Perspectives: The Wanderer

Deidre Pulley

“I’m sorry mom, but I left. I can’t stand living here. You said you didn’t care what happen(s) to me so please don’t call the cops.”

Maggie Alcantara, 17, ran away from home on Oct. 14.

At 9:15 p.m., Lilia Alcantara came home from work at La Bodega, a Mexican market in Paducah. Kentucky.There was a note in the kitchen by the microwave. She opened it.

“I can’t explain. It was very hard,” she said about reading the note.

This was not the first time Maggie ran away from home. It all started her freshman year of high school, when she ran away after a fight with her mom. Over time, tension between Maggie and her mom grew.

“One day she loves me, and the next day she’s mad at me,” Maggie said.

For two days Lilia drove her youngest child, Donnie, to school — but not Maggie. After school, Donnie would stay at La Bodega, but now without his sister beside him. While Maggie was missing, Lilia had to keep La Bodega open. She couldn’t afford to close the store that she has owned and operated for three years.

“This is like my second home. I’m here all the time,” she said.

On Oct. 19, just as Lilia and Donnie sat down to eat after school, Lilia got a phone call. The police had found Maggie. They immediately left La Bodega to pick her up.

“We just acted like nothing happened and move on,” Maggie said.

Maggie said everything remained the same as before.

“Sometimes I tell her ‘Yeah, run away, I don’t care what happens.’ But she’s my daughter and I love her,” Lilia said. “She’s my baby.”

Contact Deidre Pulley at [email protected].