Have you ever wanted to run away?
When I began to write about Phred Rivers in October Run, I placed her in Colorado. I’d been to Colorado, from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver, working for a client when I had my communications consulting company. The client, emergency medical super-sized company American Medical Response, had offices in a suburb outside Denver. Every few months I’d travel from my cozy New Haven street and land in the wide open vistas of Colorado. Just like Phred, I’d wonder what it would be like to look out at the purple blue Rockies instead of Long Island Sound. But I had family and a whole life that kept me anchored in New Haven. Phred doesn’t have an anchor, and so began her story.
I ran away once, out of anger, as a child. I can’t remember the imagined wrong but at age six it seemed so grievous that the only solution was to leave home. Period. I hauled out the cardboard suitcase that I used for overnight visits to my grandmother and packed in essentials. A can of tuna and jar of peanut butter. No can opener and no bread. I was travelling light. I got as far as the woods at the edge of our property line. There I sat on a favorite tree branch. Thought about life. Tried to picture it without my family. The pull of safety dragged me back. At six, the world is unfathomable. I wasn’t willing to thow myself into the unknow. Phred Rivers is caught in the unfathomable. “What if” she lived somewhere else? She can really picture running away in all the lush details of a perfect life, perfect love, perfect place to live. It takes a crazy road trip for her to find out that perfect is not what you expect it to be.
Me? I’m more likely to run to people and places. I can’t wait to visit my daughters who live in London and New York. Friends back in New Haven. Then I get to come home again to my husband, our sometimes goofy dogs, and the satisfaction of home.