I think we all have a time when our parents are trying to make us do something, and threaten to kick us out if we don't. One time...
"Do as I say or get out
," my mother told me.
Okay. I got out. An hour later, my suitcase was packed, and I left
. I'll never forget their shock, the look in their faces, knowing they probably didn't really mean it, but also knowing they wouldn't take it back. I surprised myself, just leaving like that, having never left home without some family before. A 16 year old out in the world
without knowing where she'll end up.
It wasn't a new thought. The summer before I spent up in Berkeley where my sister was going to school. There I felt my first freedom. Freedom from my family, freedom to be myself
. The clock would finally hit about 2am, and I'd be sure my sister was asleep I'd quietly crawl out of bed, pull on a coat, and wander the streets of Berkeley until sunrise. It never occured to me that this wasn't the safest place for a 15yr old girl to be wandering alone. And if it did, it wasn't important enough
Even before then the thoughts of running
away were on my mind. I came up with an idea to steal my parent's car and just take off. I had no money, so instead I packed my bags full of Ramen
noodles and potato chips, not thinking whether it would sustain me or what I would do. While nobody was home one night, I grabbed the keys to the second car, pulled out the bags I had packed days before, and off I went
Unfortunately, while sitting there in the driver's seat, I realized I didn't know how
. After attempting to a few times and being thoroughly frightened someone
might find what I was doing, headlights from my parents coming home came into view. I never tried that again.
And so, when my mother told me to get out, I did. And I didn't hesitate, although I
questioned in my mind what the hell
I was doing while I packed those bags. That I was going to school and I would miss it. That I might never see my friends again. The only thought that meant enough was that I needed to get out of there
. Out of the city where more memories were bad than good, and some of them were still so close I felt like I was suffocating. It amazed me my whole life could fit into a suitcase. But it did. And off I went, into the night