Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Running

We were waiting for our parents after school one day, when we were six. Me and a friend. We alternately liked or hated each other, sometimes fighting in our sleep. My mother would wake up worried, but we were fast asleep, arguing. That was much later when we were in our teens. Although even young I was wary of her. It was the way she stroked my mother's hair, and wound it around her little fingers, eyes trying to gaze into my mother's. Her mother was flakey, and it made me boil with jealousy to think she was trying to steal mine.

So there we were, waiting. The other kids had all gone, their parents had come on time. Sometimes my mouth would just say things, surprising me as much as anyone. This was one of those days. "Lets run away," I turned to my friend. It was a thrilling thought. I lived more in books than out. I wanted to be like the adventurous children I read about. She took a lot of persuading, she didn't want to get in trouble. Finally I had her with me, always a reluctant step behind.

Up the stone path to the house where the nuns lived. It had an air of mystery, everything that was 'out of bounds' always did. Small finger purposefully pressing on the doorbell. We could hear footsteps from deep within the house. The door creaked open. She barely looked like a nun at all. Pale blue habit and matching dress, a homemade cardigan buttoned high. She looked more like a nana, than someone holy, who should pierce our hearts with awe. "We're running away," I piped up, maybe to impress her. "Oh children! Don't do that" she exclaimed with a thin, quavery voice "go home to your parents." We were polite until the moment the door closed. We ran off shrieking with the excitement of being so daring. Life felt more real than ever before. So this was how characters in books felt. We were powerful. I wanted to explore the public school across the road next. In a flash, the moment of happiness had turned, my friend started to cry. She didn't want to be told off.

Dutifully, back I went to meet the parents. There they were, relief relaxing their faces. "Who's idea was this?" Dad asked. "Hers!" We both crossed our hearts and argued and cried. Dad believed me. It was late by this time, so we stopped to pick up fish and chips from our favourite place. He got a big bottle of lemonade too. Everyone else enjoyed it, but I wasn't allowed. That was to teach me not to run away again. For months, every time my friend saw my dad, when he was at school to pick me up, or drop off some lunch, she'd run up to him, "it was Tui's idea to runaway, not mine" she'd try to convince him, the little sneak. But it was me he loved, and me he believed. I didn't run away again for over ten years.

6 Comments:

Blogger monicker said...

Nice. I never made it past the corner (I missed my cat).

12:05 AM  
Blogger Lx said...

what a horrible place to run away to.
a fucking convent!

8:16 AM  
Blogger Issy said...

I ran away more times than I care to count. I never went to a convent though! What a great childhood memory!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Too Dark Park said...

great entry Tui... i hope you're doing as well as you can.. please be safe...

5:01 PM  
Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Tui,

Love your spare writing style. What continent are you from originally? (if okay to inquire?)

I once ended up at the doorstep of a house where the nuns lived in Liechtenstein after being barred from a hostel because of curfew with a g.f. -- it was strange. We ended up sleeping under the bar area of an outdoor cafe/bar in the rain. Weird dreams, that night.

12:09 AM  
Blogger tui said...

Hi Erik, thanks for reading, to answer your question- I grew up in NZ, I've been living abroad for just 3 years. Golly gosh abroad is an odd word, it makes me feel like I'm snooty darling x

11:30 AM  

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