It wasn’t until my father’s death, and a brief reunion with my estranged mother, that the following far-fetched tale was finally corroborated. Until then, I’d always imagined I’d run away from home at maybe four or five years old. My early childhood’s pride and joy was a shiny red go-kart, I rode it everywhere. Which seems rather ironic now, seeing as I’ve never learned to drive. I suppose nothing can compare to that first rush of pedal power.
I’ve often bored my wife to tears with the same old story, explaining how I’d dragged that go-kart out of the shed in the middle of the night, and pedalled a couple of miles to the local library. Apparently, according to the police report, I’d been convinced that their panda car, complete with flashing blue lights, was a bona fide UFO. After one almighty tantrum, they bundled me into their car, threw my go-kart in the boot, and drove me home to my frantic young mother.
It gets worse. On that fateful day, in the midst of mourning for my father, we ended up in somewhat of philosophical impasse. She was never one for death, and so she changed the subject, to share her recollections of my great escape. One of many so it seems. Essentially I’d remembered the getaway correctly, but for one nagging detail. It was true, I had run away, it seems I had wanted to be a spaceman, and for some reason, decided that the local library would serve as a perfect landing spot. However, I’d got my dates wrong, and it turned out all of this had happened when I was just eighteen months old.
My mother is a strict and sober woman, not one known to jest, especially on the day of my father’s burial. She insisted it was the truth, and as the police had recorded the whole event, there really wasn’t much room for argument
I’d made one other error, I’d assumed this was the first time I’d runaway from home, but I was wrong. When I was nine months old I’d crawled through a hole in the fence surrounding our backyard. I’d made it all the way to the end of the block, at least a couple of dozen houses from home. Luck would have it that an elderly couple found me, eating from a bowl of lettuce they’d left out for their tortoise. Eventually, according to my mother, her panicked screams up and down the street caught their ear, and the whole matter of the runaway baby was quickly resolved.
It’s as if I’ve never felt like I belonged here. I still haven’t got over the limitations, gravity, mortality, temporal linearity, and the like. In my more morose years, at the tail end of my youth, and in the depths of a self-imposed despair, I’d tried to cheat fate, but lost hands down. Something I’d learned in a coma, from a doctor in another dimension, you can never jump the queue, still rings true to this day. When I do eventually pop my clogs, when that designated day finally comes around, or night as the case maybe, I’ll take that trip into space, the one I’d wanted so desperately as a child, and see what all the fuss is about.