They came for me during the night, ringing the doorbell as if they were polite visitors. I’d been expecting them. I kept my clothes by the side of my bed so I could dress quickly. I raised the bedroom window, straddled the sill, and stepped out onto the steep gabled roof, steadying my balance. From there I could just reach a limb of the sugar maple and swing myself into the thickness of its branches and hide in the leaves. But the leaves would soon turn brilliant yellow and orange and then fall to the ground leaving me exposed. I couldn’t stay here forever.
Now they were pounding on the door and shouting they knew I was in there and for me to come out. I quietly worked my way down the ladder of limbs and dropped into the backyard. I scooted around the side of the house and caught a glimpse. There were two of them. Their vehicle was in the driveway with its engine running and lights on. They must have thought this would take only a moment and that of course I would comply with their demands, but I don’t comply with demands. I defy, which is why they’d come for me.
One spoke to the other and they split up and headed in opposite directions around the house looking for another way in. I climbed the fence into the yard next door. A dog began to bark. It had to be Rex, the shepherd that lived two doors down. Another dog farther away joined in. I crouched low and made my way toward the front. I sprinted across the lawn and got into their vehicle. I backed out and was on my way down the street by the time they noticed. In the rearview mirror I saw one of them throw up their hands. The other was on their phone.
I drove for six blocks to the subway station and left their vehicle in the traffic lane. The number four train was just arriving into the station and I took the stairs two at a time and got on just as the doors were closing. That’s how I escaped. Maybe it was a dumb idea to run. Maybe they’d track me down again in a few hours. Certainly they would post someone at my house in case I returned. I wouldn’t. That part of my life was over.
I rode the train as far as the waterfront and sat on the pier and I savored this time I had left alone, enjoying the scent of the water and the moonlight glistening on its surface, a minute more, embracing what was left of my freedom, knowing they wouldn’t stop searching until they found me.