General Non-Fiction posted November 11, 2019

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A story about a runaway boy

A Little Good Will on a Dark and

by Patricia Hope

Terry was not yet 10 when he and his dad had a big argument and Terry decided he would run away from home. It was a warm rainy night in May and he took off on his bicycle wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He made a stop at his older brother's apartment where he borrowed a t-shirt, but when Chuck threatened to call me and his dad, Terry took off again.

We called the police and called his friends. We drove around and looked at all the places he might go. I spent a sleepless night, worried about my baby boy, picturing him cold and wet, huddled on the street somewhere where who-knows-what would surely happen to him.

The next day was Saturday, and by the time my husband left for work, I planned to go out looking again and recruited Chuck to help me. As I tried to think of all the places he might be, the door opened. Terry walked in and the first thing I noticed was that he had on a new pair of shoes. He looked fresh and rested, not at all like the victim of a harrowing night that I imagined.
"Where did you get those shoes," I asked.

"The Goodwill box," he sheepishly replied, opening the refrigerator to help himself to some milk.

"The Goodwill box?" I asked, wondering what he meant. "Where did you spend the night?"

"The Goodwill box," he answered around a mouthful of cereal.

"Really, you slept in the Goodwill box? What about your bike?"

"I pulled it in there with me."

As we talked, I learned he had curled up in the Goodwill donation box on the other end of our small town, where he had slept warm and snug even finding a pair of shoes that fit him. I pictured some lady opening up the door to put in a box of clothes and being startled by the sleeping boy and his bike.

After he ate, I hugged him. "Running away won't solve your problems. You know that, right?"

"Yeah, I guess so," he replied.

"Promise me you won't do that again," I told him. "We worried about you all night." Terry nodded as he headed up to his room. I smiled. What he had done showed a great deal of resourcefulness. I was proud of him for that. I picked up the phone to call off the search party and to call his dad. "Honey, you aren't going to believe where Terry spent the night."

Parenthood: An indelible memory writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Describe a memory, a lesson taught or learned, or a moment shared that will stay with both parent and child forever.

Prose only. No minimum or maximun word count.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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