LOVE this cover!!! Here’s a snippet from Chapter 1. We’ll have to wait until March to get it all. I have a feeling it will be well worth the wait.
Friday, June 8th, 2012. Sixteen years later.
I lead a decent life. I work. I pay my taxes. My bills are on time. What little credit I do have is good credit. I may not have the most desirable job and I absolutely loathe my apartment but all in all, my life is comfortable. God knows I have endured far worse. Now, I am not trying to wear it around like some badge of honor or anything. I am simply stating facts. I don’t brag about my hardships like some do. In fact, no one knows my story. I keep it like that purely for convenience. I don’t expect pity from others nor do I want a hand out. I’ve had enough pity and condolences to last me two lifetimes. I work hard to keep things organized and simple. My life has not always been so agreeable though. I am not proud of my past but I can say with complete confidence that I did what I had to do out of necessity. I may have stolen a bottle of water or food from a gas station a time or two but I make no apologies for that. Did I pay for those items? No. I couldn’t. I rarely had two pennies to rub together. I stole those things out of basic, fundamental human need to survive. The alternative was to starve and what human chooses morals and values over life? No one. That’s who. Morals and values won’t fill my stomach and hydrate my body but stolen food and drink certainly will. I used the resources available to me on most days but homeless kids are treated similarly to criminals. If I went to a shelter or a homeless kitchen for food or a bed for the night I was usually tricked into staying put long enough so some lousy volunteer could call social services. Those schmucks would show up and I’d get crammed into the back of some government car and hauled off to a homeless kid prison. That’s what I called it anyway. The orphanage was usually far better than foster care. Well, in my experience, that was the case. The folks at the orphanage were simply doing a job. They were earning their pay. They didn’t care about us one way or another. If they didn’t care enough to be kind and compassionate to us they damn sure didn’t care enough to waste time and energy on abusing or raping us unfortunate kiddies. I preferred the people at the orphanage to all others. They did their job. They left us alone minus what they had to do and that was that. The orphanage was a short lived home though. They shuffled kids in and out of those doors just as quickly as they could. After the orphanage you were placed with some foster family who, usually, could care less. All of this is done out of charity. It’s done out of obligation to do ‘the right thing’. Is it really that damn difficult for people to see some kid on the street? Even if that kid is better off fending for themselves on the street than in the crap place they came from? I suppose it messes with people’s heads and makes them all uncomfortable so they’d rather those kids be placed somewhere out of sight and out of mind. How convenient for those good Samaritans. That makes things easier for everyone right? Wrong. Back then I preferred being on the streets than to be in one of the many foster homes I went through fighting off sexual abuse and neglect. I wish people would stop being so goddamned charitable. What these volunteers don’t get is that their damn charity causes more damage than people like me could afford to bare. All for what? So that Suzy-Q the once a month soup kitchen volunteer can sleep better at night because she dished out crappy free soup to people like me who’s sentiments are that they would rather be dead than trudging through our shit lives every day? The least people like Suzy-Q can do is be honest about things. Don’t stand in front of some kid who is exactly like I was with pity written on your face and tell them life will work out. That things will start to look up for them. That one day their luck will change. That kind of bullshit does nothing but give false hope. If my twenty-five year old self had met the sixteen year old me back then, I would have looked me in the face with not one ounce of sadness and said “Look girl, you have a choice, you can stay like this and hope for all that bogus crap that people tell you about or you can work your butt off and turn things around for yourself. No one is going to fix things for you. So get to it.”
I refused to be a victim ever again so I made my way through my teen years on the streets. Kids like me don’t usually last long. We end up as junkies, prostitutes, behind bars, or dead. A few of us luck out and make it but for the most part life simply is not that damn wonderful. Maybe I get my determination and perseverance from my parents. They came to this country essentially with nothing. My dad was a French chef and he and my mom managed to move here from Paris. They came here to Las Vegas while my mom was still pregnant with me. My dad was a fantastic chef and he got a job at one of the five star restaurants in town. I was only nine when they died so I have limited memories but I do remember that they were pretty driven people. I like to think that my ability to push forward with my life comes from them not from the years I spent avoiding being raped on the streets, or having to locate food so I wouldn’t die. I like to think that I come by my ambition honestly. In truth, no one will know for sure. They are dead and my limited memories fade more with each passing day.
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