I was 14 when I first wanted to run away from home. Dad hit me on my shin with his leather belt for refusing to make him tea. Mother still believes it was not why he hit me. It was the tone in which I refused that triggered his mad anger, she says. I let her believe what she wants to believe. I’m not really interested in how much they and I have grown since then. I’m more interested in the rebel that was born that day, just like that.
Frankly, the fact that he hit me does not bother me much now. Now that I think about those red lines on my shin, it’s clear why most of my important acts of rebellion have been staged against the periphery of home making skills. That was probably the defining moment of my life. And what has followed since then have been but just small time rebellions, all against my father or father like figures.
Over the years, the desire to run away from home became more and more immense fueled constantly by their need to keep me from becoming too independent. They feared it and much to my delight, still do. It was crazy.
Attending phone calls from male friends in my PU days were challenging. This one time, when he found out that I was talking to a boy, he screamed for hours together. That evening, I remember, trying really hard to salvage the situation. Mother was trying harder. She said that some uncle from Dubai I had never met before is visiting soon. I enquired more about him. It was my lame attempt at normalizing the evening as much as I could. And even to this day I still do not know why for the life of me, I said the words I did. I wondered aloud why I hadn’t heard of him before and all hell broke loose.
He yelled at me for not knowing the names of my relatives. No, actually he yelled at me for storing the names of my male friends on my cell phone. He yelled at me for talking to boys, he yelled at me for knowing boys. Nobody at home had dinner that night. Nobody turned on the TV and nobody teased my little brother. Dramatic, I know. Like somebody died. But that’s how it has always been. Like somebody had died. It still is that way. Like somebody is dying.
I am 24 now. And I still want to run away. I am now wondering why I haven’t run away yet.