You've got your hands on the bag you're going to run away with, and you're racing around your room cramming stuff into the bag.

Today you have decided to run away.

You've heard about kids who ran away from home. Today, you understand how each of these other kids felt as they sat at a table in the school cafeteria, or in a bedroom at home, or at a friend's house, or looking out a bus window, and decided this was the day to stop talking and start walking.

There's some room left in your bag. What are you going to take with you? How long are you going to have to carry it? How much stuff can you carry for an hour? How much stuff can you carry all day?

Maybe you have to leave a lot of your favorite things behind, things that mean a lot to you, like the music you like, your favorite posters, or pictures of people you like. Of all your stuff, what do you absolutely refuse to part with?

As you scour your room picking and choosing what to take, you calm your nerves by thinking about how much better things are going to be when you get out of here.

Are you going to bring any food? There's a box of chocolate cupcakes in the kitchen.

You put it into your bag. How much food can you bring? How long do you think you're going to be away? Are you going to be away for the rest of your life?

What about money? You should bring some money. Can you get your hands on some money? Maybe it's all yours. Maybe some of it belongs to other people in the house. Tough. This is an emergency situation.

All packed.

Now you're standing on the curb in front of the place you live. Your bag is at your feet. A chilly wind blows through your shirt. You sort of want to go inside, but the inside you're accustomed to is exactly what you're trying to get away from. You're setting out to find a new inside, another place to be warm. That's what this is all about anyway, isn't it?

What is this all about?

Why are you doing this?

Do you really need to ask yourself why? You know why. You've known why for a long time. You haven't told anybody, though. It's your secret. You hold it as tightly as you grip the strap of the bag at your side.

Standing out here, you feel sort of brave. Your stomach churns with acid. Your heart pounds, and blood rushes through your body and your head in crazy directions. You're a little dizzy.

This must be how soldiers feel in war, crouching in a ditch. Bullets whizzing everywhere and the soldier knows he's got to leap out of the ditch and scurry across the road. Yeah, he's scared; but he's gotta do what he's gotta do. Gotta get to the other side.

This is the kind of bravery that a real hero will admit to, while a TV hero plays it cool like nothing bothers him at all. When it's all over, most real war heroes confess. For a moment, while the bullets were flying through the air, they weren't sure whether they were going to leap out of the ditch and scurry across the road or sit there and pee in their pants.

But you're not a soldier: no whizzing bullets, no ditch. You're just this kid. And things around you aren't the way they ought to be. They haven't been right for a while. And you're tired of it. And you're finally gonna do something about it.

Aren't you?

You'll go to a friend's house.
Go to #2.

Go to a motel. It'll cost you some money, but it'll buy you time to think about what you're going to do.
Go to #3.

You'll take the money and ride a bus somewhere.
Go to #4.

You're gonna turn around and go back inside your house.
Go to #5.
home page
buy the book
about the author
a note for
and counselors