(I've been working on my story for several years now. A writing buddy told me I should open with a hook and this is what I came up with. Feedback is appreciated.)


I was 16 years old the day my mother told me that I was legally emancipated by her and my father, which meant they were no longer financially responsible for me. Confusion set in as she added, "Don't you dare run away… We'll come find you."

Just a year earlier the thought of running away had been constant, but now I was employed full time at Mishawaka's Home Décor Superstore , and I would soon have my own health insurance. I'd quit school ten months earlier, on my 16th birthday, after mom and dad had announced we were moving to Scottsdale, Arizona. It would've been my 19th move in under 14 years. If I would've changed schools that year, it would've been for the 17th time in my life. Due to difficulties learning and problems socializing, I'd hated school. The move to Arizona never came, and in October of 1990 my parents divorced, emancipating me in the process. With my father moving away to Utah, I was now expected to pay rent.

At 16, my life made no sense to me. I'd lived in Indiana for just over a year and in that time, I'd made very few friends. It seemed like the ones I tried to talk to at work, my mother (who also worked there) interfered. I wasn't "allowed to" discuss our family's problems with others, though I desperately needed someone to help me sort it all out, and tell me I would be okay… give me hope for the future. I felt so empty and lost.

And I wondered what life would be like without my father around. Maybe my mother, sister and I would finally find peace. Maybe we wouldn't live in the fear of an alcoholic's rage anymore…