She climbs out the window and steps back into the shadows, out of the light from the flood light illuminating most of her backyard. I climb out after her, and move into the shadows, as she steps back to the window to pull the screen down from the outside. We are both somewhat nervous, though we are unlikely to get caught. My heart races and there are butterflies in my stomach.
I quietly unlock the white gate and open it as far as I can without having to kick it. I squeeze through, and she follows. She pulls the gate shut after her and relocks it, while I step into shadows trying not to make noise. We try to determine if the dog is near the window, as her parents are watching the 11:00 news. She crouches down and runs past the living room windows, and I follow. We move as quickly and quietly as possible, while hunching over.
We sneak across the neighbors front lawns, behind a dumpster in the driveway, and across the lawn of the next house. We then look out to see if anyone's coming, and run to the sidewalk, and then cross the street. We try to avoid stepping into the streetlights, as many of our family members live close by, and my father might have stayed out late tonight, as well. As we turn the corner, we feel relief as we are on a darker street. It's not cold out, but I'm shivering. We've snuck out several times, and we've only been caught once coming back in.
At least it's not winter though. When it snows, we have to be careful about leaving footprints behind. We usually walk around the yard, and make a crazy trail of footprints, so that it looks like we were out with dogs. Then we'd have to sneak out, and hope we didn't run into anyone who happened to be shoveling late at night. But not right now, because it's summer.
When we first started sneaking out, we didn't really have anywhere to go. We would just wander around, and maybe smoke a little. Then we would come back home, climb in the window, and go to bed. Eventually we started sneaking out to go to stores, or to visit people for a little while. Now when we leave, it's to head to a party, or to stay at someone's house for the night. There is only immense relief when we have reached our destination and can settle down for the night. If we fall asleep at the person's house, we'll climb back in the window if we wake up early enough. Her parents like to sleep in, so this is not a problem if we're back before 10:00 in the morning. If not, we'll come back later, and act like we left in the morning, and locked ourselves out.
Although we are aware of the dangers posed to two females walking alone at night, or even worse, one of us alone, it doesn't stop us from leaving. Both of us have been harmed, but sometimes other things have far more sway over one's mind than personal safety. In hindsight, of course, one has 20/20 vision. We realize that we could have gotten into serious trouble, especially when we would run into random people and then go and stay with them. Terrible judgment, yes, but a big learning experience, as well…