August 12, 2020

Are we Ever Too Old to Run Away?

I am very much a bolter.

I will stand and fight fiercely when I believe I am right or when I need to win, but at some point, I will want to run.

I don’t mean go for a jog—not with these magnificent breasticals—I mean run away. I have an overwhelming urge to isolate, hibernate, hide.

When I was four years old, I ran away. I packed a small, red vinyl suitcase with fresh pajamas, a teddy, and a pair of knickers. I stood in the doorway to the lounge and announced to my parents that I was “leaving home.” I recall that they smiled and said, “Okay.” And I got as far as the front door, where they could still see me. And then I lay on the wooden parquet flooring and cried until one of them, I forget which, picked me up and carried me back to bed.

I’ve no idea why I was leaving home, but I think it was probably to do with my two older brothers and needing space.

I crave solitude because with solitude comes silence, and with silence comes space to breathe, to be, to reflect, and to heal.

I’ve had a fairly tempestuous divorce and subsequent fallout, and it’s exhaustive and devastating and continual. The divorce took a mildly dysfunctional family unit and smashed it to smithereens, and I bear much of the responsibility for that. And now, 10 years down the line, all I crave is quiet, content, harmony, and for all to be calm, and, dare I say it, happy. So when minor or major upsets emerge, they reignite my flight default.

I wish I had a safe place I could run to. Just me and a windswept beach and a dog called Dog. I would while away the days in peaceful quiet, walking the dog called Dog and eating cheese. I would drink wine every evening in front of a log fire. I would half-watch crappy TV whilst contemplating a face pack or painting my nails. No deeds to do; no promises to keep. I would grow the hairs on my legs and take up knitting.

I would be known as “the mad dog woman,” and I would delight in it.

I would write when the mood took me and not chastise myself if it didn’t. I would have no phone, no internet, and no near neighbours.

Occasionally, I would need to venture into the nearest town for shopping. I would speak to no one and make no eye contact. I would buy one large chicken that would make me four meals. I would buy the exact same things every week. And when I leave the shop they would turn to each other and ask, “Who is she?”

And just like me, they will never quite know.


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