What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?

The whole truth and nothing but the truth…

I consider the year 2009 to be possibly one of the hardest years of my life, thus far. I was 15 years old, a sophomore. Going into high school, I only had a few friends. By sophomore year, that number dwindled until there was not a single girl I felt comfortable confiding in. I had a boy I fooled around with and he brought me into his world. We drank a lot of alcohol and he played a lot of games with my heart. I was nothing but a rebound to him but to me, he was my entire world. My family wasn’t much help during all of this. My brother was rapidly heading down the wrong path. My parents desperately tried to save him by sending him to an out-patient clinic. This wholeheartedly consumed my parents lives. With no friends, a boy using me to get over another girl, and a family hanging on by a thread, it’s no wonder I tried to run away…

Summer 2009. It’s late June. My brother is out with his friends while my mom  cooks dinner in the kitchen and dad watches the game. The air has cooled down from the day so it’s finally bearable to go for a run. As I start to lace up my sneakers, I stop and stick a $20 bill in one of them.

Up until this point, my summer has been miserable. I’ve done nothing but mope around the house. I’m too young to work and too young to drive. I have no one to talk to but my dog. Mom’s been picking fights with me lately and can’t seem to understand why my entire social life went down the drain. To be honest, I can’t really understand it either. That boy got back with his girlfriend about a month ago and my attempt to make new friends has been a painfully slow process. I have nothing left to lose. And where do people with nothing left to lose live? New York City. The train station is about a mile from our house and $20 is just enough for a one way ticket.

I grab my headphones and iPod and walk out the door without saying a single word to my parents. “What do they care?”, I think to myself. They’re always more concerned with my brother anyway. I put my headphones on and begin to run. I get to the train station in a matter of 10 minutes. I’m breathless, sweaty, and full of adrenaline. I forgot to look at the train schedule but I’m not concerned. It’s rush hour; trains should be heading through here at least every half hour, right? So, I buy my ticket and wait. When the train finally arrives, I hop on and find a seat next to the window. I have no money, no phone, and no plan but there I was, on my way to the big city.

Ok, that’s a lie. Here’s what really happened: I got to the train station, turned around, and ran home. When I got home my mom scolded me for not telling her I left the house. I ran up to my room and cried for the thousandth time that summer. But what if I had run away? What if I actually got on a train? What would I have done when I got to the city? Tried to contact my cousin? I had no money, just a good pair of running shoes. How would my parents have reacted? At what point would I have tried to call them? What if something happened in the city that would have altered the course of my life?

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