The Runner: Although this term brings back fond memories amongst many of us of a song in the Bangla language from the 1970s, the term also has a negative connotation. And in my life I have seen many a runner – those who run and hide as soon a they are caught in an act that they were intrinsically guilty of doing. This runner is the coward. Much has been written about the coward and there are many perspectives, but one thing that many agree on is that the coward runs when caught or sees that the environment is not safe for the person. The runner has no emotions towards anything other than the self. It could be a person that sweet talks their way into the lives of others – a false confidant, a scared adulterer, or a fake business person – but the moment they see the environment getting a little too tricky for them, and they may get caught, they run. These are the people who will tell their “loved” one to back off or worse still tell them, “lets not do this (whatever “this” may be – from a business deal to a renting a hotel room by the hour) anymore,” because they know they are about to get caught. The runner always has at least one “victim.” Who they have enticed to the point of the victim genuinely trusting the runner. These things can go on for a long time, but then someone else comes along. The one who observes and suddenly the runner gets cautious. They feel vulnerable and threatened by this other person who seems to be able to see through the coward. At that moment, the runner has to make a decision. And the decision is first to avoid. Stay away from the potential of being discovered. I am sure you have seen this many times. Avoidance is the safest way. For the person caught in adultery to the person caught in a swindle – the first reaction is to avoid. The hope is, by avoiding, the threat will disappear, and the victim can continue to be taken down the path of deception. But sometimes, the runner feels threatened enough to realize that the victim is not worth the risk of getting caught. That is when the running starts. The victim is abandoned, often left in emotional and financial ruin. But the runner never had anything “real” with the victim. The victim was a “good times” game – a roll in the bed to a roll of cash – that is all that the victim meant to the runner. Of course, they hide it well – by the act of the “devoted lover” to the “marketing consultant.” But they are all the same – cowards and runners – who needed the victim to get what they wanted, and at the very first sign of danger they will leave the victim to suffer in silence. Because the runner never really cared for anything but the self – and running is their protection from exposure. To the victim of these runners, always remember what Beautiful Badness said in their song, I will hunt you down: “I am your guilt and/You can't get rid of that weight.” And if you are the person who understands the pain of the victim I invite you to say, again what the song says: “I will hunt you down/Wherever you go/I will hunt you down forever.” That would have put a shiver down the spine of the runner. But, wait, the runner is a spineless coward.