Running Away

From the Memory Book I’m working on….

It is a summer Sunday afternoon. Sundays always have such a different feeling in them than the other days do. The days seem to drag. The quiet becomes too quiet. I am often listless and irritable on Sunday afternoons. And bored. My mother is already flaked out on the old blanket in the sun after church. I ask her for something…if I can do something, or eat something, and she says no. Any other time, I would just slink off and cut my losses. Today, it’s different. I feel an angry heat rising in my face. I tell her, “I’m running away.”

     Where I learned about running away, I cannot say. However, I know that it is an option, and I intend to use it.

     “Fine, run away then,” says my mother, turning her head away and closing her eyes.

     “You think I won’t. But I am going to do it,” I pronounce. I head into the house for provisions. There’s nothing. I take some bread crusts and stuff them into a bag. And some of my clothes.

     I flounce back outside with my bag. She will see the bag and know that I am serious, and then she’ll be sorry. If she is nice about it, she might convince me to stay.

     “Good-bye,” she says, without opening her eyes.

     “Good-bye!” I shout, and storm off towards the Fullers’ (our landlords and neighbours).

     My first job is to find somewhere to stay for the night. Mr. Fuller’s garage has an upstairs, and we are not allowed to go up there. So, that will be the perfect spot.

     I make sure Mr. Fuller isn’t around, and then I creep up the stairs.

     The loft is crammed with junk, and it’s stiflingly hot. I peek out the little window. There it is, the green summer afternoon, going on without me. I watch for my mother, who should be coming along to look for me. I wait a long time. I am getting hungry, so I take one of the crusts out of the bag and take a few bites. Plain bread without anything on it—it sticks to my throat and makes me gag.

     I will not go home, I vow to myself. I am going to sleep up here; I promise I am!

     I wonder when it will start to get dark.

Then, I hear a terrible sound. Footsteps, coming up the stairs! There are some boards leaning up against the wall. I take my bag and duck underneath the boards, sitting tucked up against the wall with my heart banging and my bladder about to explode. Someone is upstairs with me! I peek carefully around the board, and I see Mr. Fuller’s back, bent over something or other. I quickly dart my head back in again. Mr. Fuller walks around a bit. I am in an agony of terror, thinking about being discovered up here. Finally, the footsteps go down the stairs. I wait for a few minutes, then pop out, look out the window. I don’t see anyone. I tiptoe down the stairs and lunge outside, tear off for home.

     My mother is still outside, tanning on the blanket. She never even moved.

     “You’re back, I see,” she says.