One of the shelter rules was that everyone in school must attend, but thankfully Cathy and the other shelters employees were letting me take a day off since I barely slept and I was feeling anxious about going to school. What if people knew that I left home? I didn't want them thinking bad of me. And what if my parents showed up and tried to talk to me? I didn't want to see them.
Eric was the first one back to the shelter since he was a part time student. We decided to go for a walk since he didn't like being in the shelter all day. I was surprised at how funny he was. He kept me laughing our entire walk and we lost track of time until Eric got a call from Charlie telling us it was almost dinner.
For the second, third, and fourth night in a row I could not sleep again and I didn't understand why. I was completely fine during the day talking to all the kids in the shelter and getting closer with Eric. I saw a couple of my friends from school today and they were all pitying me despite acting perfectly normal. They tried to tell me to go home or to live with one of them but they don't understand. I needed to be on my own.
Saturday morning after breakfast, my new friends and I went to sit in the lounge until one of the volunteers started hassling us about our chores. I found out the reason they were at 360Kids and it shocked me how sad their lives have been and yet how happy they are. Meghan's parents were abusive, Eric's parents kicked him out, Charlie's mom is a drug addict, and John was neglected and starved by his parents.
Later on in the day Cathy came to find me to tell me that my parents were here and wanted to talk to me. She said it was my choice if I wanted to talk to them or not, but I wanted to. I haven't talked to them in 6 days and a small part of me missed them. I told Cathy that I would meet them outside.
When I walked outside both my parents rushed towards me to give me a hug. By the look of it neither of them got much sleep over the past couple days. My mom was crying begging me to come home and my dad was struggling not to break down in sobs. It broke my heart to see them like this but I was only going back if it was on my terms. They accepted my offer and within the next hour I was back home.