Every kid has thought about running away from home at some point. It doesn’t mean they have bad parents, it’s just something that appeals to kids.
I don’t remember what it was that made me so angry (I’m sure I would think it was frivolous now) but I was around 7 when I decided I was going to live my life on my own. Well, at least for a couple of days. That would teach those mean parents to be nicer!
I grabbed my precious bike and started pedaling. It was purple, single-speed and even had a handbrake, pretty much the coolest way for a 7 year old to get around.
It only took a few minutes to get past 3 neighborhoods to the farthest point I had ever gone on my own. That was where the big single-family home neighborhood ended and the road joined into a larger, more arterial road. I followed along the road on the sidewalk, taking note of my route for when I decided to return. When a patch woods popped up along my route I stopped to investigate. I wasn’t alone, there was a deer feeding in the woods.
I reacted the same way I did to every single deer I encountered. I chased after it. Every time I got within 20 feet the deer dashed off further into the woods and I chased after and found it again. When it decided it had enough it ran farther and faster than I could ever run and I didn’t see it again. That was when I realized I had no idea where I was
All the trees looked the same. Countless narrow dirt paths went in every direction randomly. I tried sticking to one or the other, but just wound up going in circles. After ending up at the same place 3 or 4 times I gave up and sat down to cry. I decided I would never get out of the stupid woods and would starve to death. I was doomed to end up like one of those feral children, raised by a pack of wolves and feeding off animal carcasses. I would never see my family again, but I wanted to so badly. If only I could find my way home, I would never run off again!
After crying for a 7-year-old eternity (about 20 minutes) I heard a dog barking. I remembered that dog barking…it had barked when I ran past a house chasing the deer. I followed the sound of the dog until I came across a neighborhood on the edge of the woods. I followed along side the neighborhood until it lead me right up to the road I had been traveling along. There was my bike! It was lying in the grass by a tree!
I channeled all my excitement into pedaling home as fast as I could. My family would be so happy to see me! When I got home I expected a warm welcome.
As it turned out, I had only been gone 2 hours and no one had noticed I left. Oh well.