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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Runaway

I decided to run away when I was 6 years old. I don't even remember why. I think I got the idea from a movie or maybe I was just in the mood for an adventure. From what I can remember, the 1st grade wasn't exactly thrilling. That year we learned how to spell "Renaissance" and for some reason we were taught how to make psychedelic tie-dye shirts, but that's about all I can recall. Oh yeah, we may have learned how to read that year too, but that's just a small detail.

Before I left on my journey, I confidently walked up to my mom in the kitchen and asked her if I could have a picture of our family so that "I could remember everyone." She left for a moment and upon returning offered up a photograph, without questioning me at all. I put the photograph and a cheese and cracker snack into my purple and white bag with a kangaroo on it. (Yes, my handbag obsession started early.) If I were to run away now things would be so different because I have a car and a credit card. At the age of six, I had a handful of coins and a scooter that I was afraid to ride down the driveway. (Yes, I've always been a daredevil.)

Surprisingly, my mom went along with my plan. No questions asked. She walked me to the front door and said goodbye as I left and headed down our driveway. I had my journey planned out perfectly. Well, almost. The first stop would be the grass hill at the end of our street where they had cool hideouts and amazing caves made out of bushes. The second stop was yet to be determined, depending on just how brave I was feeling.

I must have walked for about 38 seconds when I decided to scratch my plan. It was getting dark and I was having visions of the pit bull that had been loose in our neighborhood a few months prior. I had seen his photo posted on every other light post in the area and he looked big and mean. Had anyone ever caught him or was he still roaming the streets? Maybe I could lure him in with my cheese and cracker snack and we could become friends and live in a tree together? Never mind, he probably couldn't climb very well and tree climbing was not necessarily a strength of mine either. Besides, if I fed him my cheese and crackers that would leave me with no food for the rest of my journey. I quickly had no choice but to swallow my pride and head back home.

As soon as I made my 180 and turned around, I spotted my mom on the sidewalk in the distance. Sneaky. She had been giving me some space while intently keeping an eye on me the entire time. I think deep down I was hoping that would be the case.

Let's not deny it, we all run away. Maybe not so dramatically and obvious, often times it is a gradual escape, but in some way or another we attempt make it on our own. We are stubborn and rebellious and we want so badly to convince ourselves that we are enough. Sometimes we even have to leave for a while to find the way back. Thankfully there is always someone a few steps behind us, lovingly watching and waiting for the very second that we decide to turn around and head back home.