Monica Jordan (MJ) and LaTonya Walker (LW)
LW: My mother was very, very strict. I was like, ‘Man, I just want to go outside and play.’
MJ: Yeah, we couldn’t do that. You know, our parents had to work. So for their peace of mind and for our safety, we could go no further than the front yard.
Our friends would come over and we would tell them that we were gonna run away and they never believed us.
LW: One particular morning, I wanted to go somewhere and I asked my mom and the answer, of course, was no, as it was always. But I was tired of hearing no. And I was the one that decided, ‘Hey, we gonna run away.’
So you and I went downstairs, we packed a backpack with some Oreos, some orange slices, some little sandwiches.
MJ: And like, the really old school bologna sandwiches with the little red ring that you had to pull off the sides of ‘em.
We left like eight or something that morning and we just started walking up the road.
I do remember us going to the mall and it was just one full day of playtime.
LW: And then I remember we pulled out a map and we was like, ‘We’re gonna go to my dad’s house.’ He was the fun dad. I could eat what I want, do what I want.
And so as we were walking up this little ramp—
MJ: —There’s these two men yelling, ‘Hey, hey! You all can’t go on that interstate, it’s dangerous.’
LW: It turns out that one of them actually knew my father.
MJ: They called him and took us back home.
By this time it was nighttime. When we pulled up, our friends drove up in their bikes and they were like, ‘Oh my god, you all did it,’ as we went into the house knowing full well that we probably wouldn’t see them for an entire week.
LW: That’s when we got the stern [laughs] words.
MJ: My mom has actually flat out asked me what possessed us to run. Like, what were you all thinking? And I always say I was just following you. [Laughs]
LW: Oh lord.
MJ: We did something really foolish, but I will have to admit, for like a half a second I felt like we were heroes.
Our parents raised us to be independent. And I realize that I’ve never been afraid to just go out and wander the world on my own.
LW: I think that’s probably why I’m not married, because I don’t want to have to answer to anybody. [Laughs] So yeah, that’s what that meant to me, just living my life on my own terms. That same little fearless girl, I still am today.