At that moment he wished he had attended the gym as much as the pub lately. His side hurt. His lungs hurt. He tried to forget about his body and just keep running. But then his heart also hurt. And his brain, from thinking about her. Her crying. The door slamming. And how long it took him to get up and run after her.
Maybe it was too late. In fact, it hadn’t really come as a surprise. He was perfectly aware things weren’t the same anymore. And that’s exactly what she said. She said he had changed. He hadn’t disagreed. But he had thought about it better. He now wanted to show her she was wrong. So he ran. He ran past all the shops and cafes, the little backgrounds of their life together. He ran for her, because he hadn’t really changed. Maybe it was her who had changed.
She was the one who had given up easy. She had said the most terrible things as he had sat there unable to move. Frustrated by his indifference she had grabbed her bags and left. She must have packed before, she was gone in what seemed like seconds. He blamed her. He had to stop her and tell her. Tell her that he wasn’t giving up. No. So he could not stop running. Even as he felt the sides of his head pounding every time his feet hit the floor. He was almost there.
He tripped and fell on his hands. Passer-by’s gasped, not knowing whether it would be wrong to laugh. But he didn’t even notice, just got up and kept running. He was already at the bookstore. She had worked there, that’s how they met. The first time he had talked to her, he had walked her to the bus stop after the shop closed. It was only a few minutes walk. So he was almost there. He ran faster, he could still catch up. Such a short distance, that’s all it had taken to fall in love with her. He couldn’t let that same distance be the reason he lost her.
He finally got there, just in time to see the bus disappearing down the road. He bent down, panting. It was too late. She was right, it was over and it was time to move on. It had been stupid of him to think he still had a chance. Running after her had been like desperately reaching for air when you know you’re already drowning. Disappointment and regret mixed with the feeling exhaustion. No one was to blame. Love had slowly faded between them, just like the glow of the bus taillights in the distance.