when i was seven…i ran away.
i declared my intention to my parents. and my (then and still) wise father offered, while keeping smiles undercover, his assistance.
he could have stopped me. it was dark out. i don’t think fear and a healthy imagination would have allowed me much farther than the hedges that bordered our yard like dark green castle walls.
with pillow in hand, i slung a bilum (string bag) over my shoulder. my dad tucked the sleeping bag under his arm and walked with me through the front door. he matched his steps to my child’s pace and politely asked why.
i declared with all the outrage my broken heart could muster, “because kurto doesn’t love me anymore!”
my brother kurt was two years older but our unique childhood, often in a remote village months at a time, had made us much closer than most siblings. we were often the only playmate available and spent nearly every day of our young lives in each others company.
and kurt didn’t love me any more.
I don’t remember the quarrel that brought this on. i am honestly not even certain he said the words. but it was my conclusion. my hero brother had forsaken me and i could not face the rejection. it hurt too much.
my father took all of this in stride and slowly walked with me down the brown dirt road, a million stars overhead and my broken heart in his hands.
reminded me… of the history kurt and i had.
reminded me… that my brothers response had come from a temporary frustration or a knee-jerk reaction.
reminded me… that kurt had in the past shown his love for me in many ways, all of which i was compelled to reluctantly confirm. this was true.
slowly as we passed the reesink and james houses, my heart began to mend...
by the time we got to the davies and olsons…
my tears had dried and i believed the evidence placed lovingly before me.
and i didn’t really want to run away.
i wanted my holly hobbie room and my layers of blankets for the cool ukarumpa night and i wanted things to be right with my beloved brother.
my dad walked with me until i saw what he already knew:
I wanted… my fears to be heard, my hurt seen.
I wanted… my hope and trust restored.
and i wanted… to go back home.
to this day, i want to run when my heart is hurt….but i am learning to:
tell someone i’m going to run away. (preferably someone who loves me enough not to stop me AND enough to be truthful about what i am running away from.)
let them come with me if they want. (it can be lonely, even a little scary past the hedges.)
when they ask why, tell them. (sharing a burden is better.)
turn around when i remember that i don’t really want to leave. (it’s okay to go back home and unpack your bags.)
p.s. my brother still loves me.