I always knew I would never be able to go home. The moment I stepped out the front door when I was eighteen, I knew I was completely on my own. My father always told me he was surprised he was going to be a father again and once I hit puberty, he spent more of his time at work than ever before. I had suspicions he had a girlfriend or two, but maybe that was my way of telling myself it wasn’t my fault he was never home. Maybe it was really my mother’s fault for never being kind to either one of us.
My friends complained their childhood would be over the day they turned eighteen but I think they were afraid of finally getting in trouble for drugs they were already invested in. I was just excited I wouldn’t have to live at home anymore. The more time I spent out of the house, the happier I was. My part time job at the local Academy and a generous discount helped me slowly build up my hiking and camping gear. Spending more time in nature was a way to get away from my tense home life, but I also found I liked spending time alone. And if I wasn’t alone on the trails or campgrounds, I found other people who enjoyed being outside as much as I did. I just wasn’t expecting to fall in love. Especially with a man who reminded me of my father.