It was a warm Thursday evening. The sun was high in the cloudless sky. The air was filled with the murmurings of cicadas and the singing of birds. A small bee colony hanged in the corner of the tiled roof where Matthew lived.
He was young, but living alone. His house was small but served its purpose well. Unlike most of his classmates, he chose this house outside the main town of Oxford. It was a 30-minute walk to the college, yes, but the quaint house had everything he needed. It was also the only one he could afford.
After waking up from a short nap, he went to the kitchen to serve himself a glass of water. He looked past the kitchen window to the green countryside, with its rolling hills and patches of forest. He felt a desire in his heart to run, and feel the wind pass his face -the feeling of freedom. He put on some running shorts, not bothering with a shirt, and put on his trusty old running shoes.
Over and under the English countryside he ran. Past the meadow of Mr. Green’s farm, up over the gardens of Mrs Wales, a twisting trail that Matthew had run so many times, he could do it blindfolded. He got to the turn of a large hillside beside a lake which marked the third mile. his was about halfway through his loop, before he could reach the road that would take him back home.
But Matthew stopped suddenly. There was a fence that blocked the field in front of him, tall and sturdy, it imposed its will across the landscape as if to say, “You cannot pass.” He looked to the left, and then the right; the fence extended as far as he could see. Saddened but still determined, he trotted closer to the fence. It had sharp, razor wire lines that went up about six feet high. This was a recently put in place -it wasn’t there the previous weekend, and the steel was still smooth and shiny. Matthew looked for a way to get around the fence, or find a weakness in it that he could exploit.
He walked for a few minutes in one direction, then turned to the other direction. He started jogging up the hill, hoping to find some hole or failing in the fence. About half a mile below, he saw a small brook crossing beneath the fence, with a small ravine that he could probably get through.
Mathew ran down like the wind towards the brook. The water was stagnant and green with algae. He dipped himself into the shallow stream and went under the fence. He came up, but a stray piece of wire cut him slightly in the shoulder. He quickly climbed up to solid ground and checked his shoulder, there were a few drops of blood in his hand. It didn’t matter though, he got to the other side, just as he desired.
He started again with his run, now striding faster than before. His shoes made noises when he stepped, his calfs had strains of green algae and his shorts were dripping wet. His shoulder was bleeding slightly, causing him discomfort as he swayed his arms back and forth. It didn’t matter.
Matthew kept running along the English countryside, feeling the wind past his face and freedom in his heart. There would never be a wall to conquer him.