There is a time to start new, and it’s a time you must wait for patiently, until the moment comes and slaps you in the face. We lived on the very edge of a small town, the kind where everyone says they are going to leave and make something big of themselves but never does. Instead they stick to their drinks and smokes and excuse of a religion.
I always knew I was going to leave, but just waited for when my younger sister left for college on a full scholarship. College wasn’t for me. I had a hard enough time in grade school. They always tried to force me into the special education classes, until I’d turn in that first paper. Then they’d transfer me into AP, and try to enroll me in speech therapy. It didn’t help. As long as I could remember, I had never spoken a word past the age of four.
As a man of twenty one, it was hard to find a job with an inability to interview. But I had to leave home.
My parents were drunks, under the impression I was retarded and would never amount to anything. So I took care of Corinne, who never asked a word of me, until she made her own escape. My bag was packed. A few pairs of clothes, sandwiches, a canteen of whiskey, other odds and ends, a knife, and my grandfather’s pistol. It wouldn’t be needed if I took the road, but that wasn’t my intent. Behind our falling apart single wide was a three thousand acre deciduous forest, dividing the counties.
Maybe it was stupid, but the wild called to me. I had to take my chances. I left around twilight—ominous and cliché, I know—but it was the time I would least likely be noticed, even if broken sticks and fallen leaves crunched under my boots.
I walked through the night, lucky enough the moon sat high and nearly full, making my flashlight useless, and only stopped to rest when a bit of cloud cover darkened the sky in the early hours of the morning. At the base of an old maple I took a sip of the whiskey, and fell asleep, eyes hardly closing in the dark of the night.