When I saw Mrs Fever’s prompt was RUN I immediately thought back to the first post I wrote for her summer project – Run like the wind.
And I didn’t think I had anything else to offer the memoir meme on that topic. But then I suddenly remembered – When I was about 9 years old I ran away from my home.
Why this event didn’t come into my head as soon as I saw the prompt I don’t know as I have often thought back on that strange evening, but memories can be funny at times. Also I’m not particularly proud of what I did but more so I am not proud of how I felt.
Looking back I wonder what possessed me to run away in the first place? I know I was unhappy. Which may have been to do with a what happened with my dad and then him leaving. But how can anyone be sure what tips the scales for a kid to make them want to be somewhere else rather than in the security of their home?
I lived opposite a girl who was a year older than me – Becca. We had been friends since we were about five and permitted out to play on the street in-front of our houses. By the time I was eight or nine we were allowed over to the field next to my house.
I remember it was summer and I had be nagging Becca for days to run away with me. I had absolutely no idea where we would go. All that consumed me was the need to leave. But in my opinion Becca was a wimp and very sensibly kept on persuading me that we should go home when street play allotted time was up.
I would stamp back into my house and stomp upstairs to get ready for bed. Slamming a few doors for good measure. The only time I was not horrid at home during this period was when my Gran was around. It seemed to me she treated me like a grown up.
One evening I knocked for Becca as usual and she flew out of the door. Her face red. She was huffing and puffing, lips pursed together in a line. Yep, she was mad about something.
As we walked over the field together she explained her mum was going to marry her boyfriend and it meant they would have to move away. Over the other side of town, plus a change of school. And Becca was not happy.
Ready and willing to take advantage of this situation I persuaded Becca tonight was the night we should run away. We had already walked further than usual while we were chatting and Becca looked around and realised that she was in an unfamiliar street. However I knew where we were, as the road was part of my walk to school.
Suddenly she agreed, “let’s do it.”
At this point we actually started running. We were past our curfew and the street lights were coming on.
After about ten minutes I too didn’t recognise where I was. That made me happy. Finally I was somewhere else. Not home. Not near home. Uncharted territory. And for some reason that seemed to settle rather than scare me.
But of course we had not planned anything. It was nearly dark and we both began to feel the cold. Where could we go?
Becca started moaning and sobbing. I felt disgusted with her but also annoyed at my self for not having been more pragmatic and brought coats and food. So I curtly told her to stop sniveling. And began to look around me.
Without going much further I saw a road that was near to a friend’s house and knew I could get us back from there. We were nearly three hours late. Almost at the same time a police car pulled up along side us. Popped us in the back and drove us home.
As we drew up to my house both our mums came running out in tears, frantically sweeping us up into their arms. Becca was almost hysterical by now and I felt absolutely nothing.
But I was a smart kid and knew my life would be easier if I then did two things. Start crying. So I did. And say,
“I am so sorry Mum. We got lost.”
Many of you who read my blog know I loved my mum dearly. I think at that time in my life I was more mixed up than I knew and felt very disconnected from my self and my life. I was going through the motions.
On reflection I do think the incident and my childhood in general has had quite a bearing on the way I’ve turned out. I am a bit of a runner – particularly if it relates to my emotional survival. If that makes sense?
Becca and her family moved soon after. Then many years later, when I was a student. I managed to secure an office job over the Summer holidays. Her stepdad – the guy they moved in with – was my boss. I didn’t realise until one day Becca walked into the office to meet him for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other for over ten years but knew the other immediately.