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I was free, once

A long, long time ago, for a very short time, I was free. Free to think of only me, free to do whatever I felt like when I woke up. My days were mine, all mine. It’s an amazing feeling, one I’ll never have again.

Growing up I was a very responsible child. My room was always neat as a pin, I obeyed everyone, always did as I was told, without question. Around 13, my pop-pop moved in with us. I adored him and him me. My parents still liked to go out, dinner, coffee, food shopping, whatever. So it fell to me to keep an eye on pops. Not a big deal, but responsibility just the same. I was never told what to do if something bad ever did happen. I guess my parents figured I could handle it.

As I got older I did not get a longer leash. I hardly ever was allowed out, if I went to the football game Friday night that was it for the weekend. No proms, nothing. I was an A student and never once got in trouble.

Finally, in my senior year I’d had enough. I couldn’t go to college bc my mom said I was too young. So I left.

My boyfriend at the time was a year my junior and we were both in the hall between classes. He had a car. We were in Ohio by dark.

We didn’t really have a destination. We just had a small amount of money and a car. And Pink Floyd. The Dark Side of the Moon on cassette. It became the soundtrack of my freedom.

We finally ran out of money in Amarillo, Texas. We’d had quite a few adventures on the road! We found a twin house to rent, and jobs at the same place, that we could walk to.

We were there close to 30 days before my traveling companion got jealous of me talking to some guys and called his mommy. She called my parents and within days they had descended like locusts. It was awful.

The mornings sitting by the window feeling the warm sun, the evenings laying awake listening to distant train whistles, all gone.

Going to work, at a job I liked, mixing it up with people I barely knew, gone. Waking up on my day off, lingering in the claw foot tub debating what to do that day, all gone.

I got dragged home. I got a job at an insurance company. I met a guy 5 years older than me, he married me (60 days after we met). We had our first child a little over a year later, our second 11 months after that. By the next year we were divorced and I was left to raise two kids alone. That was 1983, I was not quite 21.

Before those kids were grown I remarried, and had another child.

Those fleeting days of freedom were the only ones I’ll ever know. But sometimes, like right now, I put Pink Floyd on my MP3 and I’m transported back….