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"The Way" by Laura Stamps

Sharon is a runner. Everyone has a thing they do. That’s her thing. The minute she gets out of bed in the morning she goes for a run. But today Sharon’s body refuses to cooperate. She finishes the first mile, and it still seems as though she’ll never wake up. Past the Nelson’s house, past the corner grocery store, the playground, the elementary school, up Granby’s Hill, and around the parking lot at the recreation center. Every step feels like she’s slogging through thick mud. But at least nothing hurts this morning. No tight Achilles tendon to shake out. No shin splints or aching hamstring. At least there’s that. Still, she’s slogging, slogging, slogging. And then. It happens. With no warning. Zap! Every cell in her body snaps to attention, the grogginess vanishes, and she’s fully alert. Just like that. Just like last week in the company cafeteria. She was on her lunch break, scrolling through LinkedIn, when she saw an article about the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, a philosopher she’d never read before. According to Aurelius, the obstacle we face is actually the way out of our current problem. The obstacle is the solution. The way out. And then. It happened. With no warning. Zap! Every cell in her body snapped to attention, and she knew Aurelius was right, that the latest disaster her alcoholic husband had created to traumatize her life was not the last disaster, but one of many to come, that his disasters would continue again and again and again, like they had for the last seven years, that nothing would change, even though he promised it would, again and again and again, but it never did and never would, that this disaster was not just another stressful situation to survive, but her way out of a dead-end marriage. The obstacle, this disaster, was the solution. And it was. And this time she knew it. The way out. Hers. And this time she took it. Just like that.

Laura Stamps is the author of several novels, short story collections, and poetry books, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press), THE YEAR OF THE CAT (Artemesia Publishing), and IN THE GARDEN (The Moon). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16. Website:


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