4 Miles of Freedom

Something I saw on Facebook inadvertently triggered a memory.

It wasn’t a bad memory. I would have liked it better if I had the memory at a time other than 3 o’clock in the morning, but I guess some things are just out of my control.

I went to a private high school in another town. It was another way my mother distanced me from people. My father would always drive me to school. For some reason, I don’t remember what exactly, my father couldn’t drive me to school for a few weeks (I think it was work-related). So I had to take the bus. The first few times, my mother went with me. Then she would just walk with me to the bus stop (about 6 blocks) and stay until I got on the bus.

One day, I was feeling rather rebellious. I didn’t want to take the bus. I just wanted to experience freedom. So I took a chance. I told my mother I was going to be okay and she could go. The bus was right down the avenue. And by some miracle, it worked. I had my chance. She turned away and as the bus came to a stop, I ran around the corner.

I was free. My heart was pounding, I was carrying a book bag that probably weighed at least 20 pounds, but I was free. So I walked. My school was over four miles away and up a hill, but I walked. For that hour, I got to experience some normalcy. I was still afraid. Afraid my mother was going to find out what I had done, afraid someone would see me walking and tell my parent. But none of that mattered. I still did it. I broke the rules because I wanted to be free.

By the time I got to school, I was covered in sweat and exhausted from the trek. But I felt empowered. I had done something that in some way I knew was wrong, because I had disobeyed my mother’s rules. But it didn’t feel that wrong to me. It felt right.

I wonder if I channeled that same part that made that brief escape walking to school, when I made that permanent escape from my mother’s prison.

It’s funny, as afraid as I was (and still am, in some ways), there was always a part of me that fought through the fear and moved towards freedom. It’s that part that got me to where I am today. Where would I be now without it?


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