This is mostly fiction, but based on real life events. Go here to get started.
To everyone else, she was a girl, in a truck, staring out the window. Youngish, with big blue eyes and blond hair pulled tightly back into a ponytail. Perhaps there was an air of desperation about her, noticeable if you happened close enough to catch a glimpse into her eyes. Of course no one did this as they kept passing by, passing by, passing by, running their errands and attending to their everyday lives, oblivious to the girl in the truck, with her fingers reaching out to tap the glass, splaying out against it as if to say, “See me. Please see me here; I need…please…I need…I need your attention, please.“
“Help me,” she whispered inaudibly to the oblivious people strolling by, to the ones that didn’t know the hurt she felt, to the ones who couldn’t see the detail of her face, to the ones who looked and saw just a girl, looking out a truck window.
Help me, she whispered to herself, wondering what she was doing, why she was there. Wondering when he would come back, and if she had the time to open the door, just open the door and run, run away, and never come back.
She tried commanding her fingers to reach for the lock, and then for the door handle, and then for freedom. She tried. She visualized herself living free, flying…but instead her fingers just tapped the glass, feeling its smoothness beneath her fingertips. She pressed, a little, feeling the resistance, and thought that it was like a prison … her cage, invisible, seamless, and not easily broken.
A key, turning in the door behind her. She closed her eyes, rested her forehead against the smooth glass of the window. Too late.
He didn’t speak. He made only the sighs and hums and small noises that people make when settling themselves in, and getting ready to drive, and wanting to punish someone with their silence.
The red Chevy pickup roared to life. He gunned the engine a few times, then released the brake and pulled out of the parking space. He shifted jerkily just for the pleasure of seeing her pull back from the window as her forehead bounced off the glass. She settled back in the seat, folded her hands in her lap, and turned her eyes to the windshield.
More glass. Glass all around.
She didn’t look at him. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of asking where they were going, where they were headed. He probably wouldn’t tell her anyway. He would enjoy holding even that small piece of information back from her.
Seeing that he was getting no reaction, he grunted and lit a cigarette, cracking the window only slightly so that the cab of the truck was soon swirling and thick with the exhalations from his mouth.
They drove in silence. The atmosphere grew thicker and thicker. The longer they drove on, the more the smoke and tension mingled with the air, making it a living thing, twining through her thoughts and deadening her brain. Her mind wandered, and her head fell back against the seat. Her eyes drifted half shut, mesmerized by the trees whizzing by the countryside seeming to run in the opposite direction. She wished she could follow suit and run in the opposite direction. She wished she had.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Seventeen was so full of youthful rebellion, so convinced of its invincibility. Seventeen. The age she was when she met him. She looked into his hazel eyes, ran her fingertips down his proud, hawklike nose, and was lost almost immediately. She placed her heart gently in his hands where he held it safe for a time, for a moment, for a breath…but then he squeezed, bled it dry, tortured it, and shaped it into this frail girl, huddled in the cab of truck, watching the countryside retreat while remembering his hazel eyes (now so far away), and his sandy blond hair (now so soiled), and promising smile that could stop her heart.
“Can I kiss you?” he had asked her, that first time, with his hand around the nape of her neck as the fingers of his other hand trailed first down her face, then across her lips, his finely-shaped mouth just inches from her own. His eyes filled her consciousness completely, paralyzing her with their intensity, their nearness, with the little gold flecks that she thought she could spend hours counting amongst the green.
“Can I kiss you?”
Really, he’d meant, “Can I own you? Can I make you into my creature, my plaything, my property? Can I take your heart and your soul and make them my own?”
“Yes,” she naively replied. “Yes.”
His lips were warm against hers, and his tongue, when it slipped its way into her mouth, mated softly and tenderly with her own. So hot. His kiss was so tantalizing she swore she could feel it all the way down to her feet, all the way down to her knees, turning them to jelly, threatening to give way beneath her and spill her out on the ground.
Somewhere inside she wondered if he could catch her, and if he would, if he would gather her in his arms as he had with his kiss, if he would again claim her with the simple laying of lip to lip and touching of tongue to tongue. That was before she was lost entirely to his wonderful mouth, to the sweetness of his breath soft on her cheek, and the sounds of his whispered nothings near her ear.
When it ended, she was his. Completely.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The truck sped along.
Children, she thought to herself, should be innocent.
She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block out the cascade of mental images. Her memories leapt to life as she thought about the differences between how she grew up and how she wished she had.
Children, by her reasoning, should be fresh, untouched, protected. They should be free to charm with their open gazes, infectious giggles, and spongy minds. They should grow slowly, experience the sweetness of first love, and the acute, juvenile pain of first heartbreak.
Children should live in a world where, when they fly, they have a cushiony place to fall, where they have a safe place to call home at night, where they have love and security and all the things that make growing up easier.
Children should be ignorant and innocent of things like drug abuse, alcoholism, and molestation. Childhood should be laughter and crayons and coloring books…slobbery puppies and playing in the yard on a hot summer’s day. Childhood should be selling lemonade for twenty-five cents in a Dixie cup, playing in the park around the corner, catching frogs and tadpoles with their bare hands, and shrieking at the slimy feel of flippers in their sweaty palms. That’s what children should know.
Some days it seemed to Lia that no such place existed. At least, not anymore. Not in the world where she lived.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
When Lia left home, she had just turned seventeen years of age, bitter and damaged with memories of waking up with her stepfather’s bulky, sweaty hands running down her back, of her father’s twisted brand of love, and of her mother’s seeming indifference. Her whole life seemed like one long look into everything that was wrong with love, and sex, and family. She felt she had seen more examples of what could go so awfully, horribly bad with a child’s life, and she wondered if she would ever be normal, if she would ever be like all those people she would watch sometime later from within the confines of the truck cab.
Bitterly antagonistic of love and yet desperate to find and to feel it, she was ripe for the plucking when she met Daniel.