The narrator of the short story “Walk Don’t Run” by Douglas Bruton is a 14-year-old girl named Julia. She is named after her grandmother (ll. 7-8), and her family says she also looks like her mother and grandmother when they were her age (ll. 84-86). She has an older boyfriend named Johnny whom she meets at the café. On weekends, her parents pay her to take care of her grandmother and clean up at her house (ll. 76-77).
The narrator is young and inexperienced. In many ways, she is still a child. Her description of her grandmother suggests her childish outlook on life: she compares her grandmother’s fingers with “the curled legs of dead spiders (…) and skin dark, like old wood” (ll. 16-17). The comparisons are simplistic and suggest her lack of experience or understanding of human development.
The narrator has mixed feelings about sexual intimacy, as we can see from how she talks about Johnny: “Johnny puts his tongue in my mouth sometimes. It does not make me sick. And once, his hand was under my blou...