Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rebel, Rebel

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.


  1. My sister watched that movie on repeat for most of 1988.

    And did he need a cast?

  2. Oh my god, that is hysterical. The sad part is, I'm so old now that I relate more to your badass parents than your rebellious youth. Sheesh, I'm ancient. I'm glad you didn't make it far, I can't imagine you faring too well on "the other side" of the law.

  3. Kelly Hines, you certainly know how to tell a story. This is a brilliantly written piece!!

  4. Just a few years till our own Bad Asses try this!

  5. Did your parents ever learn to trust your judgment again? You know, after that Le Bon revelation?

  6. Kelly,

    This is exactly why we are soul sisters living parallel lives. Hard to believe, but I had the identical experience when I was 14. If you just substitute the words "running away" with "got lost," and also swap "friend's apartment" with "ice-skating rink," and finally change "Fritos" to "Hawaiian flavor Slushee" ... well, the similarities are freaking me out as I type this. ARE YOU ME???

    ps--I did not cut my hair either! I decided to get my ears pierced and then chickened out!

  7. Total badass. Plus, your parents interrogated you way past your bedtime.

  8. The Legend of Billie Jean is one of my most favorite quotable movies...mostly of Putter saying things like "When can I get a diaphragm?" and "She's nervous so she has to pee".

    Now that I think of it, I can totally hear YOU saying, "She's nervous so she has to pee".

    Anyway! You have me, once again, Laughing. Out. Loud.

    PS I <3 Simon Le Bon.

  9. OK, also? You have now just forced me to dig out my copy of Pat Benatar's "7 the Hard Way" CASSETTE (shuddup) which I thought I'd worn out in 1986 but apparently not. Still plays. Ha!

  10. S. Stauss - You got it, baby.
    JRose - The funny thing is, it wasn't until a couple of weeks late that he started complaining and his parents took him to the doctor. That is nuts, because I would have totally milked that injury to lessen my punishment!
    Marianne - When I was writing this, I was remember what jerks I thought my parents were, and then thought "that's exactly what I would do."
    Michelle - Thank you!
    Jo - With a capital B.A.
    Nicole - Dude. I know.
    MM - Especially since my mom thought I was a JT fan. :(
    MOV - It is scary, really. FREAKING OUT.
    Word Nerd - I know! I totally GOT THEM!
    Jane - I am going to get that stupid movie and watch it this week, lol.