April 1, 2016 – The Little Runaway
After years of physical and mental abuse from a fuming father and unhinged family members, an eleven year old boy favored dying in the woods over the continuous torture he received at home…
So, early one morning, he stuffed a few belongings into a pillowcase and pedaled his spider bike away from the meanness machine, out into the four o’clock dark, towards a hidden stream where catfish jumped into Boy Scout frypans.
As the sun rose, he assembled a childish fortress with borrowed lumber from a nearby construction site and settled in for his newfound destiny. As it turned out, the catfish weren’t biting but the mosquitos were and, come evening, he escaped their nose drills by sneaking inside a newly constructed house where he slunk upstairs into a second story closet and fell dead asleep enveloped in the smell of sawdust.
Hey, running away is exhausting work.
Later that night, someone called from below and, groggy, he reflexively replied to his name. Quite abruptly, he was whisked away from his safe haven closet and scuttled back to the House of Pain. An intelligent lad, he said little to his rescuer, sensing no point in talking to someone who wasn’t listening.
When he arrived back at his Connecticut home, a police cruiser lit up the driveway with its flashing lights while his father strode out with a contorted face. He squeezed his son with a Show-And-Tell hug worthy of the police audience but a young officer demanded to know why the missing child had run away. The boy studied his father’s face and concluded immediately with all certainty that his life toed the line here.
That curious cop would eventually leave…
But Hoppin’ Pop would not….
And Lord knows what he would break across the poor child this time.
The youngster did not mention his daddy’s violence but made something up instead, opting to live another day.
And he did…
At sixteen he ran away again but this time he called it moving out.
If you haven’t guessed by now, that little boy was me. I relive this story from my past not to elicit pity but to share a defining moment in my life when I chose to stop being the victim and take action. Yes, many things are out of our control but many things remain within. Running away isn’t usually a viable solution but disengaging can be.
The important thing is this:
The more one answers to, the happier, prouder, and confident one grows.
The more one blames others, the angrier, more contemptuous and insecure one becomes.
Try not to spin the tail on the donkey even though there are plenty of jackasses to go around.
Just own it.
He sensed a need for speed, the mistake of escape, a rope of hope, but none of that made sense yet it all sounded as wise as the Gnarly Llama.