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On Being a Runaway

Part 1 of the True Story of My Life

Growing up, I lived a seemingly perfect life with a perfectly normal family. Everyone knew we were not high class, but definitely not low class either. We were religious, but in a respectful manner, not a pious one. All of my friends, as well as myself, were homeschooled and hung out just like "normal" 21st century American kids: playing games, calling each other names (that our parents would approve of... never cuss words), and getting into typical childish arguments (about God's vast, unpredictable universe and the meaning of His words in our manual, the Bible.) Everything was normal and great on the outside.

When I turned 17, I began my first "secular" job: a server in a fast food restaurant. I quickly caught on to all of what was expected of me and soon was working (because of my flexibility with schooling) 40-50 hours a week. Before I was 18, I became an assistant manager and soon after, a manager. Yes, you read that right: a soon-to-be 18 year old manager. Answering questions from employees, handling complaints from customers, ordering trucks, counting inventory, training, hiring, firing AND taking orders... all while working on my high school diploma. The stress was heavy, but manageable, because I knew in the back of mind that, at the end of the day, I was still a kid and more job opportunities would arise in the future should I choose not to make a career out of the greasy burger business. I loved my job, but even more so, a person at my job. 

I should mention that working as much as possible really helped with my situation at home—the situation known as my dad. Recently unreligious and uncommunicative unless playing the blame game or speaking of sir Donald Trump, my dad was an amazing provider, but terrible at showing love. He was religious during my youth, but soon fell off and decided that no matter how many times his daughter, son, or even his wife begged, he simply would not eat our Sabbath dinners... or any dinner with us. The TV flashed with images of biased news and press conferences and my mother, brother and I were not to interrupt. When I would ask him why he was the way he was, I was met with a "you're the difficult one... not me!" My dad and I would constantly butt heads, much more than my mother or brother ever did, simply because I was and I am my father's daughter: hardheaded, stubborn, and unwilling to back down from an argument... no matter how hard that is to admit. 

Work became my escape, and a boy... well... a manager became my go-to guy. He was funny, kind, occasionally annoying, and most importantly, spoke to me about all of his passions. There's nothing more lovely than seeing someone light up when they talk about something they love, which in this case, was guitar.  I knew how to play a couple chords, but had never met someone able to identify a chord by its sound, name the type of wood on a fretboard, and obsess over the tone of the instrument. My strong, independent, "women can do everything men can do, but better" attitude soon found itself submitting to the butterflies in my stomach that came to life every time I got to see him. I was undeniably falling in the unavoidable trap called love. 

Religious people have the same love trap, but it's full of many more rules and regulations. Don't be with someone who is religious, but in a different way. Find a "religious-in-the-exact-same-way" man. Marry that man. Move out of your fathers' household to live with that man.  Have babies with that man. Die next to that man. Don't get me wrong, I agree that a husband should be strong in His faith, but disagree that he must follow the belief and all of its regulations perfectly. We are human. We all have our differences. 

Besides, the religion I was a part of was tiny and new, only having come to life in the last 100 years. What if my soul mate just so happened to be a guitar-playing, movie-loving Christian? Now, to make a year-long story incredibly short: my dad did not approve. Not only did he not approve, he did not listen. My "dad, I kind of like this guy" was met with a "don't you dare." An argument, a loud one, ensued, but I honored my father, like the Bible said, and told the boy that we could not talk anymore. He had mentioned that he liked me and would wait, but I did my best to cut him off, as painful as it was. For a month we barely spoke, but it was impossible not to laugh at his jokes with others at work. Impossible not to smile when he would. Impossible to act as if I was fine not talking to him- my best friend at the time. We began to talk and text again and my dad and I continued to grow apart. I never mentioned the 21-year-old manager again to my dad, nor did I mention anything. If he wouldn't listen to me, I would not waste my breath. Fire would only meet fire occasionally after that, and by "occasionally" I mean any time we spoke. My toxic household continued to deteriorate while my feelings for my co-manager flourished. {To be continued.}

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On Being a Runaway
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