When I was fifteen years old, I made the biggest decision of my life. Little did I know the impact it would have on my future in years to come. That day started like any other day. I awoke early. Took part in my morning routine. Once I was ready for school, I made some coffee and had a cigarette. As I walked to school I thought about my life. Ever since I was a little girl I was hated because I was white. I would drink mouth wash to give myself bad sore throat. I was called every name in the book. I always went home crying on a number of occasions. I began starving my self at the age of twelve because the kids would say I’ll be fat and ugly like my mother. As I got older the fights started. It wasn’t always one on one earthier. I always threw the first punch no matter what. I figured before I went down I was going to get a few good ones in first. I liked the fights better because they didn’t hurt as bad as the name calling. I felt alive; like I was indestructible. I felt nothing when I fought. I went from sad little girl to a very depressed teenager. By this time I was thinking a lot about suicide. There were a few attempts with no success. I always wondered if people would actually miss me if I died. I hated my self with passion. At this moment I stopped dead in my tracks. My thoughts kept racing. I was sick and tired of being a nobody. I was not going to be the victim any more. That’s when I made the biggest decision of my life. I took off my backpack and retrieved my school books with out a second glance I threw them in a pile of wet leaves. At that moment I decided to leave home. Any thing was better than the life I was living. I turned around and headed toward highway 90.
I didn’t know where I was going or how I would survive. That would come to me later. My only belonging was the close on my back and a nearly empty back pack. It contained a notebook full of morbid poems, a bunch of pens, and a half a pack of cigarettes. I had no money, no jacket, and no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t even wearing warm clothes. A hooded sweatshirt, jean shorts with polka dot tights, and mitch match socks. My socks stuck out like a sore thumb. One was red and black stripes. The other was blue and black stripes. My shiny black work man’s boots hugged my feet. My style of clothes drove my parents crazy. I remember one day my mother said to put something normal on. I told her at least I wasn’t dressed like a slut. She never made a comment again. I loved my mother. She sure had a sense of humor. I blocked the thought out before I lost my nerve.
I arrived at the interstate. Too my surprise it wasn’t busy. I thought the morning rush would still be going on. I walked up the ramp a little bit so the cars still had plenty of room to slow down and stop. The clouds continued to roll in covering what’s left of the sun light. The air smelt like rain would soon come. A car slowed down coming to a halt. I ran up to it preying the ride would be safe. I looked in to the driver’s seat window warning bells were ringing. A man sat in the driver’s seat with another in the passenger’s seat. They both had a scary looking grin on their faces. I turned the ride down. Learned along time ago to listen to those warning bells no matter how desperate you are. Five minutes has past, the rain began to fall. If I was a normal teenager running away from home I would have left and went to school or went home crying to my parents. I wasn’t. I was far from normal. I stuck my thumb out with chattering teeth still trying to get a ride. After ten more minutes I was soaked to the skin. Another five minutes another car pulled up. An overweight man smiled, “You look like you need a ride.”
“I sure do.”
“Well get in.”
Still shaking I asked, “Where you heading.”
“Next city over. Reach in the back seat for that jacket. You can put it on.”
Where are you heading?”
“To my aunt’s house. You see I lost my plane ticket and to avoid her getting made at me I hitching rides.” I was surprised how easy it was to lye to a complete stranger. I guess all the lying I did to my parents is finally paying off.
“Well if you don’t have a destination the best place for some one like you is Hollywood. With that lying talent of yours, you’ll fit in just fine.”
“I ain’t lying,” maybe it didn’t pay off. I’m earthier a very bad liar or he’s really bright.
“I really don’t care. I seen a lot for someone my age and you my girl are a runaway. Better be careful. You can get raped, beat up, maybe even killed. You’re lucky I’m a nice guy.” The car came to a stop. I began to talk off the jacket. “Keep it,” he said. “You want to go home I’ll take you there or you can keep going. It’s not too late to change your mind.”
I got out of the car. “Thanks for the ride and the coat.” I crossed the street to the freeway entrance.
The rain ended. Though the threat of more lingered. My clothes are going to take along time to dry. I needed new ones. I decided to find some clothes then find a ride. Holly wood sounded like a good idea. Maybe I can survive there. I could start over. Be anybody I wanted to be. I went to a Laundromat a couple of blocks away. The place was not too crowded. I sat down in one of the hard plastic chairs studying my surroundings. Three washers and two dryers were in use. A person or two stood next to four of them. I paid attention to the one left alone. Being farsighted I was able to see how many minutes were left; ten. I stared at the dryer. I didn’t care if the clothes were too big I just wanted to be warm and dry. I finally stood up and walked to the dryer. I found a shirt right away. As I was looking for a pair of pants I heard some one yell. I looked up a girl close to my age was coming out of the bathroom. I never thought of checking the bathroom. She was a tall red head walking in my direction. She looked mad. I grabbed the first pair of pants I saw. Then ran. She ran too. I couldn’t believe it that she was chasing me over an out fit. It wasn’t even a complete outfit. I didn’t even get socks. Eventually she caught up to me. She grabbed my jacket and yanked me to a stop.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” She snatched the clothes out of my hands. I looked at her with my big brown puppy dog eyes. “And lose that pity me look. That only works on guys.”
“I’m sorry. I got caught in the rain. I’m cold and wet and had no money for new ones.”
“You’re on the streets aren’t you?”
“Bran new.” I shook my head yes instead of repeating myself. “Here.” She gave the clothes back to me. “Come on.”
I followed her back to the Laundromat. I changed in the bathroom. The pants were a little big. . I used my headband for a belt. But I couldn’t complain. It was warm and dry. That’s all I wanted. When I came out of the bathroom, The redhead was folding the clothes. A tall guy was standing next to her he was putting them in two backpacks. She smiled. All was forgotten about my little incident. She acted like my best friend.
“Put your clothes in the dryer. Your backpack too. Here,” she gave me a dollar worth of quarters. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Lisa and this is my boyfriend Johnny. Where you heading?”
At that moment, I have chosen my destination. For the next tree and a half years I would spend in Hollywood, California. I would run the streets. Doing stuff that no mother in her right mind would be proud of. This is where my story really begins.