by April D. Boland
My mother loves to tell the story of when I ran away from home. No, I wasn't an angst-ridden teen who could no longer take her parents. I was three, and I did not want to take my cough syrup. After numerous attempts at holding me down, only to find that my mouth was clamped shut so tightly that the thick red medicine dribbled down my chin and onto the kitchen floor, my mother - who was only twenty-two years old at the time - decided to use some reverse psychology on me. "April," she said, "Either you take your medicine or you have to move out." I didn't doubt her. I was too young to understand that she was bluffing. Nevertheless, I went into the other room, picked up my most prized possession - a Rainbow Brite doll - and walked to the front door. We lived in an apartment on the third floor of a large house in Brooklyn, and I opened the door and began walking down the stairs. My mother had to come after me and bring me back. She always laughs when she tells the tale, saying, "I still don't know where you were going." I don't remember the incident but she has recalled it for me so many times that I cannot help but wonder the same: Where was I going? Could I possibly have decided at such a young age that I was going to live life on my terms? Was it really that deep, that philosophical, that courageous ... or did I just really, really hate the taste of Children's Tylenol?
May 1, 2008