One foot in front of the other. Thump. Thump. The road stretches out before me, on and on into the distance, but it may as well not be there. I am not looking at the road. I am concentrating on the rhythm of my feet, the movement of my legs, my heart pounding so hard I can taste it in my mouth. My mouth is dry, my head a little dizzy, but nothing matters except channelling the anger and the frustration into laying each step on the road, pummelling the ground for some unknown sin which must be punished by feet which need to be as far away from here as possible.
It's over. You said that it's over. It's been over for a few months, and I know the reasons why it needed to be over, but I still don't want to let you go.
I don't know why I run here. Every road leads to you. Every path that I take crosses yours. I cannot escape you. In about two minutes, I will reach the road where you live. About five minutes after that I will reach the road which curves around the place where you work. You always seemed to be in one place or the other. I am no longer aware of what you do in these places; what you do in your spare time, the women that you bring home – if any – or how many hours above and beyond your job description you are working. I will dwell on these things, run past the place where you are, and then I will carry on running until there is no more breath in my body, until my fingers and toes grow numb and cease to a part of me, until my heart pounds itself into oblivion and someone comes to take my lifeless body away. I must run until either you or I no longer exist. It is the only way left to me.
Tears are streaming down my face. I tell myself it must be from the wind buffeting around me as I pound ever onwards. I try not to think about you any more. I thought I came out here to forget you, but you are everywhere, all the time. Soon your house and your office are behind me and I feel a little sigh of relief that I have not seen you. Perhaps today I will run until you are gone, and then I can carry on. Carry on with whatever my life was before you were in it. I barely remember. All I know is how my heart sped up when you were near, how I zoned out everyone else sometimes because my skin felt as if it were on fire, responding to you even though we were not touching. I hate myself for the effect you have on me. I have never been controlled by anyone before, but you... without asking, without even wanting, you have me. I am disgusted that I am no longer my own, no longer a person, just reduced to a desire that only you can fulfil.
My car is just a few more metres away. I have run my whole circuit without even noticing. I stop and walk the rest, my chest sore and my heart aching. I break into sobs, unable to contain my grief any longer. It will never be over. I can run to escape, but I only ever find myself drawn back to you.
My legs stumble as I reach my car because I have pushed myself too hard. I kneel on the ground by the boot of my car; sweaty, cold and tired, crying and crying, trying to forget you, trying to remember that I was a person once, that I don't need you. A hand on my shoulder. My face is buried in my hands, I'm not looking to see who it is. What could some passer by do to help me? I hear the rustle of jeans as the stranger kneels by me. I slow my sobbing, but I still don't want to look. I can't face someone's sympathy when the only person I have to blame for my pain is myself. Fingers gently take my hands and pull them from my face. I gaze up at... you. Why are you here? Why now, after all this time?