I never meant for my life to be like this. It just... happened.
Maybe it was because of what I grew up around. But maybe it was just my own unconcious decision. Did I actually want to leave my family behind? Was there an actual reason for running away?
Yeah. There was. And it wasn't just some small thing, either. My parents were always fighting. My mother brought in random guys from the street. My dad was a drug dealer. I always had to watch my little sister, Jasmine. Teachers were always yelling at me for not turning in work. They didn't know what went on at home, but they didn't care. They wouldn't listen when I tried to tell them that I wasn't comfortable with the way things were going on at home. They wouldn't listen when I told them that my parents were breaking the law.
It was hard to write the letter telling them good-bye. I knew they wouldn't care much. They'd just get pissed off that I was gone. Then they'd have to have someone else watch Jasmine. Then they'd have to deal with their problems. No. They wouldn't ever deal with their problems. That wasn't an ideal thing for them. So they wouldn't do it. Not even if my life had ever depended on it. The only reason I wrote a good-bye letter was so I could try and knock some sense into them. Just maybe it would work.
It was hard to kiss Jasmine on the forehead for the last time. She was only seven. She wouldn't last living on the streets. I knew I couldn't take her with me. It wasn't safe here, but I knew I couldn't provide for her on the run. I knew she actually had friends. Teachers that would eventually sense that something was wrong when she'd show up with bruises or scars on her arms and legs. She was just a kid. She didn't understand what was going on. All I could do was hope that she would help herself if anything ever got terrible. Jasmine was a smart girl. She knew how to keep herself out of trouble.
It was hard seeing all of my things fitting into one small bag. We'd never had many things, let alone anything extra. Jasmine was lucky enough to have a ratty old Barbie doll I'd found for her on the way home from school one day. She had only just begun to notice how we were different from other families. She didn't know why dad was always being antsy or why they fought all the time.
But it was easy to leave.
I'd had a plan for awhile. It was only after tonight that I actually used it. Mom had another guy over, and dad walked in on her riding the guy in the kitchen. I'd kept Jasmine in the bathroom, and we sang Disney songs as loud as possible to keep out the moans that drifted through the paper-thin walls. Once dad got home, I almost had to yell Selena Gomez and Hannah Montana songs at the topo of my lungs to drown out the screaming.
"You fucking slut. Always dragging in scum from the streets! You could kill us, you damn whore! The police could be tracking us, bitch!" dad yelled.
"Oh sure, you act like you don't have five dollar hookers on call, you dick!" she screamed at him.
Once there was glass breaking I knew I couldn't stay here. I could only pray that the neighbors would call the cops. If they didn't, I would.
Later once they stopped fighting, I crept outside of the bathroom and tucked Jasmine into bed. With that done, I wrote up the letter and packed my stuff. Then I crawled out the window and left. That was the easiest thing I did in my life. And maybe the worst.
We only lived thirty minutes from Chicago. It wasn't going to be the shortest walk, but it was my first step in my plan. I knew it would be hard to keep under cover, but maybe not. The likelyhood of anyone knowing me was slim. I had that in my advantage. But even some people know that a fifteen-year-old girl shouldn't be on the streets by herself.
But I knew how to lose my identity. I'd stolen thirty bucks from my dad's wallet before I left. It was enough to last me at least a week if I ate off of the dollar menu at McDonalds, and it was enough to get a haircut and some hair dye. The haircut would be self-styled, and the scissors would be stolen, but in all, what did it really matter?
My intial plan was to get a job as a stripper or a prostitute. Sure, it wasn't ideal, but it didn't require an i.d. I would use the money from that to get a fake i.d. And then I could quit the whole thing. And I hoped I would have enough quickly. The sooner, the better.
The walk to Chicago was long and boring. But it didn't matter; this walk was me walking into freedom. Who cares if my parents would get in trouble? They deserved it. Karma would havecaught up with them sooner or later, anyway. Who am I to stop it?
Once I finally got there, though, it felt likea huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Now all I had to do was keep going. I took oine look at the city in front of me and sighed. I was actually on my own now. I'd really done it.