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Jessica Ridgeway; Left Alone In a Field
For Jessica Ridgeway....
I remember when I was your age.
Ten was the worst age in the world. Up. All you want to do is grow up...go up...move right up and be perfect like you think you will be, would be if you could just grow up.
You’ll turn Eleven...it’s the next big adventure. You get out and move up a little. New school, new friends, still small.
You’ll turn Twelve...it’s better. You meet a boy. You like him...like...you like-like him. He’s the first one to give you butterflies.
You’ll turn Thirteen...it’s awful. You’ll fight with your mom and everyone will think the two of you will kill each other. You leave middle school. It was dramatic and you hated it.
You’ll miss it next year...
You’ll turn Fourteen...high school makes you nervous. You’re a freshman this year. Half of your friends are gone. I’m sorry...you’ll never get them back. You lose your virginity. You only regret it for a couple weeks. “Life moves on and so will I.”
You’ll turn Fifteen...where to even begin with fifteen...you know everything. You’re the ‘smartest, cutest, most brilliant thing on earth’ and the world is your playground. You can get anything you want. And so you do. Lower your ego and focus on school...you’ll thank me.
You’ll turn Sixteen...you fall in love. I mean deep, head over feet, flat on your face in love. He’s nice. He’s taller than you. He likes all the same things that you do. You get along. You love each other. He says he will “stay forever.” He doesn’t. You shatter. You regret nothing.
You’ll turn Seventeen...you don’t want to grow up. You want to stay ten forever. Go back. Be a kid. Never know love...never know pain or drugs or sex or stress. You want to be able to play and not have a care in the world. Down. Grow down. Move down. Go back. “Take me back..” You’ll hear about a ten year old baby girl, taken and left alone in a field. You’ll cry for the first time in weeks. You’ll want to save her. You'll have a growing obsession with serial killers. You'll want to read their minds. Know them. Conquer them. You'll decide your profession.
You’ll graduate...get into Community College. Get a tattoo that somehow puts all of your life lessons into a glob of ink, under your skin. You’ll live life looking over your shoulder. Nothing will be easy. Everything will be beautiful. That rush of adrenaline that somehow fixes everything.
You’ll date boys. Lots of them. Most of them will be jerks. Your parents won’t approve of your life choices, at least once between now and Thirty. You will know more love, suffering, disappointment and joy than that poor little girl would have ever dreamed of.
You’ll live a life to fix others. You help the helpless and the ones whose voices have been silenced.
You’ll think of her name, among others and sigh a little.
You’ll want to cry every time you fail at your job. Criminal Profiling....Victim Counseling...you track down the bad and fix the people they have affected. You’re one of the few people that knows how hideous the world is. You try your hardest to make it beautiful. You’ll fix lives. Have friends. Find love...lose it.
You’ll know life better and live it more efficiently than most of the people your age. You know how easily it can be stolen. Your friends will have kids.
You’ll fear for them and make sure they are protected. You’ll constantly look for an answer that will never be found. You’ll want to fix the world.
You’ll love even the most broken people and put them before yourself. You’ll chase down killers and wipe away tears and maybe, hopefully, go to bed feeling accomplished.
I wish you could have lived to see the world. Felt the love, the pain and soaked up the knowledge that I have been blessed to. You will never be forgotten. Life will never be taken for granted. Experiences, breaths, love, are all gifts that we need to be reminded of. You will not be forgotten. The person responsible will be brought to justice. I promise.