The Dark Journey - Chapter 7: Holidays

A permanent archive dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Sloan. Read The Ravyn's story in poetry and prose. Post your own story or seek help in The Ravyn's Wings forum.

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The Ravyn
riding the cyclone
Posts: 306
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: We miss you Jen
Location: Denver, CO

The Dark Journey - Chapter 7: Holidays

Post by The Ravyn » Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:00 am


cars speeding by
fleeting flashes of light
hungry eyes flitting
groping through muck
to live another day
in the shadows

harsh laughter
lashing out like a whip
weals reddening
upon a scarred soul
drive me back
to the shadows

all look the same
passing under
stuttering streetlamps
moving quickly and
leaving shadows

show silent movies
of fairytale lives
prince and princess
oblivious to the outcast
fading away into shadows

dirt grimed hands
ragged clothes
i walk among them but
do they see me?
or do i only exist
in shadows

December seemed to be a very long month to me as I fought for survival, panhandling and scrounging to meet my needs. I was subjected to a library of disparaging remarks and occasional sermons of the righteous and sinless God-Shouters and bible thumpers. People seemed to see me as a nuisance, an annoyance, as they went about their holiday shopping, looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. My thoughts went out to my family frequently during these weeks and I wondered how they were. Sometimes I would walk past the house late in the evenings, hiding in the shadows, watching through a window as my mother, brother and sister ate their meals, watched television, played games. (Mark was there too, of course, but ... )

This became very depressing to me and my late evening visits became less and less frequent. My thoughts turned again to suicide and oblivion at times, and I had to consciously push them away. The holiday trappings and decorations all over the shops and homes did little to assuage my depression.

I guess I could have gone to one of the homeless shelters around town, but fear held me back. I thought that they would most likely try to force me to go back home, which I vowed I would never do. I found what I needed, usually, in the discards of others. I made no attempt at befriending anyone, and discouraged any friendly advances by others. You see, I placed much of the blame for what happened to Gus upon myself and couldn't stand the thought of losing anyone else that I might begin to care about. Not caring seemed to be a much safer way to go.

My Christmas dinner consisted of stale bread, not-quite-rotten lunch meat, a few moldy peaches, and three pieces of chicken scrounged from behind the KFC the day before. I said a silent prayer before digging into my feast, asking for safety for my family, forgiveness for myself, and mercy for the soul of my lost friend.

That night I prowled the back streets and alleys for the discards of Christmas feasts and returned home with a good supply of food. I ate the more perishable items and saved the rest for later. I had found an old styrofoam cooler and I used a portion of each day's panhandling proceeds for ice. I kept an old gallon milk jug full of water in there along with my food stash.

New Year's Eve was emotionally charged for me. I made resolutions to bring justice to my step-father, and to the two killers, both of which I failed to complete. Even now I find myself filled with a desire for retribution, but I know it will never be fulfilled. I also resolved to leave Bakersfield within the next month. I knew I was taking a very big risk of being found by Mark or my mom and returned to a life that I was completely unwilling to live. I found an old road map and began making plans, trying to decide which direction I should go in: south to L.A. or San Diego? North? Maybe try to find Sandy in San Francisco? Or just remain completely to myself and go east to places I had heard of but never seen? Reno? Vegas? Phoenix? Tahoe?

Finally I decided on Frisco. If I could find Sandy up there, maybe I could help to get her away from her father in some way. I wouldn't wish street living on her, but anything was better than what we had already endured. Having made up my mind, I slept easier that night. The next morning, the beginning of 1994, I began preparing for the long journey ahead of me.
take my hand if you don't know where you're goin' ... i'll understand .... i've lost the way myself ...
j. kaye

whatever you do ... don't click here

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