the first time I left home was totally unplanned
I'd woken up to a radio report on a friend and classmate who was missing - she did that occasionally - then arrived at school to find her sitting on a step
"Hold on," I said, anticipating an adventure, "I just need a few things from home."
A few hours later, we tweens were trying to convince another friend's older, cooler, not necessarily legit brother (but a big brother after all) that we could handle being in Auckland on our own.
At the time, I thought it was a friend who turned us in - in hindsight, it was probably the big brother.
The police arrived and were surprised to find me - I was at school as far as anybody knew - but we were both taken to the station. Where we were strong, and staunch, and invulnerable, until they separated us.
I, being a storyteller even at that age, and having run away (not very far, I admit) without thinking it through, told the police a story cobbled together from news reports and bad fairytales, of evil stepparents and goblins and not being loved.
My mother didn't even know I'd run away when the police contacted her to say they had found me. When she came to get me, they suggested she take me home and beat me as I'd said the goblins often did.
Once I realised I could leave, I continued doing so.
I learned to be better at surviving - recognizing the good and bad options and the good and bad advice.
One of those was being taken to a job interview at a massage parlour by a "friend" and realising I'd rather be waiting tables, then realising that waiting tables, and doing it well, was nothing to be ashamed of.
I guess I gave up the "easy" options around that time . . .