The very first time I thought of running away from home, I was only four years old.
My dad had scolded me for something I did. (I think I fought with my sister.) I was very upset because my dad was angry with me and not my sister. I was in tears and feeling very melodramatic about it. I thought perhaps he didn’t love me anymore, and he loved my sister more. So I thought of leaving home.
And i remember it clearly: I remember getting a cloth diaper (disposable diapers were not yet popular)–the sort that was made of a cloth they called bird’s eye–and laid it out on top of my bed. Out of my closet I got one undershirt and two panties (the lacy, frilly kind) and laid them out on top of the diaper.
I gathered two opposite corners and tied them together, and after that, I tied the remaining corners together. I was looking for a stick, but didn’t find any, and so I slung my little bundle over my shoulder like a bag.
My dad was waiting for me at the foot of the stairs. I sighed (just like I saw them do it in the movies) and sat at the top of the stairs. My dad went up and sat beside me.
“So, ” he said, “you’ve really made up your mind, huh?”
“You’re going to leave Daddy, Mommy, Gigi and the baby?”
I gave another big sigh, and nodded.
“But I don’t want you to go. Everybody’ll miss you.”
I didn’t say anything. I wanted him to be really sorry for being angry with me, and I wanted him to beg me to stay.
“So, are these the only things you’ll bring?” he asked, referring to my tiny bundle. “You’re not bringing much clothes, are you?”
“Nope,” I shook my head sadly. I wanted him to say he loved me and that he will not be angry with me–ever. And that he’d be happy if I didn’t go anymore.
“Well,” he said. It was his turn to sigh. “It seems that you’d already made up your mind. Mommy will be heartbroken. And Gigi won’t have anybody to play with anymore. And I will surely miss my little darling.”
I nodded and waited. And held my breath.
“Well, “he said, finally breaking the silence, and standing up. “Let Daddy get you a cab, at least.”