Monday, September 20, 2004


Have you ever met someone that disappeared before you touched them? They might’ve taken you right to edge but turned back just seconds before you jumped. You might just have encountered a runner… someone who knows the road to heaven but comes back without having knocked on the door. Of course there is a valid reason for her behaviour! Maybe she didn’t want to disturb the inhabitants, arguing that she’d arrived at an improper hour or even that she was sure that there was nobody home because all the curtains had been shut. Whatever the excuse, it will definitely be acceptable and understandable to the person she’s justifying herself too.

Never getting sick of meeting new people, I was surprised to find this runaway in a group of friends of a less restricted and non-conservative nature. You wouldn’t recognise her at first because of the confident way she carries herself. Almost unawares of the interest placed on her, she talked and danced freely. The fact that she would dance with almost anyone who got close to her made it almost impossible to identify her runaway nature, but if you observed closely there were hints that gave her away. Like the fact that she wouldn’t look into the eyes of the men she danced with or that she put distance between them each time they began coming too close. Although it only fired up surrounding efforts, she would be leaving the dance floor the same way she got on… unaccompanied.

A runaway isn’t a professional tease. She’s a woman that runs from her heart’s desires and through a pool of tears she told me her story:

Last night all I really cared for was dancing. Having a great time with my friends was my only objective and as usual, although I kept an eye out for good-looking guys, I wasn’t interested in meeting any of them. For a while now, my friends had been hinting that a good friend of mine was interested in a little more than just a friendly relationship with me. I was surprised that he’d even noticed me that way and left with the confusing question of whether or not I wanted the same thing. He wasn’t particularly good looking but he had deep blue, caring eyes and an amazing smile. He had many similar interests to mine and I knew that a relationship with him would be something lasting. A woman just knows when a man is worth it. There might be guys that you have doubts with, but with some, you just know that they’ll treat you the way you deserve. My stomach knotted with butterflies and with the help of surrounding encouragement, I attempted to get to know him just a little better. As the evening wore on, I discovered that he had interesting conversation and an amazing sense of humour. I couldn’t believe that he was such great company and found myself wanting to discover the taste of his lips. Being responsible for taking a drunken friend home, I accompanied him to his apartment where his friend would sleep off his condition on his couch. It was only in the privacy and silence of his apartment that suddenly my senses began ringing with warning bells. At first I told myself to relax and go with the flow but eventually I began convincing myself that I was tired and really needed to take a cab home. Responding to his silent plea, I sat next to him and put my head on his shoulder listening to his racing heartbeat. The tension almost snapped with what seemed like an eternity of silence under his arm and just as I was about to announce my departure he suggested that I stay the night. Afraid that I’d choke, I nodded, telling myself that it was insane to walk home at six in the morning. I got into the strange bed and swallowed hard when I got no response to the question of where he would be sleeping. It wasn’t that I was afraid of sex or that I wasn’t capable but I wasn’t too sure that I wanted to go all the way, nor was I certain about the consequences. In fact, I wasn’t even sure that I really wanted to find out what his kiss was like. With immense patience he moved closer and stopped just close enough so that I could feel him breathing. I began talking to ease the tension. Robbed of all intelligent conversation, I told him about my plant called Julie and suggested that she was worried about me and that I should go home. He laughed and humoured my tension by continuing the talk. The care in his eyes and delicacy in his touch did nothing to relieve my tension and I was afraid that I’d start crying when he ran his fingers through my hair. It was on the moment that he put his hand on my waist that I bolted. Naturally I was careful in leaving with courtesy, not leaving any tension between the two as if my going home was the obvious conclusion to the evening. But the minute I closed the apartment door behind me, I ran out the building faster than you can say “go”. Relief mixed with regret was all the adrenalin I needed to get me home and once I got there I sat and cried for no reason. That’s just me… I’m a professional runaway.

Professional therapy? Nah, that’s not exactly what our friend needs. We all runaway from something. Some people run from themselves, others from their past, many from change; our friend just happens to run from her deepest desires. The desire to be touched and loved is so deep that she simply will not trust it with just anyone. And so before getting hurt… she runs. On the following day, she encountered him again as if nothing had happened. They smiled and joked and didn’t touch on the subject of the night before. On this particular day another friend of hers took advantage of his massages and the careful way he stroked her hair while they watched a movie. I could see the inner fight inside our runaway. She watched knowing perfectly well, that the seat next to him was hers to take if she wanted it. The want and unwanted flashed in her head and pure torture is what she put herself through, unnoticed by everyone else. She wanted so badly to be held and caressed but would without a doubt bolt for the door if he attempted to do just that.

How to overcome the fear? Therapy couldn’t possibly do the mind work that she requires to do on her own to overcome her problem. Otherwise, it’s going to have to take one very determined man with a strong personality to grab her before she has a chance to run. Either way, it seems like only love can fuel either option if not both. No other reason seems strong enough to encourage the change. I suppose love is the only darn good reason to turn in your running shoes.

No comments: