Just another girl who doesn't matter. Just another runaway.
Always Be A Mystery
May 24, 2006
Lindsey Hawk blew into Chicago just as winter blew out. She was a runaway, a drifter. She did not know the meaning of settling down and she did not have a family. And that's the way it was supposed to be. She liked it on her own. It made everything easier to leave when the time came to run away again.
The skyline she had seen on TV and in movies hardly seemed as majestic as she sat looking up at it from the hood of her car. (With rusted panels and dented sides, that car was only one bad day from breaking down; Lindsey was already past that point.) The skyline that was nothing but an old and faded memory that held no promise for change. From the base of Chicago, Lindsey convinced herself that it was just another town like all the others. It couldn't trap her in, it was just another town, and she was just another tortured soul. But no matter how many times she said it she knew that Chicago was only tortured with the very past she was trying to escape.
Four years since her first run away, Lindsey Hawk had perfected the art of surviving (at least that's what she called it). Inconspicuous and stealthy her sweet brown hair had been died the most dreadful black and hung in random choppy pieces around her face. Her jet-black locks served only one purpose, to hide the innocent eyes that often betrayed her.
At sixteen, she always looked suspicious going into convenience stores in the middle of the night. She was a pretty girl with innocent brown eyes. Lindsey didn't look like she'd cause any trouble and for the most part that only worked in her favor. It only helped her get away. But it was no ordinary night, because three weeks after her first escape from the confines of her foster home her eyes failed to trick 7-11's midnight attendant. It was the first of many times she would be caught.
Squirming and screaming as an officer pinned her to the brick wall just outside the 7-11, Lindsey struggled to get away. She had come too far. She couldn't afford to be caught now. Every fiber of her being screamed, "ESCAPE!"
Her chunky black backpack had been thrown to the ground surely destroying anything valuable she had been carrying and handcuffs dug deep into her wrists. Still restrained by the officer, she sobbed as another cop riffled through the few items she had claim to (which included nothing valuable to be destroyed). Lined up in front of her on the sidewalk were the jar of peanut butter, box of crackers, and four bottles of Diet Coke she had just taken from the 7-11.
"Now why would a pretty girl like you need to steal such trivial things?" The officer asked gently stroking her cheek.
Lindsey cringed at his touch. She knew now would be the wrong time to lie. "I haven't eaten for days." She admitted.
"Well why don't you let us take you home." He suggested massaging her shoulder, "You'll be happier there." The second officer watched like this was normal.
"I don't have a home," Lindsey spat, "I don't have parents. I don't have a family."
"Cut the crap princess," The other officer finally interjected, "In accordance with the law we must return you to your foster home. You're name is Lindsey Hawk. You are a minor. You have been reported missing. So make this easy and get in the car."
Lindsey hung her head in defeat. They had known who she was all along.
Lindsey watched her foster parents' house loom at the end of the block from the back seat of the police car that drove slowly down that suburban block. She was reminded that she was lucky to have found such a wealthy family willing to take her in. She was reminded that she should be happy with her life. She had already been saved. But exactly what did a couple of police officers know about her life?
Mr. and Mrs. Lightley, her foster parents, were waiting on the porch when the car eased to a stop in front of the familiar white house she had spent the past 7 Â½ months pretending to call home. Their eyes faked excitement almost as well as Lindsey's faked sanity.
They rushed to embrace her as the two officers escorted her up the walkway. Her foster adults, they could NEVER be her parents, thanked the officers profusely and cried exaltations about having their little girl back. Lindsey had never been a little girl. No one had ever designated her any time to have a childhood.
As soon as she was back in the confinement of that house the walls started closing in on her. "How stupid can you be," blurred with "We were worried sick" in the Lightley's fit of rage. The curious eyes of the two other children abandoned by the adoption system peered from the stairwell. The Lightley's called them her brothers; Lindsey called them demons.
Lindsey was no stranger to thievery, but she didn't consider it that, no she called it surviving. She left the run down convenience store with no other trace than her coattails fluttering in the cool air. She couldn't help but break out into a run as soon as she was in the clear. No, she wasn't being chased. No, the bottle of Jack Daniel's hidden in the folds of her coat hadn't been detected. No, she didn't have anywhere to go. She ran to feel alive. She ran for an excuse to cry. She ran because it didn't make anything better. She ran because there was nothing else for a girl like her to do.
Out of breath and out of a rightful state of mind Lindsey stumbled into an abandoned alleyway. Her hands shook too much to keep steady as she brought the open bottle to her lips. Choking through tears, she choked down the contents of the bottle until she was sure she would explode.
Heated arguing between two loosely dressed men rang loudly from only just down the alley. The sound of a head crack against the ground made her stomach turn. Crashing skulls sounded too familiar. Picking herself up silently from the ground, she slipped around the corner before her presence could be noticed.
Lindsey thrived on being a shadow, being a face without a name. If no one realized she existed, then no one could ever get close enough to hurt her. She was untouchable; unbreakable; invincible; immortal. She always watched the ground as she walked to avoid making any connections. Quickly and withdrawn she spent her life staring holes in her shoes. They were the only reminders of the places she'd been, the only thing that would make it to the places she'd go.
The home Lindsey had come from was nothing to be proud of and the places she ended up were no better. At six years old, after a night too gruesome to share, she was taken into foster care. For the next ten years, Lindsey never spent more than a few months in the same place. She was bounced from family to family, state to state. There was nothing exciting about the places she lived and there was nothing she wanted more than to find a family. That hope was abandoned around the time she ran away from the house where her fourteenth set of foster parents lived. Lindsey had been running ever since.
No one wants to hear a story about murder and molestation, rape, abuse, or death, but that's all I have to offer you. If you are expecting a story where the underdog comes through, everyone falls in love, and everything ends with happily ever after you won't find it here. You won't find anything warm or fuzzy about Lindsey Hawk she's just a girl without a home, without a family, and without a care.
Her nights are full of pointless wandering that almost seems as genuinely hollow as it had always been. And every city is the same, all the nights blur together. No matter where she finds herself when fatigue becomes too much to bare she's still just another runaway too desperate to stay alive, but the truth is she's hasn't really lived in all of her 20 years.