. For the first time I saw my Mother lose her composure with someone other than her children. It was volatile and dramatic but most of all exhausting. I stayed away as much as I could, which was fine with her. She still tried to match me with men. As much as she tried I balked. There was a bartender with a drug problem in his early thirties, an EMT who drank also, over thirty. I was seventeen, I felt hunted. I didn't want attention from men, especially older men. I just wanted to be a kid. To go to football games and cheerleading; mostly just be as far away from her as I could get. There was an argument around then, between she and I. I don't know what it was about, but it was big, and I walked out. I didn't go far, just to the porch steps to sit and fume, out of her sight.
It had been practice for my own leaving. When I finally left I walked out with the clothes on my back. I walked for miles to get to a phone to call my Best Friend T to pick me up. I stayed with her family for a month or so. As friends, we were close, although like everyone else in my life she knew nothing of my childhood. We had more important things on our minds than the past. She had been given a car and it gave us freedom. We played the radio loud as we sped away from parents and rules. We were seventeen and the world was ours. It didn't take long for my Mother to try clawing me back. I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't speak to her for weeks. I cut her out. She, of course, would have none of it. She wasn't one to give up easily and she convinced T's mother to arrange a meeting. It was more of an ambush, really. My mother had a new plan. If I wouldn't come home, I could stay at a family friend's. That was the only way she would agree to me leaving. I liked T's house, but her parent's fought as much as my Mother and her new husband did. Maybe she was right, her way was better.
J was a widower, which is probably a big part of why I agreed to go. I didn't particularly want to be around another man. A house of females seemed safest to me. There was a new freedom at J's, she didn't tell me what to do and seemed to like the company. In the eight months or so that I lived there I never felt comfortable, or that I belonged. But it was a place to stay and I was grateful. My grandfather renewed his efforts to get me to come live with him. I said I would after I graduated. It wouldn't be long and he started getting the packets ready for school. You see, he set aside my college tuition. All of it; no matter what I wanted to do. I had no idea what I wanted to do, or be. Someone had always run my world.
T had a boyfriend, who was a sailor and we began hanging out at his house with him and his roommates. We played cards and had barbecues. One night we decided to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show, I hadn't seen it and had no idea what I was in for. Somehow there was a argument between myself and another friend's boyfriend that had tagged along. He reached over right before the end of the movie and grabbed my breast. Before I even had time to think, I smacked him, hard. I was supposed to stay the night at her place and she got so angry that she left us both standing in the parking lot. I was stranded. T wasn't going home, but I could stay with her at her boyfriend's. There was an extra room because one of the roommates had duty. I didn't have anywhere else to go. It was too late to go back to J's and so I went with them. And that was the beginning. My life changed forever by that simply twist of plans.