Runaway Children

By Susan Black

I missed Sean when he didn’t show up for English class.

At 14, Sean was quiet and thoughtful, but his writing was vibrant. Some days, he’d silently hand me a handwritten essay --  not a class assignment --  that showed insights beyond his years.

A police officer arrived at school one day to inform us that Sean’s parents had reported him missing. The officer said that Sean, who’d never been in trouble before, had driven his dad’s new car without permission. He’d crashed the car and, despite a widespread search, was nowhere to be found.

Days passed and our worries turned to worst fears. One afternoon, the officer returned with the news that Sean had been found dead, but not from injuries sustained in the accident. He had committed suicide. The officer handed me a crumpled paper. Before taking his life, Sean had written a sorrowful apology to his dad, and a final goodbye to me.

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