I run away because I am afraid. This is what you would tell her if you had the guts to call her at 1 in the morning as you cry and drag on the stale St. Moritz cigarette you found in your wardrobe. You are not afraid of making her safe like you swore you would, not afraid of loving her, not afraid of the sacrifices she agreed to make. You are afraid, it just might work.
The bag is still in your kitchen where she left it, where she stuffed the remaining parts of you that were in her life. The swimming trunks you brought to go swimming with but left in her room that last weekend, your scrapbook, your red t-shirt that shrinks every time you wash it, the blue cigarette lighter that has a torch by the side, two condoms, the extra keys to your house and her deep blue bed sheet which she wanted to let you have because it fit your bed perfectly. Fuck. That last one is what made you first break down and cry. The bed sheet. Her bed sheet. Your hands are trembling as you rummage through the bag half hoping she left you a note. Something. Something to say: I know you are just being the ass that you are. Stop fooling around and come home.
She didn’t need to say anything. The bed sheet speaks loudly, haunts you. It reminds you of how she packs your bag very neatly every time you need to travel. Of her sweet incoherent sounds when she wakes up, disoriented. Of how she calls you baby. You grab the bed sheet, hold it to your face, your hands trembling, and cry. But your tears mean nothing, will mean nothing even if she had run into you when she was dropping the bag. It will mean nothing because no one can be expected to handle so much pain and keep running back.
You had told her to bin your things so you wouldn't have to see her to exchange personal effects. This is what you do when you run- you are too much of a coward to even say goodbyes. She said she would. But she brought it all. Every last item of yours in her house. You knew when you saw the bag, this was no fucking joke. You'd gone mad again.
Maybe you should have known you would do this- keep pushing her away- when she would complain in the morning that you kicked her away in your sleep. When subconsciously you turned away from her, most nights when you slept. When you ran away from her that first time. Because this is you: you are addicted to running.
You run because you are making up for lost time. For all the years you tried to run but couldn’t move because common sense wouldn’t let you run away from home and get stranded on the streets. Maybe you should’ve run then and get it out of your system; maybe you would have got all the scars that come from running unprepared and then become sensible and stop running especially when it matters the most. You do not know. You cannot know if packing a bag to flee the trauma at home would have made you stay, now that it matters.
The stale cigarette burns out quickly because of the fan blowing directly at you. It makes you nauseous, the damn thing, and now you want real cigarettes- Dunhill Switch- the only cigarette you can stand smoking. But you have quit and have none. And it is 2 o’clock in the morning. Fuck! A cockroach crawls slowly, almost tauntingly, toward the bathroom door. You pick up your brown shoes and aim for it. You miss it the first, second and third time. The fourth time, you stop, bend close to it in the corner of the room where it has run to and strike. It falls flat on its back. Dead. She bought you those shoes. It kills you, to see her hands bring out the shoes from the bag when she came back from holidays. It kills you to hear her voice ask if you like it. It fucking kills you.
The electricity goes off and suddenly the whole room is stuffy with stale tobacco smoke. You think, shit! You feel tears welling up in your eyes. Suddenly you feel like a fraud- how the hell do you think she feels, she who had to hear the words from you, who had to feel you push her again, and again. One tear drops and you wipe it angrily. You do not deserve to have the relief that crying brings.
She hates the heat. You remember waking up, finding her pacing about the room. When you were sure it wasn’t an emergency, you ignored her and went back to sleep. In the morning and every week after that, you made fun of her. You hands begin to tremble and you pick up a nail cutter from the manicure set on the table and start filing your nails. You stop when images of her fingers and feet and the last time you helped her apply nail polish flood your mind.
The rain starts to fall. You feel trapped. You can’t run now, even if you wanted to be crazy and walk out at this time of the night. You are stuck here and everything reminds you what a complete asshole you are. She agreed the day you begged her, never to let you run again, the day after the first time you tried to run. She said she would, but added calmly that she would not keep holding on if you pushed her away. You wish for once she was stubborn and grabbed you by the shirt and made you sit until your spell of madness passed. Until you came to your senses and swore that you didn’t mean to- run from the one thing that came made for you. But no one should have to run after another person so much, you know this, in spite of all your madness.
You cannot remember now, why you freaked out and broke all your promises to her, even when she said she forgave your indiscretions, even when it was you who should have been chasing, begging, asking for forgiveness. Perhaps you realized it was real, and this was it, when she forgave you and said she loved you unconditionally.
Your chest hurts. You wish you could explain it: I run away because I am afraid. You are afraid to think it is possible. That you deserve it. That anyone can love you, unconditionally.