Did you ever run away from home? Almost everybody I know did at one time or another. I suppose we all feel unwanted, misunderstood, or ignored at even the most well-behaved little girls have a desire to punish their family, or at least make them stand up and take notice. I did too.
My friend Betty said she wanted to run away, but her Mom said, “Get the suitcase, I’ll help you pack.” Bonita ran down to the end of the driveway, but she didn’t know which way to turn, ’cause her best friend was Dougie, across the road, and Mom and Mrs. R visited every day. Deanna ran away down to Clete’s. Cleta’s Mom fixed liver for dinner, so Deanna came home.
I don’t know what made me do it. Maybe Bonita was too busy with Doug and Tommy. Maybe Mom yelled at me for a messy room. Maybe Deanna talked me into playing Monopoly with her one day. I hated that game, ’cause it lasted so long, and that was way too much sitting around waiting. Just like those musicals Deanna liked to watch, a whole lot of waiting for the action to come around. Besides, Deanna liked Monopoly so much she loaned everyone money, and let them get to Go, just so the game would last longer. That was against the rules, but I didn’t know that, ’cause Deanna was the rule-keeper, and she knew everything about Monopoly.
Anyways, I got mad, screamed and yelled, and then sat down and bawled until my breath came out in stuttery sobs. Deanna said I better straighten up ’cause Mom and Dad were going to send me away. “You need to be in an insane asylum,” she said. “They don’t know what to do with you, you are so emotional.”
“You’re lying.” I stuttered back between sobs. I never heard of an insane asylum, but it must be someplace where kids went when they were too much trouble; like Little Orphan Annie, maybe.
“If you don’t believe me, just go ask Mom.” Deanna shot back. I was pretty sure she was lying, but at the same time, I was afraid to risk the truth. So I hatched a plan to just leave. I was a pretty smart little girl, so my plan was different from the runaway anyone else planned.
I packed a bag, climbed out the window, and just sat there on the roof, reading a book. Of course nobody missed me until it was time for me to do my job that week: setting the table. Bonita ran around the house calling my name and going ‘ooowwoo-ooout; in that high-pitched-almost-scream that she did ’cause she never learned to whistle. Deanna came upstairs looking for me. I could hear her calling when she looked under the bed, and when she knocked on the bathroom door. I guessed somebody else would be setting the table for supper this day; probably Deanna, ’cause Bonita would volunteer to look in the barn for me. She hated indoor jobs more than I did. My stomach relaxed down a little, knowing that somebody was suffering ’cause I wasn’t there. I heard the melamine dishes thunking together hard, ’cause Deanna was mad.
The shadows laid long on the rooftop and the breeze rustling the pine boughs together told me twilight was coming soon. Plus the aroma of pot roast with potatoes and carrots drifted up the stairs and out the window. I wanted everybody to miss me, so I stayed put. I heard Mom yelling out the backdoor for us to come to supper, then that familiar slap of the screen door as everyone traipsed in and took their place. Not me. I was gone from that family.
“Where’s Deli?” Mom said, which was followed by a bunch of dumb, ‘I don’t knows.’ I could see in my imagination, everybody looking at each other and shrugging. Then a bunch of chatter about who saw me last. Even Deanna’s voice sounded a tinsy bit worried. I was missed. Nobody got supper until I was found. Okay, so now I knew I had a place in this family. How could I get out of this mess, without getting into trouble for just sitting there while everyone was worried sick about me?
I climbed back through the window, unpacked my suitcase, and got into bed puling the covers up over my whole head, then I pretended to be asleep. I knew not to fake snore, or close my eyes tight, like when I was in kindergarten.
Mom came up and sat down on the bed. “It’s time for supper.” I pretended to just wake up. “We were worried about you.”
“Really? I was up here the whole time, reading.” I yawned, which wasn’t exactly a lie, but not the truth either. I guessed it was good Confession was every Saturday morning. In the meantime, I said a quick Act of Contrition, just in case I died before Saturday.
I never did ask Mom or Dad about the insane asylum. I worried about it though, because I must admit, I was kind of an emotional little girl. Now I think Deanna was still mad at me for throwing her Tiny Tears down the stairs and cracking her skull down the middle of her face. She never did forgive me for that.
My little sister Marcia taught me something about myself, long after I was no longer a little girl. . Marcia’s smart enough to knows the right way to describe her temperment. We’re not emotional…. We are passionate women. I have a sneaking suspicion all my sisters are at one time or another. Nobody goes to the insane asylum for passion. Do they?