I was in so much trouble that I decided to run away. And so I did. But I didn’t tell my parents or any of my family. I simply left with nothing but the shirt on my back. I was 15 years old, and left without a trace. After some time, my parents must have thought me dead.. I was gone until my 18th birthday. On my eighteenth birthday I called my family and came home. I can’t even imagine how my mother felt while I was gone. But here I was, finally a legal adult. Here is what happened between that time.
In San Francisco, I went straight to the Haight Ashbury district, which is where all the famous rock bands of the 70’s were known to frequent. Haight street was where the Golden Gate park began, and a whole “ecosystem” of street life thrived. This is where I lived. For money, I panhandled. My run-ins with the law were made much easier with these jail papers, since they acted as a form of identification.
Living in San Francisco, I was slowly conditioned to true hard times. I can’t remember how many times I was with a group of friends in the Golden Gate park after hours and had to flee the police for fear that they’d beat us into a pulp. This was common, a game for them. For us it was life and death. Living this life, I had heard of women being raped, men being killed, I’ve watched my friends die and I have starved on the streets. Keeping warm was a constant struggle in a city covered in fog. After all, the coldest winter I have ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. So I drank alcohol or used drugs, but not so much as a habit, but a way to numb cold and pain.
Somewhere down the line I began using harder drugs, which were easier to obtain in this city. The reason was there was more demand, and so the streets were flooded with dealers and people looking to purchase. It wasn’t long before I developed a habit myself. And in order to support this habit I did so many things to compromise my values and my beliefs, but after a time, I became numb to the things I was doing. My virtue and all modesty went completely out the door.
After two years of this, I had found a rhythm, but it came with a price.
The conditions for living with them were that I stop using any and all hard drugs. So I did. During this time, I got cleaned up and became good friends, family with these guys. I have a million stories from these times, but I’d be writing all month. Needless to say, I was finally in a safe place in San Francisco. I found a home there. That is, until my 18’th birthday. On my 18’th birthday, I called my family, just out of the blue. I didn’t even plan it. But when they answered the phone, I was presented with both happiness and guilt, because for this whole time, my family heard no news of me.
I left on the bus immediately, and as my luck would have it, I was stopped by the police in Texas. I was immediately handcuffed, but not arrested. Since I turned 18, my criminal charges were dropped, but I was still listed as a runaway! So they called my parents and we finally met for the first time in 3 years, 3 years. My normal length of time before moving to a new place.
This was the bulk of my youth. My adulthood was similar, back and forth to San Francisco from Washington, and vice versa. I never actually grew up, and I never actually stayed still for more than 3 years. Well, that is, until I was arrested for murder so many years later.