Let me start this post by noting that my mother reads my blog. She occasionally leaves me little messages on my personal Facebook page putting me in my place after reading posts like the one about her chasing my brother and me around the house with wooden spoons.
I’m a bit lucky that so far she hasn’t sent me a gift from this website www.BoxOfShit.com.
But, I think after this post my luck will run out. So, mom…get up and just walk away from the computer. Go on….leave woman!!
Is she gone? OK, let’s do this.
So, I used to sneak out of my house with such regularity as a kid you’d think I was practicing for an Olympic gold medal in it.
I knew my parents nightly routine like the back of my hand.
9:10 – 10:36 p.m. – Fight like cats & dogs
10:36 – 11:21 p.m. – Father takes his drunk ass upstairs to watch HBO late night softcore porn
11:22 – 11:48 p.m. – Father passes out, mother follows suit.
12 p.m. – The house falls silent and the countdown is on till the coast is clear.
Waiting till the coast is clear for sneaking out is the hardest and longest time of your lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’d wake up to my alarm going off at 6 a.m. and screaming, “SHIT!!!!”
But one day I was digging through an old dresser in our guest bedroom and found this old-school clock that had an alarm only a mouse could appreciate. I set the alarm, put all my faith in it, and at 1:01 a.m. it went off.
I quickly snapped the alarm off and sat straight-up in bed listening.
My father was in his regular deep deep slumber which sounds like a mix between a 1920s broke-ass sawmill and two constipated virgin elephants trying to make sweet love.
My mother, she always slept like a rock. I can’t tell you how many times as a kid I’d run into her room frantically trying to wake her up to impart upon her the very exciting news that I was about to throw-up all over this lovely house of ours. By the time she woke up to my childish nudging and whispering, “mommy… I think I’m going to...” I would inevitably puke all over the floor and bed beside her.
A smile crept across my face as I knew I had found a way to get in sleep while also being able to escape for a while in the middle of the night.
The next piece was huge. Putting together the elaborate mental puzzle I’d created that when put together, revealed the exact locations to step when walking down the carpeted L-shaped stairs to freedom.
The key to it all…banisters. After three steps I could place my hands on both banisters and swing my anti-gymnastic-skilled-ass passed five steps and a half-landing.
The last three steps always squeaked the loudest so I had to turn around and take those them backwards so I could steady myself with my hands.
At that point…it’s game-on and I was out of there.
I never really had a purpose to sneak out at night. Very rarely would I meet-up with a friend. When I did it usually ended with them saying, “why in the hell are we doing this? I’m tired dude!!!”
My brother used to make the journey from time to time with me. But again, why? We get to hang out all day every day. Why waste sleep and risk getting caught to do it under moonlight?
So, I’d just walk or ride my bike. I’d go to the lake nearby and throw rocks from an old decrepit concrete pier. I’d occasionally leave a tennis ball in my girlfriend’s mailbox so she’d find it and think I was a badass rebel.
I experimented with smoking and alcohol.
But most importantly I was living that very moment of my life exactly how I wanted to live it. There were no rules. No parents. No one was watching.
Parents weren’t fighting. My father wasn’t asking me to make him drinks.
The escape I’d created in my room with music, my piano, writing poems, and reading lyrics had gotten so much larger. It was now filled with fresh air, endless roads and no boundaries.
But despite all the freedom and time alone with my brain, there was a tiny little piece of me that found motivation to sneak out of the house from the idea that I might get caught.
I figured, if I was caught, it would show my father that I was in control of me and capable of leaving his tiny kingdom whenever I wanted. I could defy him. I could break the chains whenever I felt like it.
And like that the night would be over. It was time to head home.
There was always this one corner that was six houses away. As soon as I turned that corner I’d have a clear shot of my parents’ bedroom windows.
Light on – I’m screwed.
Light off – Home free. Just make it through the front door and the rest can be explained by sleep walking.
In all the times I ventured into the night, I never came home to find a light on.
I never came home to find my mother and father sitting downstairs holding the letter I left on my pillow every time I snuck out that read:
I am OK. Nothing bad has happened to me. I snuck out of the house to just go for a walk and be alone. I know it’s very dangerous for me to do and I’m sorry.
I love you and will be home very shortly. I hope you will not be too mad and if you found this before dad woke up all I ask is that you don’t wake him or tell him until we talk.
A few times a year when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night I’ll get up, toss on the running gear and go out for a short three-miler. As my feet pound pavement I look at all the rows of houses dark and filled with slumber and I feel free again.
Free like a 14-year-old boy gliding through the streets of his neighborhood at 1:30 a.m. without a care in the world and nothing to lose.