Our Unexpected Dinner Guest
Back in the 1980’s our home started to fall apart, while it was being repaired, my brother moved us into a little ranch home that he owned. It was so lovely there; it was on eight acres and right next to a golf course with a detention center up at the end of the street. We didn’t give that a second thought because there was a big fence around the property.
My children were all in high school and it was close to where we lived, for the first time in their lives, they could walk to school. It was great and the kids loved it too. We even raised Rhode Island Red chickens and had the best eggs around.
One day as I was sitting in the living room with my son’s girlfriend Rhonda, just talking about everything, about nothing, we heard the back door slam shut and a young girl came running in the room which stunned us into silence.
The girl’s face was pale yet stained with blotched red cheeks like she was being chased and was very scared. She held a dark coat tightly in her arms in front of her and she reminded me of a very frightened child. Naturally, my motherly instincts kicked in and I offered her a seat and a glass of ice tea.
As we sat there both Rhonda and I tried to calm her down and ask her point blank if someone was chasing her. When she felt more comfortable she told us, “Yes, I am being chased.” She was only a few years older than my daughter and my heart went out to her. As she talked, she began telling us about her horrific life. Beaten as a child, neglected and everything else you can think of was in her story. She said she was in the detention center up the street and they started beating her too so she ran away.
I had to take my son to his baseball practice but told her we would be back shortly. “Just make yourself at home honey, you’re safe now, no ones going to hurt you here, I will be back soon.” Rhonda and I left with my younger son as that dear abused child sat on my porch watching us pull away. My heart ached for her, I told her to call her mother to tell her where she was and see if she could come to get her. The last thing I saw as I drove away was the telephone at her ear.
We arrived home shortly before my husband did and she was still sitting on the porch. I asked if she got a hold of her mother and she said, “yes, but she won’t come to get me.” Oh, this poor child I thought as I began to prepare the meal for we had company coming for dinner. By the time everyone arrived I almost forgot about the young girl.
My friends arrived with their children who were my children’s age and we all sat down for dinner. Afterwards, while I was giving haircuts, I remembered the young girl again who also ate with us by the way. My friends asked who she was and I started telling them. “You must call the police Bonnie, she ran away from a state institution.” I knew they were right, but to see her sitting there with a death grip on her coat, I just couldn’t. Of course, I always know the right thing to do, but I'm afraid I don't always do it. This was one of those times.
So a few hours passed and the kids were so excited. My youngest son came in with an authentic looking pair of handcuffs and I asked him, “Where in the world did you get those?” He replied, we soaped Sara’s (the young girl) wrist and hands and finally got them off.” “WHAT”?, I yelled, What handcuffs?” “The one’s the cops put on her,” he replied. No wonder she never let go of that coat, I thought. Oh, my God, what did I do?
Apparently, she was being chased all right, by the police. Her and another prison escaped from the detention center and robbed homes in the neighborhood. They captured him almost immediately but they’ve been looking all afternoon for her while she was having iced tea and dinner with me. “Oh, Lord, I did it again,” I thought as I was dialing 911.
The police came almost immediately as if they were just up the street, which they probably were. I must admit, as I watched them take her away, my heart still ached for her. It wasn’t until long afterwards that I thought of the consequences my actions could have caused. Thank God, none came to pass.