William Wallace

The first day I was fully awake in Scotland, the house and our guests went on an outing. This particular group had a pair of brothers who had been molested by an uncle. Already disadvantaged by their poverty and a mom with little education, at six and seven, they were enough to break your heart just looking at them. The elder, let’s call him Will, had a wisdom to him, an aging way past his seven years. The younger, we’ll call him Wallace, was crawling out of his skin. I was prone to taking things seriously, more then than now, and the responsibility for making sure nothing awful happened to this collection of children weighed on me. So when Wallace took off, I ran after him. Will ran after me, and when he caught up, still running, he told me Wallace would stop if I stopped chasing. Seriously deficient in my lung capacity, I ground to an immediate and gasping halt. Sure enough, Wallace stopped too.

Somewhere, those two are pushing twenty, assuming they survived. Together, they taught me something valuable. If you want to be chased, run. If you are tired of chasing, stop running. It may sound like a trivial conclusion to draw from brothers who were subject to an unpardonable violation, but it is a lesson that goes deep.

Maybe the runner has good cause. Maybe the runner needs the opportunity, the agency to chose. Maybe the chaser needs a better paradigm too. We all have our reasons.

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William Wallace

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