Finally Free

Submitted into Contest #139 in response to: Format your story in the style of diary entries.... view prompt


Fiction Coming of Age Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

May 8, 2010

I ran away from home today. Again.

This time I’m hoping to get far away where no nosy good-doer can scoop me in their front seat and take me back to mama.

Mama has cautioned me several times to stop leaving. She hasn’t beaten me yet for doing that but I know this time if I make it back, she will. She got close to it the other time. I could tell from the way her eyes twitched and her teeth clenched when she muttered “STOP DOING THAT”.

I’ve been doing this since I was nine and I’m two months away from turning eleven now. Who said persistence has anything to do with age?

My reason is simple – there is a big world out there, and I must see it all. She says she loves me and I break her heart anytime I do that - Mama. But does she? Really. Her definition of love is quite different from mine.  Which kind of mother subjects her daughter to endless Turkish folk music and tasteless cereal? I hate Turkish folk music. No, hate is a strong word. I don’t like the sound of it. It seems like the singers are in pain and begging for someone to shoot them out of their misery.

Where are hitmen when you need them the most?

My constant elopement has nothing to do with her though. I just want to be free. I may be quite young but I’ve read a lot about the world. There are so many beautiful things to see and adventures to explore. It would be such a shame to be confined to one single space for life. No, I cannot afford to grow up before I begin to live these experiences. I must start now.

Today was no different from previous episodes – I have no idea where I’m headed but at least no one has found me yet. Progress. At last! I left home around 2pm when I was certain our neighbors bound to raise an alarm were out in the park with their kids. Mama was snoring on the couch. I packed a sandwich (think two slices of mouldy bread with a thin slice of ham) and two bottles of soda in a small backpack. I could have used a bus ; I’ve got mama’s Oyster card, but it’s safer to take baby steps when you have no destination in mind. I made it to Ravenscourt Park. It’s 8pm and there’s not a single soul in sight. But gosh, it’s so cold. Spring in London is just diluted winter. I might freeze to death tonight. I miss home already. No, I miss lying in a warm bed 

May 9, 2010

I woke up to the sound of Turkish music. Yes! You guessed right. Mama was sitting in a chair across my room. Expressionless. She just sat there staring at me. I stared back for a while and for what seemed like eternity, we both read the messages in each other’s eyes loud and clear. She’s tired and I’m determined. “Your breakfast is on the dining table” was how she ended our “conversation” See what I was talking about? What kind of a mother says nothing after such an incident? Scream, ask what’s on my mind, hug me to tears, do something! 

May 10, 2010

I skipped school today – yes, I’m a student like a child my age should be. I just feel school is a façade where teachers pretend to know it all. They really just cram stuff in their head the night before to teach us. Once the lesson is over, they’re back to factory settings. Regardless of how I feel about that, I take my lessons seriously. Not exactly. Let’s just say I’m naturally gifted so I somehow excel in school, but I hate doing my homework.

I didn’t skip school today on purpose. Mama took me to see a man in North Acton. A psychiatrist. 

There were no preambles, no small talk, no asking about school or all those empty conversations adults try to make with children. “Sit” was the first word Dr. Horton spoke to me when we met. Oh, I had to read his name on the door. There were no introductions whatsoever.

Mama was asked to wait in the lounge room.

Beloved, our session had to be the longest staring contest held in history. Dr. Horton pierced me with his bulgy eyes until I began to fidget. Several things kept running through my mind while he stared and I fought hell to keep my cool. Does he think I’m crazy? Is he going to send me off to an asylum? Do all mad people start by eloping? Are all my wild ideas of exploring the world just underlining symptoms of a bigger problem?

While I scavenged through these thoughts I subconsciously scratched my neck, twisted the hem of my dress and tried hard not to take my eyes off his caricature glasses.

“Sit still!” were the words that drew my attention to my uneasiness. Christ! Look who found his voice.

The rest of the session was marked by a series of questions and answers. I told him of my grand idea to explore the world. Of how I have no interest in spending my life in one place for long. He asked about my school life and I told him everything there is to know. I spared him the details of how I feel about teachers but I told him of how I struggle to get my homework done and how I feel the urge to take a stroll every twenty minutes.

Please don’t judge me. Dr. Horton did enough of that. I could read from the way he blinked every two seconds and constantly adjusted his jaw in his palm.

After exactly 45 mins,  a buzzer was pressed and mama was ushered in. I could tell the time because a part of me couldn't keep my eyes off the large clock sitting above the window behind him. He seemed like a man out to get his money. Every twenty minutes is billable. I was asked to wait outside while the adults decided my fate.

On our way back home, mama said very little. I wasn't surprised but I was curious. Dying to know what lies ahead of me. 

“Am I crazy?” 

“Not exactly but you would be, if you don’t stop running off”

“ Are you going to send me to an asylum?” I was hoping she would say yes. The possibilities could be endless.

“ God, no! Don’t say crazy things. Come here!” She knelt down and gave me the warmest hug ever. I heard her sob and my heart clenched. What could possibly be the problem?

 Turns out I have ADHD. Mama couldn’t bring herself to tell me. How do you explain Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to an eleven year old?

Well, this child knows how to find out things for herself. I spent this afternoon reading about it on google. It seems rather appropriate -  it gave meaning to my restlessness and lack of interest in doing my homework. That could be the case, but deep down, I know what drives me to leave home. It’s not impulsivity. There is a big picture in my mind nobody can see.

That’s alright.

I shall wait till the time is right.

January 7, 2011

There’s been more love in our home over the past few months. Less Turkish music and less cereal killing.

Mama makes an effort to make breakfast and as hard as it may seem, I’ve decided to stop eloping - for now.

It’s hard to tell if it’s the medicines or my resolve to put off my big plan but things seem to have taken a good shape around here. I don’t  struggle as much to do my homework and mama and I seem to be getting along quite well. As much as I would love to tell you of the amazing things going on in my life, I think it’s rather mundane. Everything is a plain and boring routine but I know the right time will come.






June 12, 2017

Luck has a reputation for switching allegiances with ease, when it makes it to your side, you must be ready to milk it dry.

Today is my 18th birthday.

We moved to California three years ago. Dr. Horton advised that a change of environment would do me good. Well, mama decided we move to a different continent.

As promised, I’ve given up elopement for as far as I can remember. My studies have suffered a great deal along the line. We gave up the medicines and decided to try behavioral therapy. The least said, the better.

It’s been hard to cope as a student with ADHD – talk of incomplete assignments and the intense amount of pressure it takes to get things done.

I’m however grateful for a high IQ ; what I lack in concentration, I make up for in luck.

One major aspect of the therapy has been a reward-scheme. When I achieve something or complete a task, mama gives me a present.

She promised me a ticket to Greece if I graduated top of my class. My first solo trip ever.

My bags are packed and I’ve counted the money from my piggy savings for the umpteenth time already. I have been saving towards this day for years. I haven’t told mama about my plans but I will do well to send her a postcard wherever the wind takes me.

At the airport, we exchanged our famous looks and I could tell she knew. No words were exchanged but I knew I had her blessings. We hugged for eternity and I was headed for the skies.

From Greece, I will be heading to the Maldives and then to South Africa. It will be a long trip, but I've looked forward to this voyage since I was nine.

Nothing can stop me now.

I’m finally free.

March 31, 2022 18:40

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Michał Przywara
20:57 Apr 11, 2022

This was a fun read! The narrator has a great voice, and a wonderful way of looking at things. I liked the line "Once the lesson is over, they’re back to factory settings." Lots of great observations like that, they really showcase the character.


Ruth A
06:21 Apr 20, 2022

Thanks for the feedback, Michal! I’m glad you enjoyed it.


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Tricia Shulist
14:20 Apr 04, 2022

What an interesting story. The main character is very self-aware and mature, which gives the story a more adult vibe, which in itself is a change. Thanks for this.


Ruth A
14:43 Apr 04, 2022

Thanks Tricia! You’re right – in hindsight, I feel the character is extremely mature for her age. But it surely does make for a change as you put it.


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