Monday Dare: Running Away? Pack well. Trust me.

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Share. Celebrate.

Remember that one time an essay I wrote ended up in a book? And some of you bought the book and I felt so goddamn lucky to know such awesome people? And other people *didn’t* buy the book, but I still felt so goddamn lucky to know such awesome people? Probably a little less awesome in my eyes now…but still a fairly good amount, so don’t worry.I’ve been looking forward to sharing this essay with you. We’ve gotten to know each other and like each other and commit crimes with each other. Wait, not the last one. Not yet anyway.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being my friend.


“I am running away. I want you to have my CDs. Don’t scratch them.”

What did I know as an 18-year-old? I knew that I was pregnant. I knew that I was going to be a single mother. I knew that my parents wanted me to terminate my pregnancy. If I could just withstand their incessant prodding for five more weeks, I would pass the six-month mark, and the procedure would be illegal. I knew that I was running away. As soon as my best friend pulled into the driveway, I knew I would be without a home, without any money, and without a plan for the next five weeks.

I made the decision to run away the day before. I didn’t have to wait long for my chance. As soon as my mother left for the grocery store, I quickly called my best friend and I packed two garbage bags. With a teenager’s lack of forethought, I stuffed every pair of shoes I owned into one bag and three sweatshirts into the other plastic bag. I didn’t pack a clean change of underwear or any pants.

The only possessions I had given any thought to were my CDs. Every last cent I earned from odd jobs went into purchasing those CDs. They represented all my careless adventures and frivolous youthful indulgences.

I never let anyone touch them, but I knew I couldn’t bring them along. They would get lost or stolen while I shuffled around from one place to another, so I decided to leave them to my brother. But I didn’t trust him, and I couldn’t just leave them on his desk, lest the significance was lost on a 16-year-old. I decided to write a note.

“I am running away. I want you to have my CDs. Don’t scratch them.”

In that moment, as I wrote that note, I knew I was leaving behind any vestige of youth. I was stepping into adulthood.

I walked out of my childhood home with two garbage bags. As the car drove further and further away, I  couldn’t help but turn around and look one last time.

“He better not wreck those CDs.”

I never lived in that home again.

My daughter, Cal, recently turned 12.

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