I could never catch up to her, and I never will.

There are matters in the world that cannot go on, and halt, completely unresolved. The world spins with little care—all is reserved for simply spinning, so it will and nothing can stop it. There is an axis, and there is an iris to ring around it.

There was a time when my friend was my rival, but only to me. And because of that, my body burned.

I was small and fast—yes, I!—I!—was once the possessor of speed. You could never tell that I had ever been so strong, and so athletic. And few know my past life.

We were young—she and I, we both were. We were young, we were tall, we were strong, we were fast. But she was always a step ahead of me, or maybe two. Perhaps three. Those steps could hardly be measured so specifically—if you can keep count of every step she takes up that mountain, and I following, stumbling. To think that today I can physically climb a mountain without breathing hard. It is almost an echo of our rivalry, as if I'm compensating for that year that will never resume.

Yes—a year.

Only a year—a long year, a year of sweat and tears—and fresh smiles.

We closed our hands—together and separate. Running down that green stretch, hurling down that blue-bound board.

Our sweat smothered the ground together, and our laughs wove together in the air.

Our yells slaked the silence's thirst for sound.

We were the oil and the water—rivaling one another, yet one always above—and yet always together.

And now I run in her footsteps, with only the phantoms haunting me as the world weighs me down—her motherly smile, her teasing speed. Because she was faster then, and must be now. I will run, and follow the dents in the ground until I reach their end—someday, even if I never again see her, solid and real, I will run past her; if only for a while, because she will always catch back up, give me that older-sister smile before disappearing ahead. And I will run, as I have always done, and I will never cease. Because she was my rival and my friend, and still my rival and friend—though a phantom, she is, forever, my rival, my sister, my friend.