Like the previous two nights-before-a-run, I tossed and turned all night, overcome with anxiety. How did I get suckered into this crazy realtionship? You know it is not healthy when
- you can't sleep and you actually have nightmares (the moon coming alive like a person and speeding past you taunting “you're the worst runner, ever”, anyone?);
- you won't admit that you are secretly scared of the dark;
- being around them makes you want to throw up;
- you dread seeing them;
- you make excuses not to see them;
- you would definitely prefer a hot-fudge sundae to every laying eyes on a pair of running shoes again.
We met at our usual time: o’-dark-thirty. I approached Nicole, Jill, and Brianna as I was still rubbing sleep out of my eyes. They were perky as usual (how much coffee can one actually ingest before a jog?). They were so cheerful and in the dark (literally) about our relationship, so I decided to wait until the end of the run before breaking the news. At the very least, I could get one more work-out in.
I gathered my (flickering) courage and said, “I think we shouldn’t see each other anymore.” What I really meant was, I think I should see my pillow a lot more.
“What?” said Nicole, shocked, “I mean, why? I thought you were having fun! I thought we were having fun! This is completely out of left field!”
Brianna interrupted, “Yeah, this was great! Why would you want out?”
Unlike my feet, my mind was racing. I stammered, “I, uh, uh......it’s not you, it’s me,” even though I knew it was a cliché, even though I knew it was not true: it was them.
I continued, “It’s just……well, I think we have different needs,” as in, their need for waking up at 5 AM and my (silly/ unnecessary/ selfish) need for sleep.
“But we were just getting to know each other!” added Jill, a little too quickly (the phrase “misery loves company” again sprang to mind).
“I know, I know, you guys are great. Honest. I just feel like, well, we are at different places in our lives……..” my voice trailed off. The rest of my thought was: you like to run, and I like to press the snooze button and go back to sleep (to finish my fun dream about angry moons chasing me).
Nicole said (with a touch of desperation in her voice) “That’s okay, we understand. It’s fine. Hey! We can still run together on week-ends! We can run at 6 or even 7 AM if it's a week-end!” This, as we all know, is the equivalent of “we can still be friends”. Uh, no, we can’t. I am breaking up with you, dear Jogging Club, as much as I love you and respect you and want to be like you, I am just not ____________ (insert name of famous runner here, Carl Somebody? See, how pathetic I am? I don’t even know the name of the runners I should be inspired by).
Then Jill had a brilliant idea, “You know, we can get together in the spring,” why, Jill, is that Prom? “you can run with us at 5 AM because it will already be light out. That makes a big difference.” (Is she psychic? Does she see right through my fear of the dark?)
“Sure, Jill, sure. That sounds like a great idea. I have your email and your cell number, I'll call you.”
And just like that, I won’t.
(“Misery Or Vigor”)
Disclaimer to the wonderful Jogging Club who could very well be reading this: you guys are great. I am just making fun of the situation and myself and if I didn’t work nights at the high-end kitchen store, I would totally be committed to running with you. Really. Call me.