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Lost Dreams -- Fiction Writers Group Flash Fiction 200314

This week's 300-word flash fiction prompt is:

My piece is someone else's memoir. The sport is different, but the rest is truth

Lost Dreams

I’ve lived my life in a kayak. Or at least it seems that way. Perhaps a better word would be “wasted,” though. I entered, and won, my first race when I was six years old, and for the next fifteen years, I won race after race—local, state, and national. My senior year in college, a momentary lapse in concentration landed me in second place, costing me the National Championship. As huge a disappointment as that was, however, it at least qualified me for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. I may have missed my shot at collegiate glory, but an Olympic gold medal had been my goal all along, anyway.

That winter and spring was a blur. I trained every morning and put my life on hold preparing for that one shot at history. Then the damned Soviets invaded some out-of-the-way place most of us had never heard of. The only response our do-nothing government could dream up was to boycott the Moscow Olympics.

I mean, really. How did stealing the dreams of athletes who dedicated their lives to a single

goal in any way hurt the Russians? They were probably glad their chief rivals in so many sports weren’t there. After all these decades, it still doesn’t make sense to me.

I still paddle out her by myself when I can get away from friends and family. The competitive fire that powered so many early morning practices has burned down to a glowing ember now. But, there are times out here alone, flying across the lake, with my breath coming in ragged gasps, that I feel the weight of gold around my neck, and I hear the band playing that song.

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