The sky was starting to get dark as the sun slipped behind the mountains. I shivered, not in cold, but with a little apprehension. We picked up our pace toward our destination, my best friend’s house, only a few blocks away. I was 8-years-old and it was the first time my parents had allowed me and my best friend to walk the mile to her house, alone. A little taste of freedom, which I had begged for, but seemed like a dubious victory as I now was wondering why I just didn’t take my dad up on the offer of driving us.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a large, ball of fur and teeth, charging toward us, snarling and growling. Screaming as two eight-year-old girls would do, we clasped hands and ran as fast as our little legs would take us. Reaching relative safety, I burst out into tears. I wanted to turn around and go back. I had asked for this freedom and now, I found it lacking, unfamiliar, and scary. We were three-fourths of the way there and even entertaining the thought of going back to the safe, familiar warmth of my parents’ restaurant was futile. As the skies swallowed the remainder of the sun, we had no choice but to press on and face the fears that seemingly loomed around every corner.
Obviously, we made it safely to my best friend’s house and lived to have many more adventures that took us through junior high school.
Today, 17 months into this unfamiliar, scary territory of singleness, there are times that I look back and long for the security of familiar territory, however unhappy and painful it was. Yet, as I continue to move forward with my new found freedom, I am excited to get closer to reaching my goals and to discover life, all the turns, surprises, joy and heartaches. But this time, my journey is alone, with no one to run and cry with, but I’ll admit, I do still scream like an eight-year-old girl sometimes.