"My last thoughts that night were wondering if I would freeze to death. If this spot in the carpet would be my final resting place. Would this be the way that I died? I wondered if there would be a funeral. I couldn’t think of anyone who would come. How would they even know who I was if no one was looking for me?"
I come from a long line of broken women and bad men. By the time I was 14, I had experienced so much suffering and abuse that I was tired of being scared all of the time. One day I packed a bag and headed for the city. I didn’t know where I would go, or what I would do. . . but I knew that I had to get out of there.
No one came looking for me, either.
By nature, I am an introvert. I was always quiet and reserved as a child, never asking for much.
Needing things got me into trouble. I learned to stay shadows to avoid that trouble. Being homeless, however, it taught me how to be an extrovert. I knew that if I wanted a meal or a place to sleep, I had to learn to make friends quickly. I learned to read people well and to listen when they talked. I always knew when it was time leave. It was around the time that parents started asking,
“Do her parents know she’s been here for three days?”
“Should I call her mother?”
“Why is she still here?”
Yep, time to go.
Making friends became my job. Getting food and shelter were how I got paid. When you aren’t old enough to work, you become very resourceful. As soon as I was of legal working age, I held down a job and went to school. Working was never a problem for me. I was an Iowa farm girl. I knew how to work. I took any job I could get—mostly fast food or as a waitress. It was quick money, I had somewhere to eat, and I was warm for my whole shift.
There were times where there just wasn’t a friend to be made. I would sleep anywhere and everywhere I could find. There was one night, in particular, that’s burned into my memory.