She Ran

“I’m just warning you, this is the point where I start pulling away.”

When she told me that I thought, “I’m the king of pulling away and not getting too close, I can handle this. Just give it time and it will all shake out how I want it to.” So far, it has not. She pulled away, I pressed and made my intentions known that I wanted to get to know her more. I wanted to get to know her on a one on one level instead of drunk nights with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I liked us all hanging out and was having a ton of fun but for whatever reason I was drawn to her and wanted to get to know her on a more personal level. This is actually very unusual for me.

The last time I saw her she was literally running away from my friend and me. She and her friend got to their Uber and she, what seemed like was out of guilt, walked back five steps and looked at me standing on the curb perplexed and said simply “Bye Dayton.”

The conversation that led to that fleeing moment was spurred after I looked at her and said I could not figure her out and that I liked hanging out with her and would like to do it more. “Why me” she asks. “You could have any girl in this place, why me?”

“I don’t want the other girls, I like you.” was my simple response. It didn’t work.

She goes on with, “What do we even have in common? I like to be social and bounce around and have fun. I’m seeing other people and I hope you are too. Matter of a fact I have a date to a wedding this weekend. I don’t know how you would do in a situation like that. You should be more confident. You are a catch why wouldn’t you be more confident.”

This is where I get defensive because I know I am a quiet person. I don’t like to be the center of attention. But I love to be social and have fun. It just looks different with me. I know I am a good looking guy but I don’t want to be known as that good looking guy that is a good time. I would rather someone have a real conversation with me and walk away thinking that I am genuine and intelligent and probably not what they thought I was at first glance. It is almost like I put myself in a catch 22 all the time. I don’t want to be that obnoxious outgoing person because I don’t want to be a douche bag. So instead, I’m the quiet person that comes across as an asshole. I want to be known for my mind and my heart but I won’t speak it often enough for someone to get to know it. It does not make sense and I know this. I often think that my mind is not right.

Oh the frustration in that moment. The loss of words. I just want to scream “If this is how you see me then you don’t know me at all. If this is how you see me then that is all the more reason that we should try to see each other in a different way so we can get to know each other.”

I don’t want to be the former frat guy hanging out at the meat market bar. Do I get along with those guys, yes. Do I enjoy a lot of them, yes. I am not hating on it. Some of my best friends are those people. That is just not me. Congratulations, you know more people at the popular bar for 20 somethings… I have news for you, I’m not 20 something anymore. I don’t want to talk about how much money I made selling commercial insurance last month or the Dave Matthews Concert I saw last week. I saw Dave enough times ten years ago before Tim Reynold’s cheesy ass electric guitar got added to the mix. I still like the music but my tastes have expanded. I listen to weird indie music. I listen to old soul music, classic country, Jazz. My favorite songs by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones were never hits. I like black and white movies. I like books that are filled with emotion, life meaning, and conviction. I love people. I love people with tattoos. I love gay people. I love people who do drugs. I love people who sit at the same bar everyday when they get off work because that is their way to unwind from the day. I love these people because they are the people that are not ashamed that they don’t have this whole life thing figured out. I like them because I am one of them, I don’t have this shit figured out.

I can put on the show and show people that I ‘have my shit together.’ To most people I do. I have a fantastic job, nice truck, house, friends, and even a dog I love and take care of. I have family members who call my life charmed. It’s a compliment from them. One of them thinks good shit just falls in my lap over and over again. I do get put in great situations but it’s not all luck. First off it is God’s plan. Second, I work my ass off at whatever I do. Third, I’m a really good listener and learner. Fourth, I try to set my ego aside when dealing with people.

I want to know why someone acts the way they do and how they ended up in the position they are in. I think people and relationships with them is the most valuable thing we have in this short life. So, why waste time with the small talk with ten people when I could have a real conversation with two or three people. Maybe it is just the way I am wired.

I say all this defensively because I am social and I connect with people well and love to do it. Am I going to start the dance ring at the wedding, probably not. But I will strut my ass down the line when it comes to my turn. I say all this defensively because this is also where I am the most insecure in myself.

 

In the five seconds that all these thoughts were going through my head, she ran. She ran. She ran. She ran. Me, left in her tracks with my friend asking “Dude, what did you say?”

“I have no fucking clue” is all I could say. Because I didn’t.

And then she was gone. The date I had asked her on for the next night was canceled. I have just bounced around this conversation that we had at a busy bar after too many drinks in my head over and over again. I know that conversation was not the problem, I think. She had warned me about pulling away and that it was coming. I ignored the warning and thought that I would overcome it. In the most arrogant way that I can say it, I have had a girl walk away like that only one other time and she came back the next day and apologized and we went out a couple times. I’m not much of anything special but I can usually get a date, an actual real date out of somebody. Not this one though and it drives me nuts. Matter of a fact, it might be the only reason I want to take her on a date now, because she ran.

 

I’m going to get off course here for a little bit now because there are some things I need to air out before I start letting you know how filthy of a person I am. First off, I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and descended from Heaven, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as punishment for the sins of those who believe in Him, and defeated death and Satan when he rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God our Creator. I believe this with all my heart. I believe this with all my heart yet I doubt it every single day. I question it every single day.

To steal something from “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken when he refers to love, I would like to use the metaphor for hearing God. This is a paraphrase that will get butchered because I am too lazy to look it up in the book. ‘Someone in the jungle might hear a hyena and think it is a lions roar, but when that same person in the jungle hears a lions roar, they know it is a lion.’ I feel the same way about our faith. You may hear a call and it could be right on, but when God speaks to your heart, you know. God’s voice is scary as shit and I run away from it. This is a different story all together.

Anyways, this knowing God calling me to Him is how I know I believe. Some might read the things I write and do and wonder how someone who is a Believer could live like that. I am guilty of letting my internal sins manifest and turn into drunkenness, sex, and mainly more drunkenness. There are other things there too but alcohol is novocaine to my mind and soul and when I can’t shake what is going on in my mind and heart it helps a lot. Then my desire to be wanted and ability to get what I want takes over and that is where the women and sex come in.

I am not out having sex or hooking up with girls all the time but I am guilty of letting it happen. Most of the time sex is not an option because I’ve drank enough to where my penis won’t work properly. While we are putting it all out there, I also poop. I poop and it usually smells really bad. My feet stink too.

I can get into all my fucked up paths that lead to certain sins but that will come at another time. I really want to address, in this break of the story, one of my problems with Christian culture literature. It seems that people are only allowed to write a Christian book or talk about stuff once they have come out on the ‘other side’ of their struggle. I have not come out on the other side. I am neck deep in my filthy, dark, mud pile of sin. In my time on this Earth, I will not EVER come out on the other side of all this sin. It’s the nature of us. Now, am I saying I will forever struggle with being a drunk, absolutely not. But I will always be in sin while I am in this body on this earth. That is why I have such a need for Christ and the cross and the resurrection. Because there will always be that struggle.

Let me give you an example, mainly because I would like to boast about the overcoming of a sin that I had major conviction about and hated. I love watching porn. I think naked women are beautiful and watching them in sexual situations is something I have watched a lot of for many years. I would say that I was off and on addicted to watching porn. It was something that released the right neurons in my brain when I was feeling lonely and it would appease me for a little while. I never liked it though. My same love for people of all types convicted me of how I looked at these beautiful women as merely objects (again, in real life women this is a struggle too but we will talk about that later as well). I would watch and wonder how does this beautiful girl end up doing porn? Was it daddy issues that everyone jokes about? Was it a drug problem? Does she truly just love sex and does not have a moral problem with it? Were there no other options for her? Is it mild fame or money? I would ask all these things in my head, sometimes while masturbating, and then when it was finished, I would feel bad because I knew I was part of the problem.

For so many of the reasons I just asked, if people like me did not click on the web sites that showed the advertising, then there would not be the money to pay these girls and lure them into the business. For what is worth, I was a part of the problem.

I had a friend of mine, Larry, who is the most loving and open person I have ever known talk to me about porn. He said “Wouldn’t it be nice if/when you meet your wife you could honestly say that you do not watch porn?”

In my head it just clicked. God’s conviction in my heart plus a little kick in the ass from Larry, I just quit. Totally God’s grace because even while writing this, I have visions running through my head of ass and titties.

For Christian culture, I am now qualified to write a book about overcoming porn addiction because I have not watched it in several months. But I am not qualified to write about the struggle of alcoholism, being a drunk (I am a fun drunk), or using girls to boost my ego when I feel rejected. It makes no sense. I think people are tired of hearing the super heroes talk about how they once were in sin but are no longer. The transparency of hearing someone stumble through their life and need your help makes you love them so much more. Maybe I can write through my dirty trudge through the mud puddles of life and be a source of camaraderie to a fellow struggling sinner that has a desire to follow Jesus.

I do not take Grace for granted. Well, that is a lie. We all do. So before you start pointing fingers at me saying I cheapen God’s grace with my sin, please explain to me how you are not doing the same exact thing with your sin of pride. I am just broken enough to say that I am fucked up and my only hope to ever do right is in Christ. Any good I do is Christ in me, I just want to strive to have more of him in me so I do more good and love people better.

 

Do you know what the worst part about when she ran is? The unknown. If I had gotten a little frisky and made an inappropriate move on her and she ran, that would make sense. But that did not happen, not that night anyways.

The girl that ran I am going to name Runner. I would use her real name but I can’t do that to people. Plus that would destroy any chance I ever have of actually taking the girl on a date one day. I would have just kept referring to her using pronouns but it might get complicated when I introduce another character into my self-created, real life saga.

Runner is a cool chick. She reminds me of my sister in many ways but my favorite part about her likeness to my sister is the ability to banter with the guys. They both grew up being the little sis, so they learned by growing up with the guys. I like this in the runner for some reason. She is the kind of girl that doesn’t blow you away the first time you meet her but by the time you hang out with her several times, you have formed a crush on her and can’t wait to see her again.

She moved back to Birmingham close to a year ago. She moved in with one of my best friend Coley’s ex-girlfriend. His ex told me she wanted me to meet her, which we did one day but that was nothing beyond the greeting. This Spring, Coley and I started running into her and her friend around town and we would end up just hanging and talking some. Still, truly no thoughts of it going anywhere. It was not really even on my mind because I was secretly seeing someone on a regular basis. We will call her Charlie.

Charlie and I had been hanging out on a regular basis for a good while. We were sexually active and I thought the sex was really good. She was my very good friend for a while and would listen to me bitch and complain about life like nobody else would ever have the patience to. I miss her a lot but we were not going anywhere. She was my companion but she was also my companion that kept me from taking any steps forward because we kind of got into a comfort zone, or a rut. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of opportunities for trips and hanging out with new people. Also, she is around 40 years old and did not see a family in the future, which is something I desire if God graces me with that. There are a lot of other reasons that we could not be but I can’t get into that right now.

Mentally I had a rough few weeks in a row. I was really doubting God and why he was putting some of my most faithful friends through really challenging situations while he let me plug along in my life of sin without true heartache. Still a source for questions and doubt often for me. I can logically and theologically and reasonably make sense of it all but in my heart, I get filled with anger that my friends go through those hard times. I remember as a 15 year old, not a true believer in the sense of knowing what I believed, but I remember praying to God that he would take pain from some other kid in the world and give it to me. And I cried, for hours in my bed, and I am not sure why. For some reason there is something in me that says “Mess with me and it’s fine, I can handle it, but do not mess with my people.”

I remember hearing about my sister getting into it at the Nick with a couple of the bike gang members for her trying to squeeze behind the ‘leader’ to get outside. I was so thankful that I happened to not be there that night or else I would have died fighting some biker gang outside the Nick. I tell that story mainly to say I care for my sister more than anyone else in this world and I will kill you if you mess with her. I WILL KILL YOU. Kidding, but not really.

Back to the story… my thoughts about life and where Charlie and I were started to snowball and I couldn’t see where we were going, but I was a wreck emotionally and she was my go to consoler. She showed me so much grace during this time yet being the selfish asshole I am, I just walked away from it. I didn’t really have the balls to walk away from it. I didn’t even handle it right with her when I walked away from it. But when I had this little spark in my head that I might like the runner, it was my nudge out the door. It’s fucked up really. I feel bad but I don’t know what to do about it. It was time to move on.

 

The Runner, Coley and I ended up at a bar day drinking one Saturday. She had friends come meet us which turned to dinner which turned into more drinking at the bar. We all had a great time. Somehow I ended up with the runner at her apartment with a soft cooler of Miller Lite sitting on her front lawn chairs with her listening to music and talking until 3 am. I wish I could go back to that moment.

I was invited to stay at her place and I accepted as long as I could take a shower before getting in bed. At this point I’m digging this girl pretty hard but I have zero intentions of trying to have sex with her for a couple reasons. First, because I was really liking her and I thought it might fuck up things. Second, I had probably drank more alcohol that day than you have in the past month total, so there was no chance in hell I was going to get hard. Very wholesome reasons I know.

We did begin kissing. You know when you’re used to kissing someone that when you kiss someone new it is sometimes awkward? This was a little awkward. Not bad just out of rhythm. I have had those kisses that the first time is just easy and it’s like bam, that is a good kiss. This was not one of those moments. It was also not like the girl I kissed a few times that was the most awful kisser ever. The most awful kisser ever I kept trying to kiss on different occasions hoping that she might have learned something. She never did. I tried to subtilely get her to relax but that never happened. It was so bad I might as well have been trying to make out with my Miller Lite bottle. So the runner wasn’t the best first kissing experience but it was definitely not the worst. We had a chance, just had to get dancing to the same beat.

Kissing led to feeling and feeling led to me getting a semi-erection. This shocked me considering my state. As they say, there is only enough blood in a man to control one head. Ones I started getting hard, I quit thinking and next thing I know I am working my way in her. With her on her back and lifting her hips up to get a good angle I remember we had some type of readjustment that threw me off. Then I felt like I was losing my hard on. Then I started thinking about losing my hard on and once you start thinking about it, it’s probably lost. I remember rolling off and covering my face. She asked what was wrong and I could only utter “I just mind fucked myself.”

I wish I could sit here and tell you that in the middle of sex I had a wave of conviction and I just could not go on anymore, but that would be a bold faced lie. We never talked about this situation.

Looking back, was this the beginning of the end? Probably so. One, we should not have had sex and we have both admitted to that to each other. Two, did I fuck with her ego or something that made her start pulling away (emotionally) because she thought she wasn’t pretty enough for me to stay hard while having sex with her? It’s possible. I could have done a few different things to remedy the sex side of the situation and boost her ego. I did not come up with this on my own by the way. I am not that smart. I could have woken up the next morning and ‘fucked the shit’ out of her as one person later advised. I could have had the balls to talk about it the next day and affirm with her that I think she is gorgeous and that I am sexually attracted to her. Or I could do what I did and not ever mentioned it or even try to really kiss her again, which is not a remedy at all, it just so happens to be what happened. Oh the desire to go back to that night before I started fucking things up.

We hung out the next two days at different peoples houses for cookouts. Never alone. I asked her on a date for Thursday night and she said yes. An hour and a half before I was supposed to pick her up she canceled. She had a shitty work week and had just picked up a early morning case (she’s in medical sales) that she had to get things ready for. Even with an excuse that’s a shot to the ego. My job is not as important as somebody’s pacemaker working, but I think if I really wanted to see someone I would have made it work. Charlie used to tell me “We do what we want to do.” I hated hearing that because it’s so damn true.

I was originally going out of town that weekend but my plans got canceled so I ended up in town. We kind of made up the Thursday night date with drinks and apps at a couple places. I think she got bored with me because the next move was that we went and kidnapped Coley from his house and we all went out to the bar. At the end of this night, we shared an Uber with Coley and I took her home. I basically invited myself in without the intention of staying because my dog was at home. She also made it very clear that I was not staying there. This was the night that I got my fair warning. She told me “”I’m just warning you, this is the point where I start pulling away.”

 

The next afternoon, after licking my wounds from the previous nights debauchery by sweating it out doing yard work, I inquired what she had going on that evening. She was going to Otey’s, which is one of my companies restaurants, with some friends. I don’t like to go drinking and hanging out at restaurants that I help run, so I was not going to go up there. She said that she would let me know if they changed locations. I never heard anything. I did not want to be the pathetic poor boy that just waited around for her to say come on over here so I started putting feelers out to see what other people were doing. Meanwhile I started killing the Tito’s and water at the house.

I ended up at this mini music festival and the bar with a group of people. One of which was my friend Sara who has had a thing for me since college. We have hooked up a few times before and she ended up latching on. We stayed the night together unfortunately. Not because I don’t like Sara but because it was a total ego move. My pride was hurt and I used Sara to make myself feel needed. I am a fucking douche.

Sunday I went to the lake and decided the next weekend I was going to the lake regardless and I would invite people. Specifically there was one person I wanted to come and that was the runner. I invited Coley and a handful of others. The funny thing about the lake is that I have had what I call the ‘Lake Test’ since I was sixteen years old. If a girl can go to the lake, spend the night and the next day and still look good, she’s got a good thing going on. The lake could have totally been a point where I started running from the runner. It didn’t happen that way though.

I went up to the lake Friday night and cleaned the boat and the dock and everything I could to impress. I have never, ever, spent that much time cleaning that place for someone else. I worked on the boat until 2 am and then turned around and was up at 6 am doing more work. Later on my dad called me out at a family dinner and said “You either had a female touch helping you clean or you were really trying to impress someone because that’s the cleanest you have ever had that place after a weekend.”

We had a good group come up to the lake on Saturday and stay until Sunday. I thought it was a lot of fun but I probably did not give the runner the attention I would have liked to because I was playing host a little bit and also I was really questioning whether or not she liked me at the point in time. I probably wore that on my sleeve and was protecting myself on this trip. I passed out on the couch at the end of the night and did not even attempt a kiss or to sleep in the same bed as her. I still had a chance at that point in time and I did not capitalize on it.

 

Back from the lake and the runners go to wing woman back in town, we went to drinks Tuesday night. Coley and I and the two of them. I’m really letting this stuff get to my head and not able to figure out whether she likes me or not. Maybe I’m just too boring or maybe I’m just… shit, I don’t know anything. I asked her to go out to dinner with me that upcoming Friday and she agreed. We also made plans as a group to go to the baseball game on Thursday as a group.

Thursday approached and the weather sucked. In our group texts there were questions of whether or not we were going to do anything at all because of the weather. Coley and I pushed to hang out anyways and this is the night that she ran. She ran. She ran.

I gave her space that weekend after she canceled the date and today I gave her a call hoping for another chance for the two of us to hang out. She did not answer but she responded with a text that she was in surgery and “you ok?”

Am I ok? Really? Am I ok? why would I call her if I was not ok? What does that mean? What could she possibly help me with that any of my friends or family in town could not help me with? I went ahead and put it out there in my text back that I was great, just seeing when I could take her out or cook dinner for her. The response; “I’ll try to call you back in a bit.”

That call back never happened. Like Charlie said “We do what we want to do.”

And She ran. She ran. She ran.

 

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