Holly on the Bus
Days of Future Past
I met 16-year-old Holly on the bus down from Portland on the 1st of the year. We started talking outside the station (it was supposed to be a train at 9, instead it was a but at 12... lame situation). I think she had a little crush on me, which I thought was cute and flattering, and she told me all kinds of stuff about her life. I took some notes on the conversation in my big journal, partly because I thought she was a cool character and partly because I thought it might boost her self-esteem.
She said she hated living in Salem ("It sucks," was the extent of her commentary on that) and that she was planning on moving up to Auburn Washington in the new year. When I asked her why she was eager to move to Washington, she said "I get along with more of the people, make more money [selling weed], and get along better with the people I live with." In Washington, she lives with/works for drug-dealing cousins rather as opposed to her parents in Salem. But she insists it's better for her well-being to be up there. "I don't just sit around and try to do drugs all the time. You can go to Wild Waves; you can go to Super Mall."
She reminded me a lot of my step-sister Tara, who was a teenage runaway, drug user and general "Bad Girl" foil to my lilly-white adolescent "Good Boy" image. She went through some tough times, but now she's happily married and loving her life in Phoenix, mothering one of the cutest kids you'll ever see. Sometime soon I'll post photos. But the point is, conversing with this girl was vary similar to my memories of talking with Tara, except that at the time I was talking with Tara I was 16 myself and barely knew my ass from a hole in the ground.
Holly believes in astrology, wants to know my sign. I ask her hers, Scorpio, and say what she think that means for her. "I don't know what that means," she says. "I just know it's got something to do with an attitude." Again, shafes of my step-sister. I wished there was some way to tell her that I'd seen the story she was telling me before, that all she had to do was hold on, ride out the boredom and angst, and something wonderful would come along. The best I could manage in the moment was, "Stay in school. It will take you further than selling dope," to which she replied curtly, "I know that." At least I wasn't too condescending about it, I hope.
Toward the end of her ride, a ray of light. The cynical guy in front of her was being a jackass, talking about how life is shit and eventually she'd give up on her dreams. Her response was dead on. She called him out on his bullshit: "Just because you turned out a looser doesn't mean everyone else will." It was a king-hell burn. I couldn't have put it better myself. If she can keep that up, no doubt she'll end up fine.
My journal reads, The 16-year-old drama queen... hope it works out for her.. Good luck, Holly.