By MARIA COLUCCIO
Published: April 24, 2012
Excerpt from Performing & Telling Your Life
Cast of Characters
A young runner
Runner’s Path in Central Park
ACT I – Scene 1
MARIA stands before the audience, dressed in a pair of running shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers.
They say everyone has a story to tell. A tale of how they’ve gotten to this point in life, an experience that has made them who they are today. These stories come in all shapes and sizes, from fairytale to horror stories, told at bedtimes or around campfires. Well, I’d like to tell you mine, in the best way I know how.
It begins with an alarm clock, blaring loudly at 6 a.m. While my peers spend their Saturday mornings sleeping in, I’m out of bed and lacing up my sneakers. Work-out clothes, water bottle and iPod. I’m ready to begin one of many long morning runs that will prepare me for the next big race.
I mindlessly weave my way through crowds of bustling people, avoiding tourists and darting around that obnoxious hand-holding-couple couple that takes up the entire sidewalk.
Once I reach the runner’s path in Central Park, I slip my headphones on over my head and start my iPod. I can’t start without my music. (She puts on her headphones as she says this) Track One: “Once Upon A Time In New York City” by Huey Lewis.
(The song begins to play softly in the background. A video image of the foliage in Central Park fills the screen to accompany the music and plays throughout the remainder of the monologue.)
Every day my long run begins with this song. It’s far from the most heart pumping, energizing, tune in my playlist, but it is definitely the most motivating. It signals my feet to start their lazy shuffling and begin the long trek ahead.
My legs move unconsciously through an all too familiar routine. Right foot, left foot, inhale, exhale, and the process repeats. It’s the most basic yet complex activity I’ve ever encountered. As my body falls into this rhythmic pattern, it frees my mind to wander. Everyone has an escape: Running is mine. Huey Lewis’s soothing voice brings me back to my childhood, the reason why I’m pounding the pavement of New York City. Rounding the corner, my pace increases and brain works faster. Instead of seeing other runners, cyclist and trees, I see a couch and television.
The VHS is playing. The Disney movie “Oliver and Company” is on. This song. Years and years of this song and that movie. When I was a child, it was the only song I’d ever sing. I was glued to the television, watching that tape until the VHS player was sure to break. I became obsessed with this small cat and his tale in the big city. Captivated by the images across the screen: menacing limos, bustling buses and cabs, sweeping cityscapes and a gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge. Living on Long Island, all of these sites were mysterious and alluring to me.
I have always been that girl who gets lost in her head. I read too much. I dream too much. I live in the “what ifs” of life. New York City is the place where I could do this. Similar to Oliver, I needed to chase own dreams on the streets of Manhattan. Quite literally. New York City may seem like a cold dreary place to some, but to me, it’s a whole world, and finish line.
When it came to choosing a college, I had no choice but to make the transition from houses, grass and Mother Nature to apartments, subways and sirens. Now that I’m here, I have a new dream to accomplish. The New York City Marathon.
The song is nearing an end. My heart is pumping, lungs pounding against my chest. I’m warmed up, motivated and ready. When the time comes, 26.2 miles. I can do it. With Huey’s help, of course.
Keep your dream alive
Dreaming is still how the strong survive
Once upon a time in New York City
Track Two: …Well, that’s a story for another time.