When I was 18, I ran away from home (yes, I realize that at 18 it’s not really “running away”, but stick with me).
Mom and I had butted heads since I was 13, and I had reached my limit. Our family was stationed at Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana at the time.
I had a friend pick me up and take me to a corner, where I had another friend pick me up. I wanted to make sure my mom couldn’t call friend #1 and beat the information out of him. (I need to add that I am SO grateful neither of my girls turned out like me!)
After a couple days, I called Dad to let him know I was okay. He acted super cool and thanked me for calling. Then he suggested that we meet at his apartment on base for a beer. This was the most grown-up invitation I had ever received! I accepted!
We had a house off-base, but Dad was often on-call, so he stayed on base in the barracks a lot.
I had a friend drive me back on base, and Dad was happy to see me. We grabbed a pizza and some beer and had a chat. At one point, he became misty when he told me that mom was worried about me. This surprised me. I had only seen Dad cry once in my life, and that was when his grandmother died. But I was a punk kid and would not be moved.
After dinner, we grabbed another beer and headed down into the rec room to shoot some pool. There were some other guys down there and I felt very grown up. I think a better word was “cocky”.
As the evening came to an end, Dad casually asked me if I planned on coming back home. I just as casually told him no.
Without any buildup or drama, he looked at me (cool as Colonel Cucumber) and said, “Okay, that’s fine. Before you go, I will need the house key, the car key, and your military ID.”
The house key? No problem.
The car key? The car wasn’t even mine, and I never assumed I could take/use it anyway. Besides, I had loads of friends with wheels.
The ID card? Wait a minute! How could I get on base? My people were there! The pool was there! The YOUTH CENTER was there!
I quickly gave my dad a hug and told him I was coming home.
Well played Dad, well played.