It was the summer right before my 17th birthday that I got grounded. It was the first and last time that I got grounded. I remember being pretty upset about it at the time. I just wanted to hang out with my friends. I never thought on that 4th of July that a spark would set off a chain reaction that ended up saving my life. At the time, all I saw was red from the fireworks exploding in loud angry cracks.
My mom told me that I needed to come home right after the fireworks. Randy showed up that night in his 1970’s big boat of a car with my new boyfriend and a friend of his. Perfect, I set up my boyfriend’s friend with my friend Connie who I invited to come live with me that night. Connie had a rough life. Connie and her younger siblings spent the summer living with whatever friends would take them in. She never had many clothes to wear, no winter jacket, and her mom would leave the kids for days at time with only cough drops to eat. She never called to look for Connie when she didn’t come home. Eventually, the kids ended up in foster care but for those couple of weeks I took Connie in like a stray cat. Connie had a horrendous upbringing, but that is her story to share. Growing up the way I did, I had a hard time relating to kids whose biggest problem was a bad hair day.
After the fireworks that night, Randy had every intention of taking us right home. However, he decided to take the guys home first and then drop Connie and I off last as we were on the way home for him. It would be a half an hour out of the way to take the guys home, not really a problem. The problem was that Randy said that he knew a shortcut to get back home. After taking some back country roads, it was apparent that we were lost. We wandered around aimlessly for over an hour, turned around, stopped when the road dead ended in a field, turned around again, and eventually ended up in a town over an hour away from my house. I wish I could say we had a map in the car or a cell phone to call home.
We eventually found our way back and rolled in the driveway after 2 AM. So much for coming right home. How do you explain getting lost for hours when you know the route home like the back of your hand? Oh, and by the way, I brought a new friend home that is going to stay with us for a couple of weeks. I almost felt sorry for Connie, it probably wasn’t the best time to have a new friend live with us. Being grounded that night stopped Connie, our boyfriends, and me from what happened next. It would have been tragic.