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I think we all have a time when our parents are trying to make us do something, and threaten to kick us out if we don't. One time...

"Do as I say or get out," my mother told me.

Okay. I got out. An hour later, my suitcase was packed, and I left. I'll never forget their shock, the look in their faces, knowing they probably didn't really mean it, but also knowing they wouldn't take it back. I surprised myself, just leaving like that, having never left home without some family before. A 16 year old out in the world without knowing where she'll end up.

It wasn't a new thought. The summer before I spent up in Berkeley where my sister was going to school. There I felt my first freedom. Freedom from my family, freedom to be myself. The clock would finally hit about 2am, and I'd be sure my sister was asleep I'd quietly crawl out of bed, pull on a coat, and wander the streets of Berkeley until sunrise. It never occured to me that this wasn't the safest place for a 15yr old girl to be wandering alone. And if it did, it wasn't important enough.

Even before then the thoughts of running away were on my mind. I came up with an idea to steal my parent's car and just take off. I had no money, so instead I packed my bags full of Ramen noodles and potato chips, not thinking whether it would sustain me or what I would do. While nobody was home one night, I grabbed the keys to the second car, pulled out the bags I had packed days before, and off I went.

Unfortunately, while sitting there in the driver's seat, I realized I didn't know how to drive. After attempting to a few times and being thoroughly frightened someone might find what I was doing, headlights from my parents coming home came into view. I never tried that again.

And so, when my mother told me to get out, I did. And I didn't hesitate, although I questioned in my mind what the hell I was doing while I packed those bags. That I was going to school and I would miss it. That I might never see my friends again. The only thought that meant enough was that I needed to get out of there. Out of the city where more memories were bad than good, and some of them were still so close I felt like I was suffocating. It amazed me my whole life could fit into a suitcase. But it did. And off I went, into the night.