was going to take control. I was not about to lose this.
"Run Ponyboy… run.."
I knew those voices, Friends of my brothers, that I could know claim as my own. I smiled in spite of myself. Not only did I have a family… for the first time in memory I had friends. I pushed myself harder. I was… was showing off. I had never done that before, never. My grin grew wider. I saw the finish line. I was almost there.
More shouts, not angry, not yelling at me, but for me. I closed my eyes.
I curled into a ball and rocked. Father was angry, so angry. "Pathetic, worthless…" He gave me a kick. "You are a nothing. You hear me. You are a stupid, lazy, useless piece of crap. You know it kid. Aint nobody love you and aint nobody going to love you."
He picked me up by my shirt and hauled me to my feet. I could feel his breath hot and sticky on my face. "You little shit. You lousy piece of trash. He held me up and slapped me. Then he took his fist to my jaw. Tear fell down my face.
The closet door was yanked open and the light blinded me. Father was yelling a string of cuss words so fast I couldn't hear them or in the very least I couldn't make them out. He wasn't in a good mood at all. I think he might have been drunk.
I shivered. I didn't want to. I wanted to stay in the closet. The closet was safe.
"I said get up!"
"Shithead… Shithead... Shithead."
"shitheads going to die… shitheads going to die… shitheads going to die…"
"He's coming to get you. We're coming to get you."
"First up the nose then the mouth."
They laugh and it sounds like father. I wish they'd go away… go away…."
I shook my head and let the memories die, if only for a moment before they were resurrected. I sighed and leaned over, panting. The new shouts grew louder.
"Man oh man did you see how fast he was going…"
I panted, grinning. If somebody had told me a year ago that I would be here, I never would have believed them, not in a million years.
But then again, somebody did.
"I'm me, you're you but we're we. We're both leaving and a new us will come. Things can't be easy fast. Mommy always says the storm comes before the rain."
He grabbed my hand. "I'll never remember everything and you'll never forget. But the new us can have a little of both."
I sighed. "Will we ever be happy?"
My me shrugged. "Sometimes but we'll be sad too. We can have mommy and daddy and our brothers though. We can love them again. They already love us."
"I don't think I'll ever be able to trust them."
"I trust them so the new us will someday."
"And the new us, will we trust other people?"
"He'll never be you but he'll never be me either even though he is us. I used to trust most everybody but I was kinda shy. You don't trust anyone because the bad man hurt us. We'll have good days and bad days."
"You okay Ponyboy?" I shook myself out of my daze.
"I'm fine." Darry grinned.
"You did good kid, real good." I smiled.
I looked over to the side. Coach McNeal was motioning my over. Soda gave me a thumbs up. "Go on kiddo, go see what he wants."
I nodded, more than a little nervous. Darry laughed. "It'll be fine, go on." Taking a deep breath, I ran over.
Coach McNeal smiled. "Congratulations Curtis. You've made the team."
"Excuse me sir?" Surely I had not heard him correctly.
Coach McNeal chuckled. "I said you made the team son. You've got talent Curtis, just like your brother." He nodded to Darry. "You come from good stock. I expect great things from you kid."
"I expect great things from you kid" I gulped. Surely this time I had definitely heard wrong. Nobody, nobody had said those words to me.
"Shithead… Shithead... Shithead."
I felt myself shaking. "Thank you sir."
He smiled."First practice is Monday."
I nodded and walked slowly over to my brothers, still unable to comprehend this turn of events.
By this time, three faces had joined them. Two-bit Matthews raised an eyebrow. "So what'd he want kid?"
I looked down at my shoes. "Well?" Steve piped in.
I bit my lip. Soda put a hand on my shoulder. "Ponyboy?"
Slowly, I lifted my eyes to meet the small crowd. "I..I made the squad." I was met with five large smiles.
"That a boy Ponyboy."
"Way to go Curtis."
Johnny gave me a soft grin. "Good job."
Darry put a hand on my other shoulder. "I'm proud of you little buddy." I looked at my brother. He had given my first running shoes, taken me on my first run. Was that what brothers were for? I smiled at him.
My lips trembled. "Thanks Darry, for everything." He gave my shoulder a squeeze.
"Any time little buddy, any time."
That night, sitting at the dinner table I couldn't help but think this was the way life was meant to be. Soda and Dad were goofing around, keeping us all in stitches. I looked at my mother. She looked as if she wanted to interject but every time she was about to, lost her composure.
We were celebrating, something any normal family should be able to do. You cannot miss what you do not have but I cannot think of anything I could have wanted more than this. We may never be the family we were so many years ago but in some ways I think we are better for it. After so many years of being alone, separated from each other; so many years of wondering, of mourning, we were together.
I will never be the little boy who walked through the doors of Tulsa Memorial Hospital only to disappear of the face of the earth. Then again, nobody in this family is the same as they were back then. I took the long way there but I was finally hope, safe and happy. But most of all I was, I am loved. And that has made all the difference.
So here I say goodbye to a story that has taken me over a year to write. It is the longest piece I have written in any genre, fanfiction or original work. I am proud to say that this is a big accomplishment for me. I would like to thank all my reviewers. You have made all the difference to me.
I do not know if I will ever write a sequel to this story. I would like to but my sequels, like movies, do not seem to measure up to the original.
On that note, I have decided to give Respirations and Resuscitations up for adoption. I am stuck on this story and have lost some interest in it. If you are interested in adopting it just message me.
I have some great ideas in the future for other works and hope to post them soon. Thank you for taking time to read my fanfiction. Thank you again to all my reviewers. God Bless.