at least I call it that now,
but at the time I said I wasn't running away from home,
After a day full of teenage pain, angst and tears,
I left a note for my mama which stated simply,
"I am not running away. I will be back soon. I just need a vacation.
You know, you can just get away for the weekend, go to San Fransisco
or somewhere whenever you want,
but I can't. And I need to. So I'm just going to take my mini vacation,
and then I'll be home. Don't worry. I'll be back."
I left the note on my bed, took a back pack full of clothes, a notebook,
pens and books,
and walked out of my house at about ten o'clock at night.
I lived at the edge of town, in a little bit of suburbia,
but just beyond our housing development was a semi-country road
ten miles long, leading into another town,
the town where my friends were,
the town I was headed to.
I knew I couldn't make it walking ten miles that night,
and I was nearing the end of street lights...
the road gets very dark,
covered by trees,
meaning no stars, no moon...
So what is an angst-filled, heart sick, petite sixteen year old girl
to do alone, late at night?
Hitchhike, yes, of course.
Wouldn't you know I was picked up almost immediately...
by a young guy, probably about 18,
and I am pretty sure he was on something.
But it was better than that darkness...
and he took me to a payphone (yes, I said payphone)
and I called the friends who should have been waiting for me,
my heart sank when there was no answer...
and now here I was, with this guy I didn't know
(because yes, though he was young and on drugs,
he was a gentleman and he waited for me)
and I had no idea what to do...
so I decided to go home.
My new friend was so kind,
he didn't hesitate to turn around and drive back the way we had come,
and we talked about life and what I was doing and why,
and then when he turned on my street I just about had a fit.
I started yelling at him,
"turn around, turn around, turn around!"
which he did promptly and a little bit unsteadily,
for he was already driving erratically thanks to the chemicals and turning that
car quickly was not easy for him.
"sorry. the lights were on at my house and my parent's car was gone so,
i. can't. go. home."
Back we drove, the same road,
for the third time.
This time he drove me by my friend's house but when we were pulling down the street
I was horrified at seeing my parent's car and my step dad walking
to the door.
So my driver and I sped off again,
this time I had no idea where to go,
and it was about one o'clock in the morning.
"You can stay at my house. My parent's are asleep by now and
my little brother is spending the night at a friends. You can have
his bed, we just need to wake up early and leave before my
parents get up." He was such a gentleman.
And so I did. I fell asleep, hard, in this enormous strange bed,
and it was the best sleep I have ever had to this day.
The end came too soon when he gently shook my shoulder at
seven o'clock the next morning and told me
we needed to be off.
And so we were. And he bought me donuts for breakfast.
This stranger that picked me up hitchhiking (I wish I could remember his name)
was the greatest part of my vacation which ended a few hours later.
Ended in the police finding me at a friend's house
(because, yes, that day I eventually found my friends who were,
of course, the people the police were searching for to find me)
being taken to a group home,
then for a month stay at an aunt's house,
which all led to my first trip to the adolescent psychiatric hospital...
so I guess it was some sort of vacation after all...
I didn't go home for two months.
I'm thinking of this time when I was 16
because my eldest child is just about to turn 16
(yes, I am 28. yes, that makes me 12 when he was born.
If you are confused, read here.)
I was raised with love but no understanding of Love,
with freedom to do what I wanted, but no one guiding me
to the One who would show me what to want.
These are the things we give our children, but, still...
so I ask him,
"Ian, do you want a vacation from us, from your family?"
"Yes! That would be awesome! How about I ride my bike
to the grocery store? I'll pick up some things we need while
I smile. I am so okay with his choice of vacation.
Way better than mine.