A young girl ties her Doc Martens, and pulls on her flannel shirt, leaving it loosely hanging over her ripped up jeans. Backpack slung over her shoulder, she takes one quick look around before she opens the door and steps out.
Cars drive by, headlights bright, as she makes her way down the street. Darkness envelops her, and she hugs her flannel tighter around her thin shoulders attempting to block the cool, damp night air. Eyes straight ahead, she trudges along.
Fifteen is the worst age to be, teetering precariously between the brink of adulthood and end of her childhood. “Get good grades, be home early”. Ha! If only she had someone who cared about her grades, or whether or not she even CAME home.
“Just me and mom,” she thinks bitterly, recalling all the times she has gone to bed hungry and alone while her mother was out for days on end. Knowing her mother needs her, to clean up the mess, to cook the meager dinners they eat, almost causes her to turn around but still she trudges on.
Leaving is not something she wants to do, it’s something she HAS to do. Money might be a problem, but she has her stash of babysitting money shoved down deep in her backpack rolled into a pair of socks, and she is used to making do with little to nothing.
“No one will touch me again,” she vows silently to herself, recalling the sting of the slap she got from her mothers latest boyfriend for making too much noise cleaning up THEIR beer bottles. Okay, maybe she did clink the bottles together harder than necessary, but she was sick of cleaning up after and being bossed around by her mother’s flavor of the month. Perhaps she could have been quieter, but that was no reason for him to hit her. Quickening her pace, she feels excitement as the bus station comes into view.
“Ready or not here I come”, she thinks to herself as she boards the bus heading to her destination. She pops in a tape and puts on the headphones of her Walkman as she settles into her seat.
The bus ride is long and she finds herself nodding off. Urban landscapes speed by the window, and she feels her excitement building. Visions of life in the big city fill her head. Washington is a big state, but at last, she is almost there.
Xavier will be waiting for her when her bus arrives, she hasn’t seen him in years. “You can stay with me,” he assured her.
“Zero” by the Smashing Pumpkins is playing on her Walkman as she steps off the bus in Seattle, scanning the crowd for Xavier.