The First Time I Ran Away

Or it could be titled, the first time my mother kicked me out of the house.  Now that I remember, it was also the last time my mother told me to get out.

I was in the third grade.

It was a Saturday afternoon.

My mother went to the bar down the street.  I was hungry and wanted to get out as well.  I found enough change in the couch and around the house, to where I could sneak to the ice cream shoppe and get an ice cream cone.

The Ice Cream Shoppe was right across the street. I figured my mother would be gone the rest of the night, as she usually does and I had the entire day to goof off and fend for myself.  My mother would disappear for hours at time time some days.  I often encouraged it, secretly hoping someone at the bar would buy her a beer or two and I would be able to play and sneak to watch the television.  I looked forward to Friday and Saturday nights.  I remember sitting on the toilet while she would get ready in the bathroom.  She was a very pretty woman, and she had these green eyes that were sparkly.  I would watch her put on her eye makeup and transform into this pretty woman.  I would tell her how pretty she was, hoping to score points so I could watch tv or stay up later than she allowed.  At 9 years old, what child manipulates her mother to where she could get away with stuff while her mother was out? That was me in a nutshell.

This time she went to the bar, I think she was looking for someone. It was all of a sudden, she went alone and come to find out she wasn't gone that long. BUt while she was getting ready hurriedly, there wasn't any talking.  She just told me she was going out and would be back later.

As soon as the door shut, I was making my plan to sneak to get ice cream.

I found my change and made the walk, got my ice cream and savored each and every bite.  I walked home and all of a sudden when I got to the door, it was open.  My mother was home. She must have just went to the bar, didn't see who she was looking for and then came home.  My heart fell to the ground.  Like I got caught red handed and was going to get a beating.  I was just happy that I finished my ice cream before I came home.  She would have taken it away.  I walked into the apartment and she yelled at me.  I wasn't even sure if she was even worried about me and wondered where I was at.  There was no, "Oh I was so worried about you" argument.  It was just a look of hatred.  I will never forget that look. She told me in a rage to get out.  I remember everything so vividly.  I grabbed my Baby Alive doll, and my blanket and walked out of the house.  I knew exactly where I was going to go.  I wasn't sad, I was excited about the freedom I was about to discover.

I did have a moment of realization.  When I left, I kept looking back, hoping to see my mother.  Hoping to hear her yelling for me, telling me to get my ass back in the house.  I waned so much to see her behind me in the distance.  I kept looking and thought that she didn't love me.  It made so much sense and I never forgot that feeling.  It made future exits from her so very easy.

I continued to walk

There was this field that was in front of the apartments, where I often played.  My mother would sit at the kitchen table and watch me play in the summer.  I didn't want her to see me walking so I walked around the field through a gutter-way that went all the way down to the house, where I used to live.  When things were good.  When I felt love, had my dog and my father.  I was going back to the place where I remembered the happy times.  I often wonder now, why no one stopped to help me or even questioned a 3rd grader walking down the street with a blanket and a doll.  But then I remembered that I stayed on the back streets and fields to get to where I was going.  I can't believe that I walked all the way to Anza Mountain.  It was more of a hill with lots of rocks that had spray paint all over them, than a mountain.  It was huge to me though. My dad would take me up there and we would watch the fireworks.  My dad would always go up the hill, maybe to escape all of the drama in the house but he would let me go with him quite often, to where I considered it our place.  My mother would stay home, scared that the fireworks would fall on her and she would get burnt. I remember more times with my absent father than I do with my mother when I was a child.  I didn't even think about what my father was doing or how to get a hold of him, the day my mother kicked me out. I wanted to relish in my freedom and didn't want to call anyone.  I had no other relatives to go to or even family friends. My mother was a loner and didn't allow me to play with other children.  I was very isolated, so you can imagine my feeling of freedom at the moment.

I climbed to the top of Anza mountain and stayed where for while.  I laid down the blanket and played with my doll.  Gathered some flowers and kind of played house for awhile.  I doubt it was longer than an hour or so, because I was discovered and returned home before it was dark.  I know while I was still playing that I started screaming and running, falling down the hill because a beee thought it was a good idea to come and play with me.  I was always terrified of bees or anything that flew really.  Everything looked like a bee, until I was brave enough to try and figure out what it was. By then, I usually was back in the safety of my home.  But here, on the hill I was out in the element with no where to run.  I swore that bee followed me all of the way down the hill.

That's when I found my new family.
Someone came running out of their house with concern.
Someone actually cared enough about me to come out of their house and to find me and save me.
Someone who I wanted to be my new mother.
This lady, who looked young, came out of her house and came running up to me, not to yell and hit me, but to find out if I was okay.  She asked me what my name was and she seemed really nice.  I didn't care what she looked like, she cared about me.  I instantly fell in love.  She took me into her house, and gave me the best lemonade I had. Actually it was the first time I had lemonade and it was good.  I wonder if that is why I love lemonade today and my feelings for lemons being strong.  She had a husband and eventually they got enough information from me, to find out where I lived.  I told them I didn't remember my phone number, which was a lie.  I didn't want to go home.  The next thing I remember was them dropping me off in the back of the apartments and me going home alone.  I know they stayed there for a few minutes because I poked my head out to see if they left and they were still there making sure I got home safely.

While I was walking back to the apartment I was hoping to see the police cars there, everyone concerned about me and hoping I was still alive.  There was nothing.  No one was in the courtyard.  No one was there to help find me.  I walked into the apartment and nothing.   My mother was sitting at the kitchen table and she didn't say anything to me. I didn't get concern, or a hug and kiss or words saying that she was so happy I came home and that she was sorry that she told me to get out.

Not a damn word.

I went to my room, put my blanket on my bed and my doll next to my pillow and it was just another day.

We never talked about that day.  It just melted into every single day of hell that I lived.  When I would walk to school I would often wonder what the family that saved me were doing.  If they missed me and perhaps were looking for me so that they could let me live with them.  It was a nice feeling she gave me, that stranger. She made me feel good and important.

The next time I ran away I was in eighth grade.
But that's another story for another day.

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