Every girl needs to make a little money
Face What Was Lost
May 26, 2006
Lindsey's steps were silently redirected toward the park across from "Sip" frankly because it was the only place that really felt comfortable. With the sun just about overhead, she knew that business people from the nearby office buildings would be about enjoying what would probably come to be known as one of the first "nice days" Chicago had seen since fall. She couldn't understand what was so nice about it though. Sure the sun was shining and there was a light breeze, but there was nothing great about May. It was just another month full of 31 days just as pointless as the rest.
The perfect spot to set up struck Lindsey immediately as she entered the park. She settled into the grass beneath a short tree and opened her guitar case. Shade from the branches kept the sun out of her face, but didn't keep the warmth away so much she had to put on her sweater. She discarded it beside her open guitar case before beginning to strum the first few chords of the first song she ever wrote.
When Lindsey was playing guitar, she wasn't playing for anyone but herself. She needed the music, the words, the feeling of the pick between her index finger and thumb. The guitar she held in her lap that afternoon was really the one thing she felt she owed to her last foster family, The Lightley's, that and her latest bout of troubles.
Lindsey hadn't always wanted to be a runaway. She hadn't always wanted to escape the company of the Lightley's. For nine years of her life, she had already spent time in fourteen different foster homes. At fifteen she was ready to stick around one place awhile. She was ready to have a family and everything that came along with it.
But the day she was sent to live with the Lightley's, just like every new beginning, she waited to meet her end with a social worker on the doorstep of an unfamiliar house. Unlike previous homes though, this one was in a prestigious neighborhood. There were no toys strewn across the lawn or snot faced kids by the dozen running around. It showed promise.
Two sharp knock later a beaming set of upper middle class adults surfaced on the other side of the door. With smiles as bright as northern stars they accepted Lindsey into their home with open arms. The Lightley's were her only hope in finding the right sort of life and from that doorstep they were the ideal family.
The charm of the Lightley's faded into the passing days. It was the middle of the summer but neither this new "mother" nor "father" seemed to know the meaning of a break. They were constantly working, Leaving Lindsey and the two wide-eyed brothers Brandon and Vincent to order pizzas and entertain themselves.
Lindsey spent the first week and a half doing nothing in the little gray room they supplied her with. Laying on the bed staring up at the ceiling was far more entertaining when laughter wasn't flowing from down the hall under the crack in her door. "Can I come in?" She asked in a voice too quiet to hear over the air conditioner. She stood meekly in the hallway just outside the bedroom the boys shared.
When she was noticed they beckoned her inside and returned their attention to the guitars each of them held. They played a song obvious by their lack of conversation that they had played together before. Nothing about it was familiar, but Lindsey hummed a tune to herself. Before she could really comprehend it words strung together in eloquent lines escaped her lips. Brandon and Vincent stopped abruptly to exchange glances of surprise. Lindsey blushed a fierce shade of red and hurried excuses before leaving.
"I guess you were right Vincent," Brandon chuckled, "She can speak."
Almost two years and five runaway attempts after first being sent to live with the Lightley's, Lindsey vowed she wouldn't leave again unless she was absolutely sure she couldn't be caught. She spent most of her time alone in her room writing songs on Brandon's guitar. Lyrics scrawled on crumpled up sheets of notebook paper seemed to be her only outlet.
Staring out at the overcast sky for inspiration, Lindsey tried to ignore the creaking sound of someone entering the room behind her. Warm fingertips slipped the thin strap of the tank top she wore off her shoulders. She shuddered as the familiar touch traced the scar across her back. Lindsey closed her eyes and tried not to shake as Brandon took the guitar from her lap.
Ever since Vincent was sent to a group home for bringing a knife to school Brandon had plenty of time to be alone with Lindsey. He was too strong, she was too afraid. It was an all too normal scene. He wasn't the first person to ever take advantage of her. Doors were locked for comfort. Threats were murmured with care. She was stripped for his pleasure. Used simply because she was too weak to follow through with "NO!"
As he left her alone with her tears, Lindsey knew exactly what she was going to do. She wanted too much to disappear, to be invisible, to leave and never be found. That was the night Lindsey finally escaped. Lowering a bag of clothes, Brandon's guitar, and herself out the window was easy. Lindsey knew this time she wasn't running away; she was setting herself free. She was making sure no one would be able to hurt her again. She had been running ever since that night.
When she played that guitar, Lindsey didn't worry about where she was going or even where she had been. When she was singing the only part of her that truly existed was her voice. Wrapped up in the emotion of the song, she didn't notice the crowd that had gathered around her. She didn't even notice the consistent cling of change being thrown into her guitar case.
Sighing with the end of the song she jumped when clapping echoed from all around her. Smiling faces watched hopefully for another song. Playing in front of a crowd always took silent encouragement. Lindsey didn't like being watched, she didn't like being seen at all. But the apprehensive silence reminded her that she'd never be able to survive if she ran away from every opportunity to make a little money.
The melodies came naturally to Lindsey. As long as she closed her eyes, they filled her mind and she could forget. She could always forget. She played until her fingers grew raw, until her throat ached. She played until the crowd thinned to just the occasional passer-by. She played until the sun sunk just below the buildings. She played until the light breeze became more of a wind that tore through the thin material of her sweater.
She closed her guitar into its case along with the profits she had made. With one hand dug into her pocket and the other in a tight grip on the case's handle, Lindsey carefully crossed the street and entered "Sip". Her stomach growled loudly, but she counted out just enough change for a croissant.
"I saw what happened to you car yesterday." The simple looking cashier girl stated. Lindsey didn't recognize her until she read the five block letters on her nametag. "Sarah." Lindsey wished she could be as forgettable as Sarah.
"Thank you." Lindsey mumbled taking the small bag from her. She didn't really feel it was an appropriate time for conversation.
"If you're willing to fill a few orders," Sarah spoke up again. This time with a tone that pulled at Lindsey's ears. "and bus a few tables or something, then I think I'll be able to give you a better place to play. I'm pretty sure I can make it worth your while."
Lindsey stopped and observed Sarah for the first time. She had mousy brown hair and innocent eyes that seemed all too familiar. "Are you trying to offer me a job?"
Sarah nodded proudly, "Well, yes."
"I don't think I'll be in town for very long." Lindsey snapped.
"Oh," Sarah's expression softened into thought, "Well, I could really use the help, and I think your music would bring in a whole new crowd, so if you accept and do even a somewhat decent job you should probably be able to get your car back by the end of the week."
Lindsey knotted her brow and placed a morsel of the croissant on her tongue, "So you're just using me as a marketing strategy?"
Sarah shrugged, "I saw you leave with Andy. I figured it would be work helping out a friend."
Lindsey took another bite leaning a bit on the counter. Sarah's hopeful eyes almost sickened her. At least now she knew this offer wasn't purely about her. Something like that would do horrible things to Lindsey's ego. "So I do some work, I play some songs, you pay me, and I can quit whenever I like?"
Sarah nodded. "I sure hope you stay around."
"I'm a horrible worker," Lindsey admitted, "I've never held a job down in my life."
Sarah shrugged pulling an ugly purple apron out from under the counter. It was identical to the one she wore.
"That's really not my color." Lindsey replied crumpling up the paper bag her croissant had been in.
"You can start in the morning. How does nine o'clock sound?"
Lindsey sighed. This was another horrible idea. "Manageable," She replied.
A/N I sincerly apologize for how long it has bee nsince I posted. I was back in Chicago for the weekend enjoying all the joys of northshore that I miss when I'm away at school. But Michael Guy Chislett and William Beckett put me in an amazing mood today. Oh, and I'm pretty sure this is the last chapter that it really only there to give you insight into her past and sets up for the plot I have in store for you. I promise, things start to...spark, in the next chapter.