Keep Running

By Raph al Guul

They told you that if you faced your fears, you’d overcome them. They told you that you held the solution all along. Mhm. Of course. What an outlandish thought that some problems in this world could be beyond your influence. Anything life throws at you, you can handle. Like that time when they ran out of blueberries at the grocery store. You just got blueberry yoghurt instead. Life’s easy when you’re smart – and as long as all the problems you’re facing are really tiny.

But when the day comes when you’re unemployed, you’re homeless, your entire family dies in a plane crash, your husband is cheating on you, and to round it all up, it’s also raining cats and dogs, it might get a little bit too much to face. The questions start rolling in one by one, like what are you doing wrong, what kind of a god would let this happen, and how on earth is your homeless, unemployed husband getting laid? Eventually, confrontation just becomes a large pile of questions that you won’t be able to answer; be that because there’s no master plan or cosmic balance, or because god has been really, really quiet these last few centuries, or because your husband won’t talk to you even if you offered him all the butterscotch candy he could eat.

All these thoughts will eventually end up solidifying into one simple, almost disappointing idea in your mind: you’d have to run. When facing irresistible force, the last thing you want to do is remain an immovable object. And you know that it sounds like a bad idea, sure. They’ll really miss you down at the soup kitchen. There’s a tiny little voice in your head that tells you that someone, just one person here, must be relying on you. But then there’s that gigantic voice next to it that points out that if that were true, you probably wouldn’t have been living under a bridge for the past six years. So after a while of proverbially wrapping your head around these thoughts, a bit of procrastination, and a tuna sandwich, you finally get moving.

The usual mistake, the one that everybody makes at first, is to go on the run without actually running. It is slightly surprising that one would “go on the run” – even the expression itself indicates that it involves speed – while trying to take it slow. But of course life just keeps catching up with you over and over again until you figure out what you’re doing wrong. Maybe you’ll first try different shades or a hat, but soon enough you’ll get to the real problem. When they don’t even have the blueberry yoghurt in stock anymore, or when the catalyst for your husband’s infidelity waves at you in the driveway – that’s when you know you’re not moving fast enough, although, to be fair, you couldn’t afford the yoghurt anyway.

This is where you pick up the pace. You have to outrun everybody and everything else. At this speed you are constantly in a new place; the past remains somewhere else and this way you keep it entirely separate from the present. But you know as well as everybody else that you’ll just end up falling flat on your face sooner or later.

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