*Excerpts from Runaway Grandma: Chapter One, The Escape, pages 12-14

...Despite our weariness, we talked through the night. As the hour of our final good-byes drew closer, the more we ignored our fatigue.

As I checked out, ambivalent feelings flooded my soul. Luella and I settled for a pancake breakfast. After our second cup o f coffee and our second trip to the restroom, it was time to pick up my 'new' SUV. She waited in a nearby parking lot.

Everything went like clock work. I pulled up beside her and she heaved my bags onto the back seat of my new Blazer.

"I just can't believe I'll never see you again. Please be safe and
have many healthy years ahead of you, dear Olivia." Luella said, wiping tears form her cheeks.

"I'll think of you everday and I'll pray for you too. Just  leaving like this doesn't  mean you can escape me; I'll be with you in spirit everyday."  

I hugged my best friend. "I'll call you after the dust settles, I really will. You know I'll always love you."

She gently squeezed my shoulder . "Be safe, my friend."
I clasped her hand one last time. "Godspeed."

I pulled onto the highway followed by Luella. We honked loud final goodbyes as I drove onto the eastbound ramp, and Luella entered the westbound ramp of Interstate 80 to return to the only life we've ever known.

I began to wonder if I could really follow through with this decision I'd made, my constantly misting eyes made driving difficult for the first hour but I was determined not to turn back.

I'd packed a few things that won't even be missed when they go through the house. They'll be certain they waited too long to act on their incompetent old mother when they find I withdrew my entire pension. But by then I'll be long gone; I chose a freedom with uncertainty over secure entrapment.

A month ago it hit me; I'd outlived my little sister. Poor Eloise. She hadn't even been buried as I watched her quibbling offspring and their greedy spouses bicker about how much was she worth and who would get what. It made me sick with disgust...as well as stop and think.

And I'd tried to help my late husband's dear sister, Evelyn, as much as I could through her last years, but it was excruciatingly painful. Her two sons were determined to get their 'rightful inheritnce' while they were still young enough to enjoy it. They set out and succeeded to prove their own mother incompetent , which we overturned by the court a year later. Two months after the competency reversal an untreatable brain malignancy was diagnosed. She died six months later at the Hospice Care Center, her sons nowhere in sight. In the meantime, they'd squandered her life savings and she was left with barely enough to pay for her funeral.

So, I made my annual trip to New York City a few months earlier than usual to attend the theaters. I'd always been fascinated by the foriegn ambiance of Forty Seventh St. I managed to become acquainted with Isaac, a nice young diamond dealer who sold me a small bag of diamonds with the proceeds of my pension and investments.

And he agreed to buy them back from me as I needed cash. It was my ticket to freedom. Of course, I set aside some starter cash.

I also found a counterfeiter, thanks to a tip from Isaac, and obtained two sets of false identities. Damn those kids. No matter what, they've never been  staisfied. Their voracity is insatiable. I decided to break free before Alexander's veiled threats about my incompetence became my reality. I need one last adventure and that's just what I'm going to do. Have me an adventure.

My sleepless night caught up with me and by early afternoon I checked in at a cozy bed and breakfast in Auburn, Iowa. Mrs. Tuft, the sixty-something proprietor, didn't ask too many questions and readily accepted cash. I appreciated that.

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