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Eyes, soft, wanting; longing for only someone to love her. She sees other people’s happiness and wishes more then anything it could be her own. Smiles and grins of old friends fill her mind and yet she still frowns. One person, one real human being, is all she really wants in life. Someone to talk to, to laugh with, to share her worries with. But life has been unfair to her; showing her small glints of hope and then hiding it in the shadows, only to become another lost dream.
She watches couples in the park, holding hands and giggling. She looks down at her own palms as a single tear runs down her face. She slowly wipes it away. She reaches in her bag and pulls out a small leather bound book with all its inside pages blank. All but one that reads, “They say the world is as big as we make it and it can only grow with the right care. I am going to change this world and help it grow to its full potential. In this journal I will record all that I do for this world and its people and maybe one day this book will be found and I will be remembered as someone great. Date, November 23, 1989”.
Twenty years ago, twenty years and the pages were all clean. She flipped to the back cover and looked at a picture stuck in the binding. “I’m sorry mom. I’m sorry dad”. It was her parents who had given her the book and to whom she vowed that she would make something great of herself. She wondered where they were now and if they were thinking of her. She had left so suddenly and only left a brief note for goodbye. She wrote only what they needed to know; that she was safe, that someday she would be home and, most importantly, that she loved them.
She had been so young when she left, barely seventeen. She was sixteen when she received the journal, as the year continued she felt overwhelmed and pressured to keep the promise she made to her parents. It became too much for her to handle, the day before her seventeenth birthday, she left. In the dead of night she climbed out her bedroom window and ran hard into the darkness until she was far from her home, from her street, from her town, from her state. She awoke in an empty park in a neighborhood she’d never been in or seen before. She didn’t have time to be scared or regretful. She was alone now and had to take care of herself.
With very little money and no knowledge of the city it would not be easy to survive. She spent six months living on the streets, begging for food. When she finally found a low rate job she couldn’t afford anything more then a “Motel 6” room in a terrible area. She worked six to ten everyday and spent the rest of the night alone with her tears and misery. She spent years working the same dead end job that led no where but more hardship. When she turned nineteen she finally left her motel room in search of something more.
But nothing could be found. She wandered the city, performing various jobs but always returning to cramped hotel rooms. She knew she couldn’t live that way forever but she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t go home, she couldn’t face them; not after all this time. Would they still love her? Had they forgiven her for the pain she caused them? This she didn’t know and was too afraid to find out.
More time passed. Days seemed to all run together into one never one ending cycle. Sleepless nights passed by the dozens. And now here she is in the same park, reliving all the moments. A light snow drifted in the cold air but she hardly noticed. She sat in the park long after dark, absolutely motionless. The world around her was still and silent. Nothing moved. The only light came from the moon, high in the sky. Snow continued to fall; the ground was covered with a soft, white, blanket. She sighed and stood up. She began to walk the frosty path to the park entrance.
There was but one car on the road. All apartment lights were turned dim or completely off. She thought of her own pink bedroom back home with her parents; if they were still there anyway. She moved slowly, shuffling her feet and watching the ground pass under her. It was all so familiar to her now, the streets, the houses, even the stray dogs. But she could never think of this as home, home is where you are same and with people you love; not on the street with strangers.
As she turned down a back road a speeding car flew by, did a “U turn”, and slowly drove toward her. She felt her heart pound hard against her chest as if it was going to break through. When the driver of the car reached her, he lowered the passenger’s seat window and leaned closer. It was dark inside the vehicle but she could tell it was a man. She wanted nothing more then to stretch her legs long and run like she did when she left, but she had to stay composed and as calm as possible.
She didn’t make eye contact or even acknowledge the man was there. She veered left and down an ally for she knew no car could fit between the close walls. When she finally made it to the opposite side the street was quiet and empty. The only cars were parked on the curve. She sighed and continued walking. The snow had advanced from a light dusting to blizzard-like conditions. She could barely see where she was going.
The wind stung her bare face mercilessly. She didn’t know how much further the motel was; she didn’t even know what street she was on anymore. She knew she would end up lost if she continued wandering so she found another ally and hid in its shelter. She was so exhausted; she allowed her eyelids slide closed. She drifted to a light sleep. She dreamed of a cozy home with a crackling fire. The family was warm and welcoming and although they were not her family she felt as if she had known and loved them.
She could smell the ham roasting in the oven. She watched the people dance and laugh and hug one another. This was a dream she didn’t want to have to wake up from but like all good things, it came to an end. She awoke suddenly after hearing a police siren. She looked around to see that the snow had stopped and left at least a foot of snow on the ground. She could see the sun beginning to climb over the tall buildings to the east. She slowly stood up, stiff and cold.