It’s true I am a drop out, but even more than that I’m a runaway. Don’t bother with your words of sympathy. We both know it’s not your fault and bottom line is, there’s nothin’ you can do. Besides even if you said, “Oh, I’m so sorry” I know what you’d be thinkin’ something like “ You deserve it” or “ It’s your own fault for running away”. Believe me, I know I’ve heard it all before. Do you think I enjoy sleepin’ in doorways and beggin’ for food? I’ve been to hell and back again and I’m only sixteen.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I ever left in the first place. No, I didn’t have an abusive family or a drug addiction. I just wanted to get out. In fact, maybe my family was just a little too perfect! I had great parents and two older sisters.
My mom was great she was pretty, young and used to do so much for me. She worked during the day, but always made sure she was home from work before I was home from school. She would even have cookies waitin’ for me sometimes. She really was great except for her naggin’ me about school. I don’t think she meant to get on my nerves, but she did. She really only meant to help I’m sure.
Then there’s my dad; he’s a really great guy. He used to work all day, and then he’d come home and play catch with me in the yard. No matter how tired he was he’d always play catch. He wanted me to do well in school too, always wanted me to become a big business man like him one day. He was very hopeful.
My oldest sister is pretty cool. She’s very smart; she goes to Harvard. She always wanted to become a big time lawyer, now it looks like she’s really gonna do it.
My other sister graduated High School last year now she goes to some music college in New York. She’s an incredible musician; she plays the piano and the flute. She was always asked to play for peoples’ weddings and special occasions. Everyone loved her.
I was just kinda’ there. I was not really great at anything. I would just go to school, come home, go to bed and wake up again the next morning. I was so boring and routine. I wanted excitement and freedom. I hated school, I didn’t get along with any of my teachers, I hated the other kids. I was really bad at the grades part of it too.
So, freedom and excitement were what I wanted and exactly what I got. Now it’s pretty exciting searching for a place to sleep, scrounging through garbage cans for food. My shoes now have holes, my designer jacket (a Christmas gift from my mom last year) is torn and worn out. And my only pair of jeans is paper thin. My gloves are the only warm things I have. They were given to me by some nice old lady on the street. I especially like being woken up every morning by the cops tellin’ me to move on.
They always send me to shelters and I always leave. Those places are worse than the streets. The beds are practically on top of each other and it smells like a dump. Little kids are always runnin’ around cryin’ and their mothers’ just ignore them. Once I almost hauled off and smacked a kid when he tried to steal my gloves. I swear, every time I go into one of those places I walk out with one less possession, which I really can’t afford.
So, I tried the shelter thing and it wasn’t any good. Now I sit in doorways and I try to move around the city a lot, so I don’t become familiar to the other homeless people in each territory. Once they can recognize ya’ they try to reel ya’ in on one of their schemes. You know, drugs, prostitution, theft.
And once you’re in, you’re in for good. There’s no gettin’ out if you try to leave they come after ya’. I’ll never get involved in one of those deals.
Yeah, it’s hard on my own, especially when I see other kids with their parents, dressed all trendy.
I can just hear their thoughts when they see me.
“ What a loser, I’ll never become like that.”
That’s how I used to be, if ya’ asked me ten months ago I would’ve told ya’ I was gonna be a doctor. I never planned on being a bum.
I must be a huge let down to my parents. They’re probably real disappointed in me. I miss ‘em a lot sometimes. Now the idea of an eleven o’ clock curfew doesn’t sound so bad. I still remember my phone number. I almost called it a few times, but I lost the nerve. I can just hear my father scoldin’ me. It actually doesn’t sound so bad.
When I see people walkin’ down the street I can practically tell what they’re thinkin’ just by their expressions. Sympathy, disgust, fear. Some people try to pretend they don’t see me, but I’m here and they know it.
There’s not much else to say, I made a huge mistake and now I want to fix it. Where did I put that phone number again?