A Subway Runaway
I ran away on the same tracks that brought me home.
During my freshman year of high school, in 2002, just before spring semester concluded and summer vacation began, I ran away from home. I made the decision suddenly, at 74th Street, or maybe Junction Boulevard, or one of the stops in between on the local 7 line. My reasons were a combination of the usual suspects, generic enough to be drawn from a Lifetime made-for-TV movie—parents, friends, school, alcohol, drugs, punk rock. I ran away for the same reason all angsty teenagers run away: Because of everything and because of nothing at all.
I had, at the absolute most, maybe $10 in my wallet. But more importantly, I had a student Metrocard. From Monday to Friday, that white-and-green sliver of plastic awarded me three free rides daily. I had already spent one ride that morning to get to my high school in downtown Manhattan and another in the afternoon to bring me here, a few blocks away from my house in Jackson Heights. I hadn’t yet exited the subway station,…