Running to the Unknown

The Texas Story Project.

Hands trembling, heart pounding, he quickly packed his necessities. Toothbrush? Check. Wallet? Check. Aaron placed his house keys and phone on the table, in the empty house. They would be here soon, he needed to go. Anxiously he glanced around, quietly whispering goodbye to his childhood house, old memories, and the family and friends he would no longer see. Thunk. Clumsily he threw his stuff in the car, started it up, and began backing out, away from the house, his home, now his former home. Without any plan or destination, he drove west on I-10 towards San Angelo for 4 hours only stopping for food and gas until he was exhausted. Then, he pulled over in Brady, Texas, a small town he had never heard of, to stay the night.

Aaron drove around Brady searching for the cheapest hotel since he only had a couple of hundred dollars left. His search led him to TruCountry Inn. Aaron was checked into [his] room at about 8pm, by the manager Jack. The hotel was unique in the sense that it had themed rooms. He chose one of the cheaper rooms called the Bluebonnet room, but was sent to the Bonnie and Clyde room instead, named so because apparently on occasion the infamous duo had stayed in that exact room back in the days.

While there, he befriended the young manager Jack, who lived and worked at the hotel as the manager, housekeeper, and bartender. Aaron claims most of his time was spent at the hotel hanging out with Jack as he worked or talking with Jack during his work breaks on the hotel terrace. They quickly forged a close friendship, talking about the hotel and where they felt their life was leading them. Jack even told Aaron about all the unsavory characters that had stayed and worked at the hotel before, including a man who allegedly checked into the hotel once a month to cheat on his wife, and the fact that the hotel owner was Country Singer, Heather Myles. Aaron began liking the small town so much, for a short while all thoughts of him leaving vanished. One day, he even went to Walmart and bought a cellphone so he could apply to stores in the area in hope of getting a job. However, there were no openings at the time and was told multiple times one would be available in the upcoming month. But, he was tight on money and having to wait any longer would be a major struggle. Spontaneously, after days of being away from home and having no contact with family, Aaron called the only number he could remember, his Mom.

She was worried sick and crying frantically during their conversation. She was scared she would never see him again. In fact, Aaron admits initially he told his mom he had no intention of going home, but after hours of talking and thinking he realized that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t stay in the small town he’d grown so fond of. He didn’t have a job, and soon wouldn’t even have a place to stay since the town was hosting a festival that booked all the surrounding hotels, this left him only with the option of going home. The next morning, he checked out of his room and started his drive back to Houston, Tx, where he reunited with his family. However, despite being happy at home, Aaron still hopes soon one day he’ll get a call from one of the stores in Brady offering him a job, so he can move to the small town he grew attached to. But, until then he says he’ll be making trips back to visit with friends he made, and to get away from the stress and rush of the city.

Victoria Valtierra is currently a freshman at St. Mary’s University. She is pursuing a Psychology major, and is part of the Psychology Living and Learning Community on campus. Victoria is from Houston, TX and has 3 brothers and 1 younger sister. This story is about her older brother Aaron Valtierra who ran away from the busy city of Houston, TX to the small country town of Brady, TX.

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