I ran away from home when I was 14.
I was a freshman in high school, newly dating a good boy who was trying very hard to be bad. He was my first real boyfriend, and we spent a lot of time skipping school, hanging out with his loser friend, and watching movies. I wasn't allowed to stay up past 9 p.m., so this was seriously thrilling behavior for me.
The fun didn't last, of course, as teachers tend to notice when you don't come to school with regularity, and so they called our parents. My parents, being the hardasses that they were, came looking for us. I don't remember how we got the heads up, but we were going out the back door of loser friend's apartment as my parents were coming in the front door. My boyfriend broke his ankle jumping off the balcony. It was very dramatic.
He looked at me, I looked at him, and we said, "We have to run." It was clearly our only option. Plus, we had watched The Legend of Billie Jean like half a dozen times that month, and if there's one thing Helen Slater taught me, it's that fair is fair. That, and short hair is hot. So we took off.
Our first stop with the apartment of another friend, who let us raid his refrigerator and gather some much needed supplies. A bag of Fritos. A couple of wine coolers. Half a pack of cigarettes pilfered from his dad. I excused myself to the bathroom to do what I needed to do, namely hack off my shoulder length hair so I could go rogue. You can not go rogue looking like the Breck Girl. As I stood there with a pair of kitchen scissors, I changed my mind. Maybe I can just wear it in a ponytail. I cut my fingernails short instead, which is only slightly less badass.
We spend the rest of the day walking circles around the apartment complex, discussing how we might break into one and make a home there, or at least sleep overnight. It turns out we both had an innate fear of lawlessness, and were overly concerned with things like going to juvie. By nightfall, the Fritos were gone and we were hungry and only about 3 blocks from where we started. We were the worst runaways in the history of runaways. Bon Jovi even called me and asked me not to sing their song, I was such an embarrassment.
At 8 p.m. that night, we walked up to the gas station and called my boyfriend's older sister, hoping she'd give us some cash and some tips on not sucking. She was always a bitch to me; she said I wore too much makeup and was a slut. She showed up a few minutes later, looked at us and said "Get in the car." It was clear that she wasn't there to help.
Instead she took us to my parents house, where we spent the next several hours being interrogated. My parents had searched my room, read my diary, and knew all of my intimate secrets. They knew that I loved Simon Le Bon. They knew I wondered if I should start tweezing my eyebrows. They knew my friend Alice let me taste vodka at her house, and it made me throw up in the cowl neck of my sweater. It was one of the most awful nights of my life.
And so ended my 12 hours on the run. It was the first, and last, time I have ever lived on the edge...outside the law...a criminal. There will always be that dark side of me, just beneath the surface. There will always be the potential for aberrant behavior, the lust for rebellion.
Right now, I'm going to go tear the tags off all my pillows.
Don't get too close, you might get burned.
2 weeks ago