Skip to main content

The Day I Ran Away


I was eleven and tired of being the middle child, the one who had to help my older brother with his chores after doing my own, the one who had to look after my younger sister and make sure she didn’t cry.
I decided to run away that summer because I felt no one ever noticed me unless someone needed to be blamed for something.  If I ran away, I doubted anyone would even notice.
I stayed awake for several nights in a row to listen for Dad’s snores and my mother’s and grandmother’s deep breathing. It signaled they were fast asleep.
During the day, I counted the steps between my bed and the front door, and I practiced opening the lock with a minimum of noise.  Since I would be running at night and the house would be dark, I tried doing it with my eyes closed.  My grandmother scolded me for my pantomime, and my mom yelled at me to go outside and see about my sister.  
I made a hobo pack out of an old scarf and hid it under my pillow every night when I went to bed. Inside was a full set of clothes, a flashlight, and a box of matches I stole from my grandmother’s smoking supplies.  I tied up my life savings ($1.83) inside a handkerchief, and I took a map of Texas from the junk drawer in the kitchen. I had no idea where I was headed, but any place was better than here.  
The night of my great escape, I took my bath and went to bed early.  When my grandmother asked, I told her I was tired.  Instead of pajamas, I wore a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and covered myself up to my chin with the bed sheet.  I told my grandmother I was afraid of the mosquitoes.  My tennis waited under the bed and my hobo pack was under my pillow. 
All I had to do was wait for the cover of night.
Several hours later, I started out of bed when I heard my father snore, but my mother scolded him and their bed jiggled, and the house was silent again. I counted to one hundred, then quietly grabbed my things.  I tiptoed into the hallway and on the tenth step, the floor squeaked.
“Who’s there?”  My mother asked from her bedroom, her voice groggy from sleep. 
I didn’t answer, so she asked again, but this time louder and more demanding.
“Me.”  I whispered.
“What are you doing?”  Her voice sounded more assured now that she knew it was me and not a burglar.  If she got up, how would I explain the clothes and the hobo pack?
“I was going to the bathroom.”  I answered.
“Well, go then,” she scolded, “and then get back into bed.”
 I could hear snuffles and movement coming from the bedrooms. Others were waking because of our noise.  Shoulders sagging, I marched into the bathroom and forced myself to pee, then I trudged back into my bedroom and into bed.
I thought about trying again at a later time, but the idea of it all had lost its drama.  If Mom caught me a second time, she would have tortured the truth out of me then topped it off with a spanking.   If I was really serious about running away, I could have just walked out the front door, right under their noses. 
But I stayed.  I stayed because in those few minutes as I tiptoed my way in the dark down the hall, I realized that if I succeeded, I would prove myself right – no one cared that I existed.  I had been planning this in front of all my family for weeks and no one cared to ask what I was doing.  
That night, I prayed someone would stop me, yell at me for trying such a thing, spank me for even thinking it.

Thank goodness, my mother came through.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.I sputter.I hyperventilate.I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties. I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting. Me first: The facts:My mom f…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…

Grandma’s Dining Table

Twenty five years ago my first husband and I bought a new home with four bedrooms and three baths, but my favorite part of the house was the enormous room you walked into from the front door. It had no dividing wall but the design was to use half of it as a formal living and the other half as a formal dining. From the beginning I decided to make it into one huge dining room that would catch the eye when everyone walked in through the front door of my home.   My three children were very young, but I envisioned them grown and married. We counted five at the time, but one day we would grow to eight, maybe more if we factored in grandchildren, so I bought a table that sat a family of twelve.  My husband thought it silly to look that far ahead and convinced me to buy only ten chairs. The room looked magnificent – the long, majestic table, the ten chairs, the buffet, a couple of real ficus, and a few other nice pieces of furniture – I was pleased. The table lasted longer than the marriage, a…