From where I sat the house was the same. The bricks were the same as the ones my sister and I used to paint with water on hot days when there was nothing else to do. The tree that littered acorns all over the ground to torture bare feet looked no different. The shrubs that turned into magical jungles for my toys had not changed either. Something was different though from the view across the street.
I was barely a teenager and in an act of defiance and imagined wisdom, I had run away from the injustices of the home. An injustice that was so extreme that 20 years later, no matter how much I search my mind, I can’t remember what it was.
Across the street I sat and tried to build the courage to admit I was wrong and enter back into the family. The house and I were different now, changed. I reflected back to a book I had read about Huck Finn. He had faked his own death and attended his own funeral. He had been welcomed back into the family. I hadn’t done anything quite that bad. In fact I am pretty sure that the mother of the friend that I had stayed the night with had called my family to tell them of my appearance while she served me spaghetti.
Yet as I slow walked to the front door, I was terrified. The garage was open as it always was. The door that led into the house from there was always unlocked. Our family was used to the neighbors dropping by for a visit. It’s how it worked in our neighborhood. Dear friends and family always used the garage door, but I wasn’t part of that now. I had chosen to walk away from that classification. The front door with its deadbolt loomed in front of me. Because of my choice I would have to knock and wait to see if the door was opened.
A heavy wood door with no glass except a tiny peep hole. If I knocked would my mom or dad be peering through that peep hole, judging me to see if I deserved to be let in? Would they scoff at the audacity of my return and turn away?
The door was opened.
To this day I don’t remember what I said or what they said. I don’t remember if I was hugged or if I ran to my room. I’m sure there was a lecture, but I don’t remember a word of it. What I remember is the door was opened and I was let back into the house. All thoughts of the house looking strange from across the street disappeared as I walked across the familiar carpet. My hand rubbed the familiar wood of the bookcase that I always touched as I walked by and my room felt the same as I flopped onto the bed.
Although I made the choice to walk away from the house, the door was opened on my return back into my family. The view from across the street was strange that day, but the feeling when I walked back through the door was home. Years later I still use the front door when visiting my parents. I knock and I wait. There is no fear now because I know the door will always be opened for me. I use the front door because there is no better feeling than being welcomed home.
Categories: teenage runaway