I lay on the patch of grass trying to breathe. To keep my happy facade firmly in place. I’d found a little spot of green with shade amidst the hard cement and cold uninviting buildings of the downtown.
The clouds twisted and danced as their shapes continually changed. I wished I was an artist. I wished a photo would show what I saw. And I waited.
It was the third day. The bus depot was ready to kick my loitering butt to the curb. They wouldn’t let me sleep on the cold plastic bench another night. The money I’d earned picking cherries was almost gone. The public washroom couldn’t wash the stink off me. I had been waiting for what seemed forever.
The bus system had a safety net for youth. They would give you a ticket home if you needed to get home. As long as someone was willing to claim you and say they were your home. There was no safety net for me. Deep down I knew this. I knew I had no safety net. Yet I had tried. Dared to hope a little bit.
My mother was technically home. They would give me a bus ticket there. Trouble was, I wasn’t allowed to live with her. There was no point in going further from where I planned to settle down. My family where I was trying to go wouldn’t acknowledge me. Wouldn’t say they would be my family home even to get me safe travel passage.
I would have to hitchhike the highway of tears if I was to get where I was going. It wasn’t called that yet. That would come in another few years. My waiting was over. I just had to pull up my big girl panties. Put on my happy face. And build my own life. Starting with hitchhiking almost a thousand kilometers.
The waiting was over.