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When I was 13, I ran away from home and hid in my friend’s basement for a week. My parents weren’t bad or anything, I was just bored and wanted to see what would happen. The police were called, my name was in the paper, and because I was in the basement watching MTV, I never knew how zonked the whole thing had gotten. Then my friend (who had been feeding me food from upstairs) said she was afraid she’d get put in jail for hiding me, so I left that night.

I cut up my clothes, smeared mud on my face, and rolled in some thorns to look all scratched up. Then I came home, and pretended I had escaped my captors, and when the police started interviewing me, I acted like I was too scared to testify or say what happened (I couldn’t think of anything that sounded real enough), but I did say, “I can’t say anything, they will come get me and kill my family,” like I saw a girl in a TV movie do once. I never cracked, and they finally dropped the issue. I saw court-ordered therapists for years.

To this day, my parents don’t know. They have a scrap book of the whole ordeal, and I refuse to look at it because of the horrible guilt, although my family thinks its because I am “still scared the kidnappers will come get me.”

I am 39.