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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 1

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Sept 9

I have a plan now. I'm going to Chicago. I'm 18 now and I've looked into it; since I'm a legal adult, the police can't make me come home if they find me. I don't  think they will though. I hope they don't anyways, otherwise my parents may come looking for me and make me come back. Maybe I'll just become a drifter. I don't know. I guess I'll find out. Anyways, here's my plan:

Pack:

1. 4-5 outfits

2. 4 pairs of shoes (boots, flats, sandals, tennis shoes)

3. All of my money

4. Any gift cards I have

5. Sunglasses

6. sketch book, journal, paints, pen, pencil

7. iPod, headphones, and charger

8. Laptop and charger

9. Hair ties and bobby pins

10. Facewash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant

That's it. I'm not taking my phone because they could track it. Also, I don't need my parents constantly texting and calling me. I'm planning on leaving after work on Tuesday, leaving my parents a note so they know I'm alive, and hopping on a bus to Chicago. I'll find the cheapest motel and stay and who knows what will happen after that.

I reread the previous journal entry and glance out the window at the passing scenery. It's finally happening. I'm finally running away. I left a note telling my family I couldn't handle it anymore and I had to leave. I told them I'd write them and tell them about everything, but I won't be coming back until I'm ready. I made sure to ensure that they had done nothing wrong, I just wanted to do some exploring on my own.

I feel the worst about leaving my brother, Chris. He and I are fairly close and we talk to each other about quite a few things. I left him his own note, telling him to make sure he checks the mail every day. If there is a letter addressed to only him, it's for his eyes only. I feel I can disclose more information to him rather than to my parents. He will be upset when I don't come home and he finds the note, but I don't think he'll be devestated. He may miss me, but I'll miss him just the same. I made sure to leave him a few cigarettes along with the note.

We're not a dysfunctional family with screwed up kids that smoke and drink all the time. Chris and I are put-together well enough, but everyone has their flaws. Chris smokes occassionally, I've had a few cigarettes in my life as well. Neither of us are addicted to them or anything, but I figured when a sixteen-year-old boy's eighteen-year-old sister runs away, the kid deserves to have a smoke. 

I'm not entirely sure why I even left. Newpall is a quaint little town, about 17,000 citizens. It has it's supply of chain restaurants and family owned diners and one-of-a-kind bakeries. Superstores like Walmart and Kroger and Meijer dot the town and even a few shopping centers are downtown. Indianapolis is only about an hour away, so if you can't find what you'd like to in Newpall, you could always drive south for 60 minutes and find almost anything. I have just never felt satisfied. I don't even know what pure enjoyment truly feels like. The closest I've ever come is when I got to leave Indiana and visit Chicago with my dad on a business trip at age 16. My parents aren't really the travelling type, so we mainly stayed in Indiana. Sometimes we go to visit relatives in Ohio, which isn't any better than Indiana. All the same, I've been gone almost 5 hours now and I'm just about to Chicago. I glance back at the other passengers on the bus and a few people are sleeping. The majority are staring at their phones or tablets though. 

The screen read "Downtown Chicago" at the front of the bus and the bus driver slowed to a stop. I stood up and reached up for my duffel bag, pulling it down from the overhead compartments. I stepped off of the bus and the smells, sounds, and sights of city life hit me like a train. I tried to contain my grin as I glanced around at the skyscapers, restaurants, streets, and people. Excitement bubbled in me like a child on Christmas morning and I took a deep breath before taking a step forward. First mission: Find a place to stay.

I found a Comfort Inn easily and got a room for very cheap. I walk into my room to drop off my things, pull my shoulder bag out of the duffel bag and supply it with my wallet, sunglasses- even though it's nighttime-, pepper spray, the book I'm currently reading, my journal, and a pen. The rest of the duffel bag sits on my bed and I head out for my first night in Chicago alone.

I come across a bar/pub called Duffy's and step inside. Chill, indie rock music plays and I notice that it is a live band. It's not very busy, three men and two women sit at the bar, chatting easily with the bartender. Only 5 tables are in use, couples seated at three of the tables, then a group of three boys next to the band, and a group of five people, most likely in their early twenties, lounging and laughing as one of the girls in the group tells a story. The other girl, glances over to me as she's laughing and eyes me. It's not a glare and she wasn't intending to be mean. She just glanced me over quickly and turned back around, smiling the entire time. I pull out a seat at the bar and slide into it, biting my cheek. The band ends their song and the two groups clap, trying to outdo the other. They become more and more obnoxious and I start to laugh a little. The bartender asks them to quiet down and they all laugh. The three boys salute the bigger group and the bigger group raise their glasses to the boys.

"Welcome to Duffy's ma'am, can I help you?" The bartender pulls my attention away from the groups and I clear my throat.

"Um, yeah can I just have an Italian sub and some green tea?" I ask and smile. The bartender smiles and nods, then slips away to put in my order. One of the boys from the bigger group slides into the seat next to me. I glance at him and my eyebrows raise involuntarily. He's very attractive, brown hair, green eyes, very defined jaw structure. He glances at me and presses his lips together in a thin smile. I smile and look away, down to my fingernails as I pick at them.

The bartender comes back and asks him what he'd like. The boy asks for 5 mugs of coffee with Bailey's and the bartender nods, walking off to mix the drinks. He returns with a tray and hands it to the boy. He thanks him, pays, and returns to the table. I catch the eye of the girl again and this time she smiles slightly. I smile as well, but my food arrives and I turn around, pull out my book, and begin eating as I read. Once I'm finished, I turn around and realize just the people at the bar and I are the only customers left. The band has packed up and gone, the groups and couples have all disappeared. I close my book, pay for my food and leave a tip of $4. My watch says it's almost midnight already. I feel fatigue wash over me and I yawn and return to the Comfort Inn, turning in for the night. I write the events of my day in my journal, change into a t shirt and underwear, slip into bed, and read myself to sleep.

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