A girl runs awa from home becuase of a painful past and confusing social stnading, on hte road she meets two strangers who become her best friends nad they're destination ot california
I think we all have those things. Those small little things, in the back of your head, that nag for your attention and gather strength until you can’t od anything but turn around and get things right. Good for me, my concense melted away at an early age.
The sun beat down bright and made me sweat a little more than I already was. I wore my gray leggings, yellow tank top, and black AC-DC baseball shirt over it. My hair held the dye really well for two-weeks old. It was blonde with purple streaks. I got rides easy, looking like a scene kid, but mostly it was my bobs and booty that got me rides. Guys thought they could get some if they gave some. No mister.
When I up and ran I thought going to California, getting away from this asshole town, would make me forget my small little back-of-the-mind thigns that I couldn’t do.
Mostly it just made me think of them more.
My black converse were beaten with age and I stuck my thumb out on the Wisconsin highway until I saw a beat up blue VW Hippie Van pull over. There was a girl and boy in there.
The boy had to own the van. He wore old Screamo Band Tee’s and skinny jeans. My type of people. He got out of the driver seat and walked around to the passenger seat. His hair flew in the wind. It was hippie-long and blonde. A small girl hopped out of the seat. She had brown hair, well naturally brown hair, her bangs were dyed pikn and blue, like cotton candy. She looked like she was either a little chubby or recently impregnated. She started puking. Pregnant. I knew the type. I thought they could take me on. In fact, I was pretty sure I’d seen the boy around my old town before.
“Hey!” I called and turned to walk towards them. They looked up. The girl continued puking.
“Sorry.” The boy tried to chuckle. “Bad French fries.” It looke like it. I pikced at my bracelet’s and looked around, running my fingers through my bangs.
“Hey.” The girl said. “I’ve sene you before.” She breathed, wiping he mouth on her hand. “You run around with the Emo’s. What are you doing running away?” She got me right away. It was easy to tell when someone was an underage runaway. She knew at first sight. Although, she was obviously one too.
“I don’t know.” I muttered.
“Well, we’ve got a whole house in here, you’re welcome… if you want.” The boy offered. I looked form him to the girl. She seemed accepting ot the idea. I nodded.
“Ok. Let’s hit it- you alright, Babe?” He put his arm around her and helped her back into the van.
Running away generally has three steps. 1] The Run. 2] Dreamland. 3] Acceptance.
The Run was the easiest part for me. The quickest. I got out quickly, and ran even quicker. Finding myself walking down highways, thumbs out, stuck me in Dreamland. It’s a state of being for most runaways. Is this real? Am I really alone? If you’re lucky, like Thomas and Lizzy, you really aren’t alone. But in my case, no one knew I was leaving. No one knew i left. I couldn’t stand the guilt. Nobody knew why. Nobody would know why, ever. It’s what I do. I couldn’t stand the constant reminders, I had to leave. I had to run. Running is what I do. I ran from change. Now, four years later, any good person would have talked ot her ex-best friend. I ran from difference. I should go back and accept my sister’s new family, even if they are disgusting. I ran from feelings. I should have called Chris and apologized. I was a dick about the whole thing. But I ran. I hid my feelings from him, and I ran. And it was too late.
I woke up, tears in the corners of my eyes. I noticed the vna was still. I looked up. Thomas was sleeping, head back on the seat, snoring lightly. Lizzy was watching me. She was petting my hair.
“What’s wrong?” She climbed back beside me, curling up int oa tiny little ball. “I know you rna away for a reason. What was it? A boy? Family?” She dug around. “Come on, Gabbi, you can tell me.” I almost believed her. But then again, I almost believe a lot of things.
“Family issues.” I lied. “You?” I wiped the tears from my eyes. I wondred how someone could sleep-cry.
“This little guy.” She rubbed her stomach. “This little miracle.” Her smile was invincible to the world. She glowed as she looked from her stomach, up to Thomas. That was some kind of love that I’d never seen before.
“Well?” I paved a strip for her to continue.
“Well, Thomas’s father is a pastor, and extremely over protective.” She explained. “He was okay, beucsae I was a church-go-er, when we stated ‘dating’ [she rolled her eyes] but we weren’t allowed ot hang out alone. So Thomas would sneak out around two in the morning, so we could meet at the park and just talk about things we couldn’t talk about before. We would make out and other horny teen things[ laughter] but nothing more.
“And whne Thomas’ brother caught us, and snitched to his dickhole of a father, Thomas got kicked out for not repenting. “ She looked at me. “His father was making him apologize for having sex, which hwe never did.” She seemed genuinely annoyed by the idea, and I was too. “So after he made Thomas come back home, we started meeting up again, I mean that asshole can’t stop us. He siad we could do whatever we wanted after Thomas turned eighteen but before, Thomas was baned from seeing me.” She sighed.
“Low and behold, the one night I persuaded Thomas, notice how I had to persuade HIM, into having sex, I was pregnant. The only logical thing ot od was run away. I mean, his father wouldn’t help, my parents would disown me, and it’s all genrally better this way. So… Hell. Why not?” She threw a box of Nerds into her seat and followed them.
She sat cross-legged, eating them happily, and watching Thomas and me. There was something about her. Something extremely happy inside. I couldn’t help but bet that it was always there, and not just from the baby.
I started to form a bond with Lizzy and Thomas. I mean, I figured for a pastor son he would have some sence of guilt of conscience, but luckily for me, it wasn’t too over ruling.
They let me play out my litte game I usually did with hitchhikees, but on the hitchers we would pick up.
I told htem a sad sob story about my ‘abusive family past’ and Lizzy threw in htat she was from a poor third-world family.
They would gently sypmathize for us, being form ‘similar’ backrounds, and give us some money for along the way.
Trevor pulled out his bag of weed from their broken down mini-fridge that just sat there in the van, and sold to more fortunate-looking kids. He avoided the old men standing on the streets when we were in big towns. He said we’d get into trouble with them.
I didn’t understand what kind but I just let it go.
Around the fifth day of traveling with them, because we stopped for long periods for naps and maybe a joint, we had reached Denver, Colorado. It was a very Hispanic town, Danver was. At least what we drove through. WE stopped at a ghetto part of the street for a long nights rest. I pulled out my cell phone I had brought with me.
I figured I would have stayed at a hotel so I brought the cell and the charger, knowing that when my parents found out I had brought it with me, they would keep it connected, and call.
I had 59 missed calls and 24 voicemails. About fifteen text messages.
I looked for the one name I really wanted to hear from.
There were five texts.
Where Are You- Chris
Gabbi, stop, it’s not funny- C
You can talk to me about this- C [too late for that]
Gabbi, I know what this is about, you’re parents talked to me
One voicemail. “Gabriella? It’s Chris. Give me a call okay? I at least want to know you’re okay.”
I almost lost it on that one. I mean, he sounded like he’d returned ot old Chris. Not Jerk Chris. I curled up in a ball.
“Who brings a cell phone when their running away?” Thomas laughed to himself, groggily, before nodding off the sleep.
Tears ran down my across my face as I slept, it was safe because I knew Lizzy and Thomas weren’t waking up for anything right now. They were too exhausted.
I drifted off to my usual dream.
I replayed the scene, and I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t fix anything. I couldn’t sto myself form being an asshole, even if I had so wanted to the first time.
“Gabbi, I like us better when we were friends, ya know? I don’t want ot hurt you, and I know that this doesn’t feel the same as the beginning.” He siad, solemnly.
“Is that it?” I chuckled. “Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” I couldn’t help but laugh. His black hair, straightened, nung over his right eye. His square Buddy Holly galsses were shving over his pupils but eve nthen I could see his eyes change.
“Dude, I’ve been thinking that for a while.” I laughed some more. I mean, I couldn’t help but be an asshole. For the past week I had been scared ot admit that we woudn’t work for more than BFF’s. I couldn’t tell him because, even though I tell him everything, all the time, this was ABOUT HIM.
“So, wait, you’ve been acting like nothing’s weird just to.. What? Guard my feelings?” Actually, I wantd ot say, to guard my own feelings. But this up-brought guarding wall is always shielding my serious side. It’s os I can’t get hurt.
“Um.. No…” I lied, “It was just because I really wanted a make out bud!” I gave him a light punch on the shoulder. He forced a little smile.
“Right. Cool. I’m okay with that.” But eve nthen I could tell he wasn’t. he expected me to be more open about this. He was the guy I used ot share all my deep thoughts with. But when it comes ot dating, I always have ot be the asshole, bot the broken-heart.
This is one thing he should have known. But it’s always Chris who gets rejected by girls. It’s always Chris who gets his heart stomped. He thought I was just another one of them. So badly, I wantedot say ‘No! No! It’s not you! It’s me! You know how I am! Remember before? When I told you everything? Remember how I always siad that I would break the hearts, not let the assholes break my heart? Remember that?
“So you know you didn’t have ot be so weird about it all.” I coughed ot clear the tension.
“Right. Yeah, I know.” He looked down and around.
“You make me laugh.” I giggled.
“Yea…” He looked up and hten down again. “Thanks.” But it was dead. He cleared his throat before saying “Yea.. So.. Um… bye.” An walked away. Down the empty hallway to his Speech class which he had skipped ot come see me in the Music Study Hall. I felt the Major Asshole guilt trip coming on. I saw his slumped shoulders turn the corner. I wanted ot be like “Wait! Wait!” but I couldn’t say anything.
Like I said. There are things that I should do, but I can’t do them.
This time I woke up and Lizzy nad Thomas were sitting in fornt of me with chocolate donuts and Monster cans.
“What?” And then I realized I had been sobbing through the night. Thomas had a sincere look of worry on his face while Lizzy poured her usual ray of sunshine on us all.
“Hey, Gabs.” She held a donut for me to take. Thomas tossed me a Monster.
“Did you guys lift them?” I was worried they hadn’t.
“Nope.” Thomas smiled.
“You guys! No! Don’t use money for comfort food!” I said.
“And we knew you would say that, so we made up a new reason.” Lizzy laughed, “I had a dream last night. I’m for sure the baby is a boy. We’re decicing on a name.” She smiled.
“That’s’ great! Trust youre instincts.” It’s something I always siad to myself while I meditated in my room.
I found that with Lizzy and Tom I could just be my old self, more and more. I found myself saying all the sarcastic things that filtered through my head. I even felt truly happier. I could steal bracelets from Wal*Mart and feel joyous about it once again. Chris would have loved it.
And hten I remembered Chris.
The jigs up, Gabbi.” I felt someone tap me awake. Tommy and Liz had the van door open so that the lights were on. My face was drenched again, from crying.
“We know you’re getting bette,r but you’re really worrying us. Do you have chronic depression?” Lizzy asked. I actually thought about it for a moment. The way my mood had seriously made Lizzy quiet and sulk the past day had really made me feel like a depression victim. But I couldn’t be. I mean, I was a happy healthy girl before, up until the Chris thing. I mean, I had my bestr friend Livvy and my Best friend [soon to be boyfriend] Chris. We all got along and I ruled the school in my own, way. I was never ‘preppy’ or ‘popular’ in the whole scenece, I just was who I was and I didn’t change for anyone, and because of that, people respected me.
“No. I just.. I’m going through some real shit right now.” confessed.
“Talk ot us, Gabs. WE really want ot help you. It’ll feel better when it’s all out.” I shook my head as Thomas spoke but, they knew I would crack.
They were right. I took a few depe breaths as my voice shaked. I mean, I really felt guilty, but instead, as I replayed the breakup scene, I found myself laughing little. I mean, I was a dick.
“You kinda sound lie a she-playa!” Lizzy laughed. I nodded. WE enjoyed the sunny moment, for a little while. Then they pushed farther.
“Is that all?” Thomas asked.
“No… um… it turns out that…and this is the hardest part to say… My best friend- used ot be- Livvy was talking ot him on myspace the whole time. And they didn’t like each other or anything. Well he kind of liked her, but she was the one who had convinced him ot breakup. I mean, I knowi wanted it al ittle bit. I might have told her a tiny bit about how I didn’t feel tickly nad nervous around him and that I just didn’t think it felt romantic, butthat was no reason…
“She had no right whatsoever. It just pissed me off. It was like… Fuck, man… I still wantd to figure out for myself a little longer before did anything. And hell, we had hot makeout scenes… I mean, it was years of curiosity, filled in. Not much else but that, and it turned our conversations into awkward ones. I mean, he did nothing but talk about sex. Before, we could joke and laugh and I could tease him and he’d be cool. But after we started dating, he wanted ot be all serious nad deep, and really sexual. It just pisesd me off.” I was finally letting steam off.
“So how did you find out about the whole talking online thing?” Thomas aksed.
“This is the worst part… She tells me…. At my grandmothers fneral.” I dropped the bomb. Their jaws dropped.
“She knew that my grandma was my closest family member, because she could read my shit. I was just talking about life in general and how I don’t regret a single mistake, because they make you stronger… And she starts crying and tells me.” I start tearing again.
“I just.. Why- what person would do that? WE had been friends since second grade! Fuck it, guys. I can’t talk anymore.” My crying turned into sniffly heaves nad Lizzy put her arms around me. Thomas joined in and the both took job of rubbing my back. They were better friends than anyone had been in a long time.
Thomas was so right I needed ot praise him so badly. I felt a shitload lighter. My sunshine, like Lizzy’s, started ot come out.
“Who syas that family comes first, anyway? Sometiems it’s nice to just get away from them.” I saids.
“How is youre family anyway?” Lizzy asked, but carefully. She gave me a look athat said ‘only talk if you want to’. We were laying out on the van. WE decided to go tanning. In joyous celebration of my lightheartedness. My idea. They laughed, but aagreed. Open for anything besides sulking for once. They were real family to me, already, because the yput up with my moodiness even thogh they didn’t even know me.
“Eh… I mean, the ylove me to death. I swear ot god if I hadn’t written a ‘goodbye-I-love-you’ note my mom would have died of a heartache right away. I mean, I was the little shit of their children, bad grades, poor choices again and again…” I pointed ot the little blue heart tatto on my ankle, thati got a year ago, when I was fifteen. “But my two sisters were from a different dad, and even though they are completely loved the same and accepted as real daughters, by MY dad… They treated him like shit and waked all over him.
“I don’t really know. I mean, I miss my mom’s smiley face and happy moodswings, and they’d go out once a week and sometimes my mom would come back wated. Drunken mom would wrestle me and in the morning, when she had a hangover, we would go chocolate-junk-shopping. My dad… hmm.. He was a real cool dad. All my friends loved him. He was like a bother, not a dad. But that’s what fucked him. When he tried to be a parent, I wrote him off. They were never really around much as I was younger. I geuss I’m saying that I can really get along without them but I’ll have ot call her when I make ot Cali. My mom, I mean. I really do love her.”
“Awesome.” Thomas said as I finished my story.
“I know what you mean. My parents were major drunks,. Never around. Nad when they tried to be my parent when I turned 13 I really fucked them over… and now look.” Lizzy head-nodded to Thomas and her stomach. “Right now, you’re all my family, and my baby is going to get nothing but love. And the best life we can provide.” That made my heart feel warm. III was part of TTTHHEEIIRRR family? I don’t know how they could like me enough ot include me but I know she wasn’t just saying that ot save face. She really meant it. She grabbed my hand, rubbed her belly, and kissed Thomas on the cheek. I laughed.
“I feel really great. The last timei felt this great was when Chris and I were dating, BUT, he had some weed, so we smoked it. And for once, he was acting like normal old Chris.” They looked quizzical. “That wasn’t the BEST moment, just the last good moment I remember having. “
“Can I borrow you’re telly?” Hannha asked when I woke up. I looked hesitantly from it to her. Giving it to her would mean turning it on which would mean hell ringing at my ears in the form of texts and voicemails that would just bring up the hurt.
“Go where I can’t see you and delete everything.” I threw it to her finally.
“Password?” She asked,.
I giggled. “Poop.”
“How mature.” She smiled.
“That’s me.” I joked.
“So what’s your whole deal anyways?” Thomas asked poking around a cinnamon roll he bummed from a guy passing by.
“Why I’m here and not home, you mean?” He nodded.
“A shitload of life choices.” I gave himn honesty for once.
“WEll I’ve got a shitload of time ot hear it all.” He turned to me. “And the whole story this time. No ‘just some shit’ or anything. I laid it all ouyt for you. Return the fave.” He smirked.
“Ughhh…. Okay. Well it kind of just started this year. Me and Chris and Livvy got into this crowd of kids where we were all drinking and smoking and partying nonstop. And, ot your surprise, I was really charismatic. I pretty much had anyone I wanted, wrapped around my fingers. To top it all off I was an asshole. Not a bitch, an asshol.e there’s a difference. I liked people, and gave everyone a fair chance…I was just a bit of an asshole ot everyone. They all got their fair share of Gabbi-Asshole-Charm.
“And I most definitely flirted with everyone. AndI guess Chris must have saw something because soon enough he had asked me if we could try ot make it work. I though it would be cool until I remembered why Chris and I were Just Friends in the first place. It disgusted me how romantic he got. I wanted us to be like we were, just make-y out-y. He wanted us ot be all lovey dovey, buti couldn’t bear break up with him because I was always the one who helped him deal with heartache, never the cuase.
“And so after HE finally talked ot Me about it, I realized I hated thinking he thought he had broken my heart, so I was an asshole about the breakup. I kind of acted like I didn’t care about him at all in front of him. And so he stopped talking to me. Which afterwards is when Livvy told me about the whole he-chated-with-her at my gramma’s funeral. Which excommunicated me and her.
“After that I couldn’t deal and I was sick of the shit I had gotten into and I was so fucked up and so was everyone else and I really just hated the drugs and alcohol and the town and my reputation. I realized I could only really fix myself ifi was away. Fuck It was always my philosophy. And it still is, it’s just ‘fuck it’ without drugs and alchohol.” I took a breath and looked up as we sat on his hippie van. He was soaking in my story, just analyzing my life and my personality.
It’s how he does everything. He analyzes and puts together nad thinks. While Lizzy and I do without thinking. Although I am a little more philosophical than Liz.
“So you like being an asshole?”
“People can’t hurt you.”
“But you can hurt them.”
“It’s always better that way.”