Exhausted, frightened and overwhelmed, I walk up to Christian’s door lugging a bag of groceries, a plant, and the suitcase I’m still living out of.  I open the door with my key and he looks surprised to see me; after not sleeping last night I guess I forgot to tell him.  I explain that we kind of had a fight, that I didn’t sleep.

I trudge down the hall with my suitcase to the little room where I stay sometimes.  I draw the curtain and climb into the narrow cot with my weighted blanket.  I check one more time to see that there is no text from Kevin* and fight back tears, then angrily switch my phone to airplane mode, then think better of it and change it to night mode–because actually, I do want to wake up if he calls.  It is 5 pm.

I sleep for about 12 hours and wake in the morning darkness anxious, wondering why he hasn’t called and whether this relationship is doomed.  I remember the feeling of his hand stiffening against me and begin to hyperventilate.  I coax myself to breathe.  I think about how I’ll see my therapist today, how it will be time to run soon.  My alarm goes off; it is 6 am.  I look at my text messages just in case–nothing.  Cold and distraught, I put on the fuzzy bathrobe my parents sent me last Christmas and find my toiletry bag to go to the bathroom.

Then I stand at my friend’s door in the dark and whisper; “Christian?”

“Uhh?” He sounds tired.  I have woken him–but he doesn’t mind being woken up to run with me.

“Do you want to run?”

“Uh-huh.”  I tell him he has ten minutes while I meditate.  I didn’t meditate yesterday.  I was so distressed and disoriented that I genuinely forgot, which hasn’t happened in 279 days.  I know; I have an app.

I keep steadying my breathing as my fears about not being loved and my frenzied problem-solving conversations rise to the surface.  I stay calm and lay there, and then I get up and sit on the floor beside my running shoes and crumble, my face in my hands.  I feel needy and terrified.  I miss Kevin*.  I don’t understand what’s happening with him and it’s scaring the hell out of me.  I’m not sure I can get through my run, never mind the whole day.  I choke back sobs and try to calm myself down.  When I think I can stand I call for Christian.

We discuss the workout I have planned and what part of that is appropriate given his training volume–then we go out into the cold, dark morning.  Running with my friend at my side, I talk about what’s happened.  Christian makes some guesses about what’s driving Kevin’s* behavior–all stuff I’ve thought of already but don’t have any answers about.  Eventually we leave it.

We run a crooked oblong through the woods and back, and when my Garmin sounds we take off faster into the final quarter of a DUSA progression run.  I pull easily ahead but can hear my friend not far behind as I eye the Garmin and consider whether I can sustain 7:00/mile for 15 minutes.  I decide to try.  As we near his place I see that we’ve been going the 5 minutes Christian intended and call out to him.  He splits off toward his place and I continue past, little flickering spots in my vision.  I’m fatigued now and pushing to keep pace.  By myself, I feel defeated and then I think about how I still haven’t heard from my boyfriend.  Then I want to die and my speed falls off precipitously.  I’m struggling to lift my feet.  I hate everything.  I’m so sad.  I glance at my Garmin and see 9:43.

Oh, fuck that.  Now I’m angry.  I’m angry at my boyfriend for not communicating and I’m angry that I feel so sad and vulnerable.  My nostrils flare and I bare my teeth a little, touching my unexpressed anger.  I pull with my arms and dig deep to prove to myself that I can keep going.  I hear my cadence accelerating.  My eyes narrow with determination.  Go, Laura, I encourage myself, go!  I glance at my Garmin.  7:18; that’s just fine.  I keep driving ahead, and with a minute left I pick up the pace again, giving everything I have.

Walking back, I think I will try again reaching out to my boyfriend who is usually a skillful communicator.  I will not turn away; I want to give everything I have.

*Name has been changed.

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