When I was six, I ran away from home. I packed my favorite doll, Betsy, into my red vinyl purse and hit the road.
Soon after the screen door slammed behind me, I encountered a problem I hadn’t anticipated. My parents forbade me crossing the street alone. What to do?
I asked Betsy. Maybe now is the time to mention that Betsy was a “Flatsy,” one of those popular dolls of the 1960s with the disconcerting combination of luscious, shiny, three-dimensional hair attached to a flattened head and body. Betsy looked like she’d been run over by a steam roller. She did not encourage me to cross the street.
So I circled the block a few times, trying to work up the courage to ignore Betsy and to break my parents’ rule. I couldn't do it. After what seemed like an hour and was probably more like twenty minutes, I returned to the house and slunk in the side door to the kitchen. There sat my brother, licking his fingers. “We just had cinnamon toast and you missed it,” he crowed.
I don’t recall the reason why I ran away but I do remember the sadness I felt at failing to simply cross the street. That nothing changed while I was gone. That I accomplished nothing. That Betsy was dumb. It is one of those bittersweet memories of childhood.
Lately, I've been fighting the urge to run away. I'm restless. I need time alone to write longer pieces.
So if you would excuse me, I'm going to circle the block a few times. Maybe I'll even cross a busy street. What I mean to say is that I’ll be blogging less frequently. But please, go ahead and enjoy your cinnamon toast while I'm gone. I don't mind.
Photo by Caroline Hernandez