Leaving Home As a Kid

“I wandered off as a kid, just kind of left. I never wanted to run away, nothing like that, but I liked being in my own head and staying there, alone.” Och squeezed the brim of his hat between his hands, bending the thick material together. “I remember once coming home from school, pretending to sleep, just so I could miss my stop. That’s how I thought. I had to pretend to sleep and wake up in case someone was watching. It was just…I just wanted to see where the bus went. I always got off at the same stop and I didn’t know where it went. I wanted to know where it went. And so I opened my eyes like, ‘Oh, no, I missed it. What do I do now?’ And there wasn’t anything. It was all the same, streets and stores and apartments. I stared out the window as we went north. And then it was only apartment buildings, wide avenues and then empty fields. The bus came to a turnaround and the driver asked me if I was lost. I told him that I had missed my stop.”

“How old were you?” Dee asked.

“I don’t know. I think maybe Grade Three.”

“You rode the bus alone when you were eight?”

“I did the same thing on the subway another time. I went to the end of the line. I collected a transfer from every station.” I stared into the water as if he could see his small hands clutching bits of colored paper. “I was never scared or anything. I was just getting off and on the train, collecting transfers. It was so great…like magic.”

Leave a Reply