I started running away at 12, the first time was to Edinburgh.
I was standing in the school office, numbing up for the inevitable telling off, and there they were, a huge roll of grass green dinner tickets sitting staring at me. They were even the colour of money. The 6th form prefect, deep in her own self-righteous story, undoubtedly a fantasy of praise about to be bestowed upon her for reporting my latest indiscretion, wouldn’t have considered how swiftly I might have stuffed anything of value into my school bag. Just too easy.
I couldn’t wait to tell Jana. Jana was a late comer to the high school. Who knows how she ended up at such a posh school, but the way she told it, her story began and ended with the fact she was a gypsy. She looked it with her dark, gold speckled green eyes and sallow skin but then she had this one canine tooth in her massive slightly jutting jaw that gave her a devilish appearance. I wouldn’t have been surprised to catch her doing voodoo if she thought no-one was watching. Later, she certainly got her claws into my boyfriend: “I just asked him if he wanted to see my tan and when I showed him my belly….” As if animal lust was mitigation for breaking a girlfriend rule. Anyway, I found her, and working on my shifty eyed squint, I said. revealing the booty under my blazer: “Look what I’ve got! We’re selling them!”. There was no protest and gamely forgetting that this was a school for young ladies and not those of the St Trinian’s ilk, either, that’s what we did. We sold loads. Later when the inevitable summons came, we knew someone had snitched, I said: “Let’s not even go there”. We sneaked out the back next to the bicycle sheds, walking with nonchalant upper bodies and sneaky striding legs all the way down the back lane that separated the tall town houses from the mansions on Albyn Place. Out of school bounds we openly scooted down the back streets to Aberdeen joint station and jumped on a train. Phew!