Posted by: pendrops | March 10, 2007

running away


I ran away from home today. I’ve never done this before, in all my 28 years. I suppose that’s why I didn’t realize what I had done until about an hour into it. I hadn’t prepared or premeditated or tied a red bandana on a knotty stick and packed it full of bologna sandwiches, Laffy Taffy and a Nancy Drew book (the way I suspect I would have as a kid). All I had was my purse, a bottle of water, and half an apple.

A few miles from home, I found myself sitting, numb and spent, in the parking lot of a local park. After dozens of minutes of dissecting my reasons, I decided it was the burdens at home that drove me away. The wiping down, picking up, dusting this, mopping that, washing a dark load on cold, folding the white load from the night before, paying this bill, filing that document, shredding the credit card offers, unloading the dishwasher, organizing this closet, sorting that into the garage sale pile, and, worst of all, knowing that my home – and all I would do in it – would never measure up to my impossible standards.

“A woman’s work is never done,” the saying goes. Unfortunately, it’s true. No one’s work – man or woman’s – is ever done when it comes down to it. We women just have a harder time being done with it, I suppose. But this woman’s work was done. It had to be.

So I got OK with the fact that I had run away and, with all the strength I could muster, hopped onto a swing and pumped my legs through the air for nearly an hour. You know, the black-seated kind with the thick grey chain that makes your hands smell like rusted metal. I walked around the park on a paved path for another hour, listening to bird songs and the clink of aluminum bats at a nearby baseball practice. I went to the library and meandered mindlessly up and down aisles, losing myself in the descriptions on the back of each book I picked up. And, as most women do as a course of self-therapy, I ambled around Target.

On my way home, after all the analyzing and swinging and running away was done, I realized I really hadn’t run away from home. I had run away from myself. At least the version of myself that notices every molecule of dust, every crumb on the kitchen floor, every splatter on the bathroom mirror. The me that notices every undone thing and can’t live with herself until it’s done, and done perfectly.

I needed to leave that “me” for the day. I even needed to leave behind the wife Krista, thinking about what her husband might need at any given moment. And the writer Krista, she was left at home with all her creative sidetracks and plot-refining ideas. A bunch of other Krista’s were abandoned, too.

I left them so I could return, even if just for the afternoon, to the most basic Krista. Like the Krista in the picture. The one who would climb on top of her dad’s truck and sit cross-legged, contented, squinting in the sun, green pants hiked up, red hoodie tied tight. I needed to be reintroduced to that Krista, the one who can’t do it all and never could. The one who can’t control anything and never will. The one who knows sometimes you need to run away from home or from yourself or both.

And for just a little bit, I found her. And I like her, the Krista who still loves to spend an afternoon playing on the giant kid swing.



  1. Krista,
    Do you remember what Mr.Meeogee told Danielson in Karate Kid – no not wax on wax off – Find the Balance! It doesn’t happen over night Lord knows I’m still trying. I think your “day off” was a step in the right direction now go my little grasshopper & start trying to find the balance.

  2. AMEN sister! : )

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