I wish I could say she talked me into it, or even that helping her was her idea. But for some reason, this time, I decided that helping her runaway would be fun. Dee and I had been best friends since we met in sixth grade. We helped each other through the roughest times of our teenage years, and we were partners in crime.
It was a beautiful night-cool breeze, clear sky and I was feeling happy and free. We were driving around in my blue eighty-seven Ford LTD. Which I didn’t care that it was just as old as I, or that a battery powered boom box had its place in between us on the seat. I picked Dee up from work around ten o’clock and we planned our night out. She was supposed to be home by ten thirty, but what’s the worst her mom would do? Dee didn’t plan on ever going back anyway. I on the other hand, had told my dad I was staying at a friend’s house around the block, although I planned on sneaking into my room later on that night.
We knew a guy who did piercings out of his house in a part of town that we referred to as the hood, and Dee wanted her eyebrow pierced. We saw no problem with this; who else would pierce a fifteen year old’s eyebrow without parental consent in the middle of the night? When we arrived, the house was poorly lit and smelled like dust. There was an old couch with a tacky pattern of flowers in one corner and a computer desk with a kitchen chair in front of it in another. Then there was a cart Dee sat in front of to get pierced.
I sat on the corner of the couch closest to the door, while Dee waited to get pierced. As he was cleaning and preparing, we were listening to the scanner in the background. The broadcast that came over the scanner said they were looking for two female runaways age fifteen, driving a blue Ford LTD. We denied that they were talking about us. Dee got her eyebrow pierced, threw up from the blood and we got out of there.
While we were enjoying our freedom, little did we know that Dee’s mom realized she never came home, so she called my dad to see if she was with me. My dad called my alleged location and I wasn‘t there. Because Dee had already threatened to run away, the cops were called. They thought we were running away together.
Now my gas tank was on empty and I had to get Dee where she was going so I could get home. We stopped at the gas station with only three dollars and headed out of town. Our destination was about thirty minutes away, except ten miles down the highway the three dollars in gas was gone. It wasn’t a busy highway, there was one house around but we got no answer. We decided to flag down the next car we saw to hitch a ride.
As soon as I saw the flashing lights, I knew I had made a mistake. At first I panicked and turned to run. After weighing the options, I decided I probably wouldn’t get far. The police officer asked our names and immediately knew who we were. He put us in his SUV, me in the back sitting next to his not so cute dog, and Dee in the front. With my palms sweating, my stomach in knots, and my heart pounding, I watched him search my vehicle and waited for the dreaded ride to wherever he was taking us.
As he pulled in my driveway, I was slightly relieved yet still scared to face my dad. I walked up the porch stairs with the police officer, my dad waiting for us at the front door. I was crying and waiting to get a scolding. So you can imagine I was surprised as he grinned and said, “Welcome home, kiddo,” as if he was making fun of me. And then I got grounded for lying about where I was that night.
The next night Dee tried to run away again and got locked up in the juvenile detention center. I don’t regret the experience because I learned a valuable lesson. No matter how much freedom I had, it was a privilege, and I had to earn it to keep it.