“Think about it one last time, Nobu- san.”, said a solemn Satsuki. He had lost count of how many times his trainer had repeated this sentence. But he smiled every time. Even right then, standing on the 100m track beside young and competitive runners, this man with a rare heart condition, smiled.
Nobu knew that his own body was his nemesis, but his willpower was amaranthine. This track, the anticipating crowd and that finish line were all he knew, all he had. Let it take the last beat of his vulnerable heart, he had to get to the other end.
As the shot fired, his legs did what they had been trained to do for 29 years but he broke a sweat too early. “A little further!”, he screamed inward, to his soul.
His mouth felt dry, his lungs were empty but he could see it- the finish line, so close. Darkness creeped in from the corners of his vision. Did he make it?
When his senses opened a week later, he heard the beeping sound of machines trying to keep him alive. But what mattered was the sight of the medal sitting on the side table. A final smile found a way to his lips.
“Worth it.”- he repeated to himself till he reached equanimity.