leaving home

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?”

I nodded.

“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.”


5 thoughts on “leaving home”

  1. I grew up and stayed with my parents till that time they suggested—very gently—that it might already be a good idea for me to find an apartment near my place of work (Makati, we lived in Antipolo). It was, actually, a very subtle way of kicking me out of our house. And, after the “baby” in the story, there came 3 others. Gigi is now an executive in a bank. =)

  2. Wow, May, you remember all the details!? I did this, too, when I was three. But the only reason I remember is that it’s one of ’em favorite stories which get told at family gatherings. Unlike you, though, I used a bandana to tie my things (I also took two panties, I think. Just that 😀 ) in and actually found a stick. And intead of trying to leave stealthily, I went to where everyone was gathered (that was a lot of people — my dad’s mom and sisters lived with us) and announced, “I’m running away and never coming back.” Yes, I was a major drama princess 🙂 They just smiled and someone took me upstairs and unpacked my stuff. And unlike you, I lived with my parents until I got married 🙂

    1. Yes, because my dad loved to tell that story when I was younger, so it stuck. I could remember the details because they got reinforced with every retelling. But I could remember a lot of things from when I was three, actually, apart from the stories that, like yours, got shared at family gatherings. What’s funny is how similar the elements of our leaving home stories are–I think we picked that up from the cartoons we watched–the tied-up bundle of clothes, the stick (though I didn’t use any). Maybe it was Looney Tunes. I’m willing to bet it’s Looney Tunes. I think I remember Tweety going away with such a bundle. =)

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