She waited an hour after the silver light beneath her bedroom door disappeared. Once she was sure her parents were asleep, Sara slid the window up. The cold air swished down into her lungs- crisp and chilly, she took a deep breath, turned around to take one last look at her beautiful room, clutched the backpack hard to her chest staring at the ground and then the sky, she looked at the black sky full of twinkling stars, wiped back tears, and finally mustered the courage to take the leap.
She landed like a cat, crouched, hands on the floor. ‘This is it’, she thought and paced towards the dark narrow lanes, imagining what would happen when her parents wake up and realize that their daughter had run away. She thought of how her mother would weep and her father, blame himself.
Sara had bright brown eyes, a face full of freckles and vivid, flaming red hair that she wore as a long mane. She is a 15 year old unpredictable and enigmatic girl who does only what her heart desires.
As she continues walking down the squishy street, her black coat drenched in water, gripping on her pepper spray so hard that her knuckles were white. Thinking of all the reasons that made her take the step and justifying her own actions. she hears swift but heavy footsteps. She increased her pace, confused if it was the cold winds or the possibility of a stalker on a dimly lit street sending chills down her spine. A voice called for her…. “Miss.” She froze there too scared to turn around. “Hello, Miss?” The boy repeated. Her heart was pounding, but she turned, “Yes?”, Sara said in a confident voice to not let the stranger sense fear in her tone.“Miss you dropped this.” The stranger was a young boy, perhaps 16 or 17? Blue eyes, shabby clothing. Sara breathed a sigh of relief. “Ah yes, thank you” she said bluntly while taking the handkerchief back into her hands.
It was drizzling again, the boy signalled towards the tin shed in the corner.
She stared at the stranger and for once started to swiftly walk towards the shed. “What must a lady like you be doing at such a place at such a time?” The boy interrogated. Sara was in no mood for a small talk. “None of your business,” she replied.
“I know you are a runaway” the boy said in a low voice. They both sat in silence on the bench beneath the shed. It was only after a moment or two she whispered “My parents don’t understand me”
Both looking at the rain fall.
“They never listen or care about my life choices. It is almost as if I am choking in my own house.”
The boy nodded knowingly. “Right” he blurted out. “And that led you to take such a big step”. He folded his hand and stared at her face and continued.
“Well, my father abandoned me when I was 5 and my mother is probably somewhere drinking with all the money I made yesterday. So, guess who isn’t winning the best parent award this year.”
They both let out a giggle.
He then narrated his story; “My father was a cheat and gambled away all the money we had. I was just 5 when I would hear my parents hurling abuses at each other whole night. One day my mother decided to leave him.” That’s when they moved to this town. “She worked odd jobs all week to provide for him. But things didn’t go as planned. Shortly after she lost her job, she became a drunkard. She used to come home drunk every other night and beat me up for no reason.”
He also told her that he had to drop out of school to work as a mechanic at a motor shop at the age of 14.
And their conversation went on and on as the night faded.
As the boy talked about the struggles he faced and the trauma that lack of family sent him into, Sara realised how wrong she was.
Now the sun shone on the horizon and the darkness began to subside. With the chirping of the birds came a new ray of sunshine, Sara had a new perspective. She was determined to face the hardships of her life and thankful to have a family to look after her.
Life is hard. It’s supposed to be. If we didn’t suffer, we’d never learn anything the boy said as they parted their ways to return to their respective realities.