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

Finding My Muse

1)Because my muse has a wicked sense of humor and visits me at odd times and in inconvenient places, I have learned to record inspirations/ideas immediately before I forget them or they dissolve into nothing. I carry small notebooks, own a digital recorder, and have been known to text messages home. I will scribble on anything – old napkins I find in my glove compartment or old receipts. I even pop out of bed in the middle of the night to jot things on sticky pads. 2)Calendars are great places to find topics. I use important dates, seasons, and upcoming holidays to plan blog posts. I can also go back into my work calendar to refresh my memory about meetings, conferences, or books I have read that might be worth sharing with others.   3)I will sit with a good cup of coffee, pen and paper ready, and read the newspaper searching for topics, interesting characters, or modern trends.  News channels and other newsfeeds are just as good.   4)I love to read the TV and movie guides for titles and…

The Girl Who Eats Canned Spinach

I went to a Catholic elementary school run by strict Belgian nuns, and we could not leave the cafeteria until we ate everything served on our food tray. Once a week, they served warmed, canned spinach with our meal. The spinach tasted nothing like the way my grandmother made it, but I ate it. I gulped it down in three or four bites and it amazed my table mates. I told them we ate it at home so I was used to the taste. Now, my real problem began the day I ate the spinach off my friends’ trays so we could go play outside. As soon as the nun monitoring the cafeteria turned her back, my friends ate something off my tray I didn’t want, and I ate their serving of spinach. I only did it for two of my table mates, but the word spread. On the next Spinach Day, kids followed me to my table.I was suddenly very popular, and as soon as the nun marched off to the other end of the cafeteria, my friends and an army of others who only knew me as The Girl Who Eats Spinach, begged me to take their servin…

Facing My Fear of Guns

With the ownership of firearms comes responsibility, so I had asked HoneyBunch several times to teach me how to shoot and to help me get my License to Carry. I got my wish two weeks ago. HB and I signed up to take a LTC class. He bought me a gun, one similar to his, that would be the type we needed to show shooting proficiency, and for one whole week he tried to get me to become familiar with it, but I was hesitant. I read the booklet that came with the gun. I practiced loading and shooting it in what is called dry shooting (no bullets), and since the flyer said I would have to shoot thirty shots at different distances, I finally tried with it loaded. I was a nervous wreck. The class of twelve turned out to be close to forty people. We were of all ages, colors, and genders, and I was glad I wasn’t the only woman my age. The shooting test came first, and we were separated into two groups. Those who were proficient (or thought they were) would shoot first, and those who were novices wou…