RUNAWAY By Eva Marie Ann Cagley ©

Updated: Mar 17

Guest writer for "The NZDream" blog

Part 3 OF RUNAWAY Continued:

Previously, I had run away from home hitchhiking all over the south. Going from Waterloo, Iowa, with my boyfriend Basil, to the current state, we landed in Arkansas.

We finally arrived at a great aunt’s house in Arkansas. I remember the house clearly. It was a one-story house with a large kitchen that had a center island, a front room, and a bedroom. The bathroom was an outhouse that reminded me of when I was younger and lived in Maywood, Iowa. We had an outhouse toilet back then and lived in a garage that Dad remodeled into a house with a wood-burning stove just like theirs in their living room to provide heat. I had a flashback of that outhouse running outside in the dark with a flashlight. By myself hoping I wouldn’t find something on the toilet seat, I hated going out there in the dark by myself. To this day, I’m afraid of the dark.

There must have been four older women there, I’d wager to guess late seventies. All gray-haired and wearing what I would call granny dresses with pretty flowers made from cotton. They looked a little rough, I thought, and I imagined them having a hard life. Hard at work in the kitchen making homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy. I had never heard of chocolate gravy before, but it tasted like thick chocolate pudding. I loved it over those hot, fluffy homemade biscuits. That was the meal along with grits. I’d never had grits before, either. I didn’t care for them really and poured sugar on them to make them taste sweet. At night, everyone gathered around a radio, as there was no television. We slept on the floor for a couple of nights by the old wood-burning stove. With a thin raggedy homemade handsewn quilt to cover up with. I recall being very shy and withdrawn, afraid to speak unless spoken to. Basil had told them as well that we were married. After a couple of days of resting up, we hit the road once more, this time headed for Mississippi.

Basil had done logging there for a guy that he was going to go back to work for. I thought great finally a job and income and a chance at a normal life, or so I thought. I had grown tired of hitchhiking and found it wasn’t the adventure I thought it would be and already I was missing home. Not contemplating on it long as I could just see my father’s wrath when I came through the door. I wondered who was cooking supper for everyone because that was my chore, along with cleaning the house. My older sister used to be there to help me with chores, but she moved out at eighteen. I was Fifteen when she left. She had long brown silky hair and a figure of prob thirty-eight, twenty-eight, thirty-six. I was always jealous of her, as I never developed until after I graduated from high school. Funny, I wasn’t afraid to hitchhike anymore. It had been uneventful so far, and we had met so many nice people. We had been on the road for about three weeks now.

Once we landed in Mississippi, Basil looked his old logging boss up. And I do mean old he had to of been in his eighty’s and to me, that was old beings I was only sixteen. I recall him sneering at me at the time and a very uneasy feeling came over me as a chill ran down my arms. He was tall and lanky, with a receding forehead of gray hair that was scraggly, and his boss hadn’t combed in a long time. Missing most of his teeth when he smiled, he sneered at me again, looking like someone out of a horror film. He did, however, seem to have a lot of muscles for his age and a golden tone to his skin from logging all his life.

He told Basil he had a place we could stay while he worked for him. Oh, thank God I remember saying under me breathe a chance at a normal life off the road again. We caught a ride with him in his old red Ford pickup truck that was beaten up. He kept driving farther and farther into the woods and once again the fear of the unknown and panic struck me as my breath became hard to catch and I felt like something horrible was about to happen. All kinds of thoughts were running through my head. Was he taking us out into these woods to kill us? Who would even know what happened to us? Or he was going to drop us off and leave us to find our own way back into a town. All I knew was I didn’t trust him one bit and was glad once again I sat beside the passenger door while Basil sat in the middle. All the while wondering just what kind of mess did, I get myself into this time.

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