Looking Back – A Runaway


I was awake in the middle of the night recently, unable to sleep, which is of course when my mind starts running full bore. For some reason, my mind when back to something I did in high school, something that has stayed with me ever since in certain ways.

I was a senior in high school. I had my first serious boyfriend. I had just gotten the lead in the school musical, Sandy in Grease. Great year, right? Wrong. I hated my life. Always the insecure one, high school was a terrible time for me. And then, when that year I was placed in a lot of classes with the popular kids I so feared and hated, life was miserable.

I don’t remember how it all started, but I know that one night I told my boyfriend that I was tired of it all and just wanted to get out and be an adult already. I think I insinuated running away and he got mad at me and talked me out of it. But a few nights later, he called me and said, “Let’s do it.” I don’t remember why except that maybe he had a fight with his parents – his father was a mean SOB.

We told a couple friends, who amazingly never told our parents, and we took off the next morning, me with what little I was taking in a pillowcase.  I left a note for my mom in the mailbox but I don’t remember what it said. (I have a lot of memory issues from childhood to early adulthood). We drove a few hours away to where he had some friends; we probably had about $400 between us.  Honestly, I don’t know what the hell we were thinking. When we got to his friend’s house, his mother was there and she talked my boyfriend into calling his mother to let her know where we were and that we were okay. He did – his dad got on the phone and told him that if we didn’t come home, he would report my boyfriend’s truck as stolen by us. To this day, I can’t imagine doing that to your own child. So, we started home. I ended up covered in hives from the stress of it all; my mother would later say she barely recognized me.

On the way back, we were on the freeway and I suddenly realized we were heading straight for a cement guardrail. I looked at my boyfriend and it was like he was in a trance!  I started screaming his name over and over in those few seconds before we hit that guardrail head on. It spun us back into traffic, we hit a few other cars and came to a stop in the middle of the highway. I remember the silence as I tried to figure out if we were alive. Everything was in slow motion. We were facing traffic and as I lifted my head, I think I was in a little bit of shock. My foot was sore and a little bloody but I thought I was okay. I looked at my boyfriend, remembering him heading straight for the guardrail and I had no idea if it had been an accident or if he had just tried to kill us.

My memory takes a large jump from there. I don’t remember getting out of the vehicle, I don’t remember the police or other people. My memory picks back up at a payphone a police car had driven us too.  We had to call someone to come and get us because the truck was totaled. He knew we couldn’t call his parents and I knew I had to call mine.  I don’t remember the call or where we waited the 3 hours till my parents could get there. I remember snippets of the ride home but not much. I know that my dad was angry and my mom, concerned.

My memory picks up again once I was home. It was late a night and my whole family was there. I told my mom I would not go back to school – I couldn’t face everybody. She and my high school counselor got my into independent study. Within a day or so, my boyfriend broke up with me – he said he couldn’t get over what he had done. My god – did he try to kill us?  He would never admit it, only saying that he couldn’t take the guilt.

Jump forward to graduation day and I wasn’t there – I ended up two units short and couldn’t graduate with my class. And it was all my fault that I came up short, I take responsibility for that. It was the first of many huge mistakes in my life, mistake I would make even though they were influenced, perpetuated even, by the actions of others, by the abuse of my childhood.

In thinking about all this, I am trying to remember WHY! I was smart, mature for my age and yet I made a terrible, stupid decision in running away. And I honestly do not remember why I felt that life was so bad that I needed to run away. Neither my boyfriend nor I were bad people, we never got into any trouble prior to our mistake. I think we were just bad for each other, toxic in each other’s lives. And I will never know for sure if the accident was intentional, but I have my suspicions.

I know that the abuse of my childhood affected me in many ways I hadn’t realized back then. I look back on that day that we ran away and I can’t even remember that girl, it’s like she was someone else, someone outside of me. I ended up with severe whip lash that  never got treated and would cause me great pain when I got older. I will never remember the whys and I honestly don’t even know why this was so in my mind the other night. We all have a past, things we wish we could change. I just wish we could understand them a little better. I jut wish my memory actually worked. I just wish…



14 thoughts on “Looking Back – A Runaway

  1. Sometimes, we just can’t realize the impact of the abuse and neglect we’d endured through as children until we’re older, for me, i couldn’t recall anything from the past until i was in my mid to late twenties…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A dreadful memory but it gives me an insight into how powerful you are. I am able to understand how you could get through all of this. One memory but it speaks so much of who you are today and the choices you have made. Your control, honesty, faithfulness, kindness; one memory explains it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a difficult memory. It sounds like a very hard one. I am so glad you survived. It is definitely possible you were toxic for each other. Or maybe he was dealing with something that he did not share with you?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. mmmmmmmmh. time machines….. You got a second chance. You were so lucky! Obviously you and your b/f at the time had different ideas. It sucks making decisions and having to live with the consequences but I wish can always be turned into I can… I am… I am doing … -I get those days wishing I did something different but I can’t go back and change it so all the things I should have done and wanted to do and still want to do. I am making it happen in my life today. I hope I don’t sound like some preacher. The past can suck big time. My memory is like a sieve. It’s scary but maybe its a good thing my mind won’t let me remember. Knowledge is power but so is ignorance is bliss. a double edge sword. xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yah, for some reason lately I have been struggling a lot with the whole wishing I could go back and change things but of course know I can’t” thing. I usually stay pretty level headed but sometimes my mind just reels…

      And you do NOT sound like a preacher – I need to hear it sometimes! Even the best of us gets stuck from time to time. For all the progress I have made, I sure fall back a little now and then and lately I have fallen back quite a bit. Thank you for your reassurance!!!


  5. This post is… wow. It’s powerful stuff, and very well written, too. I can’t imagine being in a situation like that; you are truly a survivor of the unimaginable, which is seriously badass. In regards to the fact that it just popped in your head– I get that a lot, too. It sucks, and I have no idea why it happens. But when it does, instead of thinking *what* happened, I try to think about *why* it happened, how it made me stronger, how I’m going to use it to get stronger. Keep hanging in there!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is it weird that I don’t consider myself a survivor in this particular incident? I never thought of it that way really. I always just thought of how much of an idiot I was. I still can’t get over how it doesn’t even seem like me, but just a totally different person.

      Liked by 1 person

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