“I’m a runner,” I tell him. He thinks I mean the sport. Then he suggests we workout together sometime. I nod, but it’ll never happen. My Nikes have been in hibernation for the better part of two years. Oh, but I’m a runner.
And at least now he can’t say I didn’t warn him. When I pack my things and disappear overnight, maybe he’ll realize. Or when he calls my phone eighteen times before I finally pick up 800 miles away, maybe then when I tell him, “I’m a runner,” he will understand.
It’s not something that I enjoy doing; it’s not a trait I’m proud of. It was something passed down to me from the father I never met. I’m a coward. I run when things get bad. Hell, I run if things get too good. Everything scares me. And so I run. Sometimes I go in circles, and sometimes it’s a beeline to the edge of nowhere. Just anywhere but here.
So don’t be too worried about me. This is a game I’ve grown accustomed to. Just one big fight, one “meet the parents,” one secretive text message, or one “forever” that’s a little too sincere. Just one and I’m gone.
I told him I was a runner on the day that we met. I told him again when he kissed me. And one more time right before I started the car. “I’m a runner,” I whispered. “It’s in my blood.”