|I ran away. Well…I mean, I’m eighteen. I didn’t run away. Eighteen-year-olds don’t run away. And it’s not like I have a home to run away from. I left, I guess is the best way to put it. I left my family. Last night, while they were all still asleep at the hotel, I gathered up my stuff, all stealth like a ninja, and walked to the bus station with all my belongings hanging off me like a hobo. Earlier in the day, I had sold my Fender Squire, and my Vox amp at a pawn shop down the street for 300 dollars. That is all the money I have in the world. Plus, I still have my Hohner acoustic. I’ll never sell her.
So now I’m on a Greyhound bus on my way to New York City. My family’ll be okay, I think, with me leaving. They don’t really need me anymore. Mom can sing. They have all my songs. They’ll be okay doing what they do.
Zoey’s tough. She’ll be fine. I think she’s even kind of even expecting me to go. Simon…it’ll take some time for Simon. He’s not going to understand at first, but once he gets older, I know he’ll feel the same as me about all this stuff.
I feel the worst about leaving Josey, because I’m not sure how he’s going to react. Maybe he won’t react at all. Maybe it won’t matter to him that I’m gone, and that sucks. It’s painful to think that your own brother won’t care that you’re gone. But maybe it’ll totally devastate him, and he’ll close himself off completely. I don’t know what it will mean to him, what I mean to him. And that sucks.
I had this crazy dream last night. At least I think it was a dream. I woke up in the middle of the night and started floating up, away, out of my body. And when I turned around, I could see myself still lying there on the bed asleep. And I looked around and saw everybody there in the hotel room with me, just like it should be. Mom and Zoey. Dad and Simon and Josey. All peaceful and snoring quietly. The wind sailed lightly in through the window, and I was a kite. Wind chimes shimmered from a long way off and oddly harmonized with a quiet, unearthly song on what sounded like a broken piano. And I was so calm, like it made sense that I was floating up and above my body and looking down at myself. It seemed to make total sense. But then there was a sudden rattle of fear. A swift jolt to my chest -- fear that I hadn’t done what I was called to do. I hadn’t fulfilled my life here on Earth. Nothing but fear and panic and blind hope for another breath. How was this happening? It couldn’t be happening. It wasn’t happening.
I gasped for breath, and my eyes shocked open, and the first sight I saw for real was Dad’s face, the vein in his neck bulging even as he slept. He’s not going to be okay with me leaving. Not at all. I actually met him in the elevator on my way out of the hotel this morning. When the doors parted like the Red Sea, and I stepped inside onto dry land, there was Dad propped up in the corner, reading that Jonah-less study Bible we bought him last year for his Birthday.
He was reading from Romans. I could tell it was Romans by the look in his eyes and the way he was chewing his lower lip. “Where you think you’re going, Sonny?” He turned the page without looking up at me.
I paused. The elevator doors hissed shut, engulfing the two of us in a profound silence...“The lobby.” I turned and punched the “L,” as if I was just hopping down to the lobby to get some ice or something.
“You can’t leave, Sonny.” He buried his finger in the Bible to mark his page as he shut it slowloy.
“No. We need you. We can’t do any of this without you. You’re the one, Sonny.” He was really crying too – big, beady tears that dripped like wax. “You’re the one.”
“I can’t do it anymore. I can’t.” I caught myself shaking my head. That was a lot to lay on my shoulders. “I just want something else.” I shrugged it all away.
“Everybody does. That’s…the thing everybody wants," he told me. "Something else. That’s the rub, Sonny, but you just gotta keep rubbing and rubbing and rubbing until it’s all spotless.”
I looked away. I could hear his teeth grinding behind me. The elevator stopped, and when the doors opened, I took off, but Dad grabbed my arm at the elbow and spun me around. He dropped his Bible, and it made a kind of splashing sound as the pages flopped. “Tristan.” It was an unintentional whisper that struggled its way out of his throat.
“What?” I shrugged my arm out of his grasp.
“Please.” His arms dangled at his sides like live, frayed wires. “Stay.” He looked down at the floor. “The world doesn’t care about you, Sonny. They won’t listen. They don’t care what you have to say. That’s the truth I know. Ideas are outrunning our culture, Sonny. It’s only here with us that anybody’ll listen. That’s what I know.”
“I’m sorry, Dad. I can’t stay. You ran away your whole life. Ran away from what you knew you were supposed to do, and I know it rips you apart every day. I know. I see it. And I can’t live like that. I found what it is I’m called to do, and I can’t just keep running away from the world with you, Dad. I gotta face it. I have to do this.”
He sobbed on his knees in the closing elevator.
I turned and walked out of the hotel. The revolving door kept flapping and flapping and flapping, growing fainter and fainter the farther I walked. I almost cried, but I didn’t. I’ve never really cried, so I don’t know anything about it, but I do know that all of a sudden my eyeballs felt like they were being sucked to the back of my skull. I charged passed the street lamp that stopped me yesterday. It hurt my eyes to look at it. I blinked and ended up on a bus.