I had to get 23 bucks for the bus ticket to providence I was tellin you about yesterday.
Hey mom? Marks wants to take me to Benihana tomorrow for a late lunch after he gets off work before my visitation is over. Is it cool if I go with him?
My mom and dad exchanged looks.
That’s not in the contract.
I haven’t seen him in like three years.
More looks exchanged.
Can I borrow like twenty-five bux? To pay for my meal?
More looks exchanged.
Something was off.
Did I blow my cover?
Was I too forthright?
My mom nodded her head.
I called Marks.
Yeah it’s me.
Dude! We all thought you were dead!
Well I’m not. Look. I need you to come pick me up tomorrow at 5PM.
Yeah man. Come and get me tomorrow, okay? Please. I need you to. I need this bad.
Yeah I’ll come right after work (he worked with his dad, his dad was a pediatrist).
I’ll see you tomorrow.
He was excited to see me, and i was too… but truth be told, it had been so long since I had been kicked outta high school and locked up in the weird system of rehabs and boot camps that I had no friends. Everyone forgot about me… at least that’s how it felt when the letters all stopped after six months.
I had a goal.
To GET OUT and to GET TO FLOWER.
That night I packed up a backpack- my favorite books- Khalil Gibran, William Blake, On the Road and a couple others, a blanket, my journal and a calling card I found in my room and a hippie hoodie.
I kung-fu stepped down the hall, past my parent’s room, down the stairs, through the kitchen, around the bend, down the basement stairs, to the door that lead to the garage and used my old technique to bypass the alarm system… which was I flipped a switch. That bypassed that door.
Not very savvy, but it worked.
I opened the door quietly, then hit the garage door opener. But I only opened it a tiny bit, just enough for me to slide under and get outside. It was a real noisy garage door, so I didn’t want it makin all that fuckin noise at 2AM.
I ran down my parent’s really long driveway to this big rock that was kinda near the mailbox, by the edge of the cul-de-sac, at the end of the driveway. My parent’s house was the last house on the street. Anyway, I stashed my backpack under that big rock and then ran back under the garage door sliver up the stairs past my parents room and back into my room and closed my eyes.
The next day Marks arrived right on time.
It was 5PM. The bus left at 6PM. I had little time for error.
My mom asked me
You’ll be back before dinner right? We’re gonna celebrate Eric’s birthday tonight [with a smile on her face as if life was finally getting better]. Eric is my brother. It happened to be, ironically, his birthday on that very day. He was turning twelve. I felt like a piece of shit running away on that day, but if I didn’t leave right then I’d be fucked and back at that place by tomorrow night.
No way. I had to go.
Still, that pierced my soul. Life was far from getting better… in fact, life was about to get as bad as it had ever been for the family.
I didn’t want any of this, but I had to. I couldn’t go back to that place.
What am I saying?
I thrive off chaos.
I wanted to be Jack Kerouac.
I wanted to live like he lived.
I couldn’t imagine what it must feel like to not have to ask a guard to go to the bathroom.
I just wanted to run and never stop.
This had to be done.
So I lied right to her face and said
Yeah mom, of course I’ll be back for dinner.
Then before I got in Marks’ car, I checked behind us to see if my mom was watching, then ran behind the big rock, grabbed my backpack and got back into his car.
What the fuck are you doing man? HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU?
Dude drive. Please.
I need you to take me to Hempstead. To the Greyhound station. I can’t explain, but I need this bad.
I hadn’t realized my other friend… Rob, from CHAPTER ONE: OVERNIGHT SUCCESS, he was in the passenger seat. They both looked at me like ‘why are you not happy to see us and why are you yelling at us and why the fuck do you need to go to… Hempstead?’ which is kinda a shitty neighborhood in Long Island. A neighborhood we didn’t really, well, go to.
Marks and Rob didn’t look too happy.
With a large sigh, Marks looked at me and said
I can’t do that man, what are you… are you like… gonna run away? From home? AGAIN?
You don’t get it. I’m not home. I have to go back tomorrow if I don’t do this.
But you’re almost done! Why don’t you just talk to your parents and ask if you can stay—
My ears turned off. To try and explain the situation felt like moving a boulder off a crushed car with a broken elbow. I just couldn’t put the strength together to go through it all. There was no way to truly explain.
Man I can’t do that. What the hell is going on? I haven’t seen you in years man and now what? You’re just gonna… run away and live where? On the street?
Dude. You’re not thinking right.
I have someone waiting for me there.
Look man. Are you gonna take me or not? I’m getting out the fucking car right now if you’re not.
And so he took me, but before I got to the bus station, he turned around and handed me a hundred-dollar bill.
I’m gonna make it back tomorrow, you need this much more than I do.
And so I took it.
He drove away with a look on his face like I was the biggest idiot in the world.
Maybe I was…
I didn’t know the outcome of what I was about to do, but I knew my goal.
Get to Flower.
Never go back.
Those were my three goals.
I walked into the hood-Greyhound station and bought my first ticket on the Greyhound. Providence, Rhode Island.
AND, now, I had a hundred bucks to spare.
But shit was about to get wild.