I ran away from home many times as a child. I remember the first time I ever ran away I think I was about 8 years old and I ran away because I wasn’t allowed to take a bus by myself downtown. I can’t remember why I wanted too, I just remember being told “no your too young”. So I ran away, I ran away to a friend’s house and spent the whole day there. I came home after dinner because I had dinner at my friend’s house. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me when I returned home. I admit I was scared to go home. I kept thinking the whole walk home about how much trouble I was going to get into. About what kind of beating I was going to get if my dad wasn’t home when I got there. I was so scared that I turned around 3 or 4 times to go back to my friend’s house but knew that it wasn’t the answer because they weren’t home. You see they had gone out for the evening after dinner so I had no choice but to go home unless I could find another friend’s house to go to. But even if I did find another friend’s house, how long could I possibly stay there before their parents would send me home.
So I kept walking till I got home. We for whatever reason never used the front door of the house. So I walked up the driveway and to the backdoor. I don’t know if they saw me coming up the driveway but I assume that they did. I slowly opened the backdoor and walked into the house. I took off my shoes at the backdoor and walked through the kitchen to get to the living room. I was so thrilled when I saw my dad sitting there in his chair. I felt safe that he was there.
No one said boo to me. They acted like I had never left at all. I was shocked that I wasn’t in trouble. I was shocked that I wasn’t grounded. I was so shocked I really didn’t know what to do. So I turned around, walked back out of the living room and went to my room. I stayed in their the rest of the night. I guess I felt that since I was bad for running away that I would have been grounded so I basically grounded myself. I never would have guessed that they would have pretended nothing had happened. Especially not my mom.
That was the first time, but certainly not the last time. I ran away many times after that.
I ran away and would go to a friend’s house, I would knock on her bedroom window. Her parents were older so they would go to bed early, usually the same time as the kids. Since it would take me a while to walk to her house her parents were usually already asleep by the time I would knock on the window. She would come to the backdoor, let me in and we would go downstairs. I never told her what was going on that made me run away, and she never asked. We would sit up and talk, or watch tv, and sneak a smoke. We would then sneak upstairs, she would check to make sure her parents were asleep and then I would sneak past their room and we would go to bed. In the morning, she would get up and then go into the kitchen when it was breakfast time. Until then she would stay in her room getting dressed and just talking with me. When she would go to the kitchen, I would have my shoes in her room, I would carry them to the front door, and I would quietly open the door and go outside. I would put on my shoes and then ring the doorbell as if I am calling on her for school. She would come and let me in, and then her mom would make me something to eat as well.
Looking back now, I am sure her parents must have known I was there. They just didn’t say anything to either of us so I would just keep coming back. But some nights they wouldn’t be home when I came, or they would have company and her parents would still be up. In which case, I wouldn’t knock on the window or sleep there that night.
On those nights I would have to find somewhere else to sleep. I slept under the staircase of a friend’s apartment block since I couldn’t actually sneak into his house. Plus where would I sleep since he was a male friend. I slept there a number of times. I remember that this one particular time I couldn’t do the under the stairs spot, and my friend wasn’t home. I didn’t know where else to sleep. I only really had those two spots that I would sleep at. So I was lost. I was stuck. I was confused as to where to go and what to do. All I knew was that I needed to sleep and that I couldn’t miss school the next day.
That’s when it hit me as to where I would sleep that night. I slept in the school field. I figured this way I would get sleep, if I could actually sleep which I didn’t know if it would be possible. I assumed someone would see a figure sleeping on the ground and either come and attack me, come and check me out or call the police. None of that happened to me thank goodness. I also knew that if I slept in the school field, well I couldn’t be late for school as either the kids coming to school would wake me up or the school bell would. I did manage to get sleep that night. And a friend of mine on her way to school saw me and woke me up.
I don’t ever remember getting grounded when I would go home the next day. But I also would time it so that I knew my dad would be home when I got there. I am pretty sure that he must have made sure that he would be home before me each and every time.
Did running away solve anything? Nope my problem was still there each and every time I went back home.