The Long Walk Home

It was six months after my move.  I missed all of my old friends, and my school had a day off that my old school did not have.

The distance between my old school and my new townhouse was…wait…I’m going to Mapquest this to be sure…4.71 miles.   I was in fifth grade, and my mother no longer worried about hiring anyone to watch my siblings and I during a day off of school while she was at work.  My sister was 16 and supposed to be doing that.

I wanted to see my friends.  I missed them.  We were writing letters back and forth, like pen pals.  I had them taped to my wall along with my old class photo and the individual school pictures of my old friends, like a shrine.  I was making friends at my new school, but these were the people who had known me since kindergarten.  I wasn’t an outsider there, I didn’t have to prove to these people who I was.  They just knew.  I craved that comfort, that feeling of ease.

I didn’t tell my sister or my mother what I was doing.  I simply set off. I wasn’t sure riding my blue bike would be safe to do down the busy roads that would take me from my new house to my old school.  I decided I would simply walk there.  I paid attention during car rides.  I knew the way.

I walked down the side of a major, divided highway for nearly three miles.  Cars whizzed past me.  No one tried to stop or seemed concerned that a young girl was walking down a busy road in the middle of a school day.   I walked.  I walked.  I walked.  And two hours after I left, I was there.

My teacher let me hang out with the class for a few hours; I remember going out to recess with them and going to music class.  Everyone seemed happy to see me.  I remember I played “Annie’s Song” by John Denver on my recorder; my new school had a stronger music program.  I wanted to impress them.   I wanted them all to think that I was somehow improving with the changes in my life.   And I felt safe, and comfortable and liked, for the whole day.  I was so happy I’d made the decision to do this.  One decision, one action, changed my whole experience that day.  I learned that I could take matters into my own hands, and change the course.  It felt GOOD.

I remember leaving before the end of the school day and walking back the same route I’d come.   I made it all the way home without a scratch, without a pause, without a hesitation.    I didn’t get in trouble; I don’t think my mother ever found out that I’d gone.

I was ten years old.


One Response

  1. I am at the window of your life……… is mesmeric.

    “One decision, one action, changed my whole experience that day. I learned that I could take matters into my own hands, and change the course. It felt GOOD”

    Some decisions even surprise your own self…….and you wonder why had you not done it before:)
    Looking forward to the next day.

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