by Abhinav Kukreja
‘I’m a runner’ I’ll tell her. She’ll think I meant the sport. Then she’ll suggests that we workout together sometime. I’ll greet the request with an accommodating smile, but it’ll never happen. My sports shoes have been in hibernation for the better part of a year. But nevertheless, I’m a runner.
At least now she won’t say that I didn’t forewarn her. When she wakes up lonesome, maybe she’ll realize. Or when she calls me two dozen times, and I finally pick up to reiterate ‘I’m a runner’, perhaps, she’ll fathom.
It’s not something that I’m proud of; it’s not something that I enjoy doing. It’s something that I’ve developed over time. I’m a coward. I run when things get bad. Heck, I run if things get too good. I don’t care where I run off. It doesn’t have to have a purpose. Just anywhere but here.
So don’t be too worried when you feel the grip of my hand loosen, and you’re forced to take solitary walks around the boulevard we first kissed on. Don’t be too worried when you begin to forget my phone number, and then slowly my voice, till I’m just an echo of what you wanted me to be. Don’t be scared of the Déjà vu, when I slowly become, for the second time, the pre-conceived notions you had of me.
I’m accustomed to this. One big conflict, one surprise bouquet, or one ‘forever’ that’s a little too sincere, and I’ll be gone. I’ll tell her that the first day we meet. I’ll tell her again when she’ll hug me for the first time. And finally, I’ll say it for the last time, right before I would twist the keys to my car, and step on the gas. ‘I’m a runner’ I’ll hush. ‘I’m accustomed to it’