Glinda looks older than she is. She is heavy set, and has short, brown hair tightly pressed against her head. I assume she doesn’t want to mess with it much. It seems more low maintenance than pretty. She has beautiful crystal- water blue eyes, but they have lost their sparkle. She is worn, tired, and looks like she’s had a rough life. You can read about her life in her wrinkles that seem to be prematurely forming on her face.
The picture of her daughter has been the only picture she has had to remember her daughter’s smile. The corners are torn and withered, and the color has faded on the print. It is stained with the tears Glinda has poured out thinking of the way she left her little girl behind.
“She was 11 when I left Glendale. That was where we all lived. I married her father and we had a good life, but his mother didn’t like me. So, he and I divorced when our baby was 2. I couldn’t afford to keep her, so she went to live with her father. I had an apartment and she would visit me every other weekend. Everyone criticized me for being the mother and not taking my child. I knew my husband could provide for her better than I could. He had his mother to help, and I had no one” she said, as she started her story.
Hearing that kind of rose some questions in my head. I wondered why they divorced because of his mother. That didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t understand why Glinda didn’t do everything she could to fight for her little girl. I don’t know the missing pieces, but for some reason, it didn’t matter.
“Jax, her father, started dating a woman when she was 4. Her name is Chrislene. He married her when our daughter was 6. At first I heard all good things about Chris. They all lived with his mother, and then once they married, they got their own place. I guess that is when it all started. Jax and Chris did drugs and drank a lot. So did I. Cocaine, and marijuana were all of our drugs of choice. I didn’t know my baby knew I was an addict, but she did. After a while, Chris started hitting her. First, it was just a slap across the face, but it got much worse. The problem is, I didn’t know. They scared her so bad, that she never told me about it. The only issue I knew of was when she came to visit and was undressing to take a bath I had started for her. I saw her bottom was covered in bruises. Not just a small bruise here or there, but massive, dark, disturbing bruises. I asked her what happened, and she said Jax had made a paddle for her. I couldn’t believe he hit her that hard with a wooden paddle. She then said that he always made her pull her pants down too. I called Social Services and they came out and questioned her. They didn’t like what they heard, so Social Services made a surprise visit to their house. Nothing ever came of it. She never said another word about anything to do with Chris after that” Glinda remarked.
Now at this point, I am not sure what to think. You would think Glinda would say more about good times her and her daughter had, telling me more about her daughter than the issues in her life. She hasn’t even told me her daughter’s name yet. It was almost as if she were just trying to let someone else hear what happened to get someone to tell her it was ok, and we all make mistakes, blah blah blah. I am not feeling that sympathetic right now. It is 78 degrees and I am hot. We are sitting in the sun and there are several other passengers waiting with us. It is uncomfortable as the streets are filled with trash, and the people around me look like they enjoy it. Maybe they are just used to it, but I hate it when I have this transfer. I just want to get on my bus and go. I am not feeling well. My legs are cramping and my migraine is only getting worse.
“Anyway, as you can imagine I didn’t have much to do with the decisions in my daughter’s life at that point. I got shut out by her father. My relationship with my baby was dwindling and I could tell she felt like she couldn’t talk to anyone. I thought I wasn’t doing her any good by staying around making her life miserable every time she went home only to get questioned about every detail of our visit. I wasn’t doing right in my life, and felt the only way I could be the mother she can be proud of was to leave and join the ministry. So when she was 11 I left for North Carolina. I didn’t say goodbye because I didn’t want her to think this would be a forever thing. I just needed to straighten my life up. Well, she found me, and here we are. I got a letter from her not too long ago, though, and it was pretty disturbing. This was how we got back in contact. I guess there has been so much that has happened to her. She says she has been raped, molested, and beaten for most of her life. She’s going to counseling, though. That’s all she told me. How could I let this happen to her?” she asked as she started to cry.
What is it with the children in this country? Why is it they are being tormented so bad without parents as their support system? “I’m sure everything will work out fine. We are human beings and have it in our nature to want to forgive those we love. Especially if we need them so much” I say, trying to just calm the woman down.
Glinda looks at her watch and starts bouncing her knee. She is getting nervous. Her hands are shaking, and her forehead is wrinkled with worry. She has a small bag, the picture, and tattered Bible with her. It looks as if she tried to dress nice, but I can tell the clothes she had on has probably been the nicest thing in her closet for years.
The bus starts to turn the corner at our stop. “Here it is finally. Thank you for listening to me ramble about my life and all its glory” she said as she laughed at the sarcasm. The bus pulled up, the door opened and she started to walk on. I followed her up the steps. I have a bus pass, but I had to wait for her to put her money in. I look to see where I am going to sit, and the bus is extremely full. I am thankful I can’t sit next to Glinda. She was getting depressing.
We both find seats apart from each other. I see her pull the chord when we are coming up to her stop. I get up quickly. I want to ask her a question before she disappears out of my life forever. The least I could do for her daughter was know her daughter’s name. “What is your daughter’s name?” I ask quickly before she gets up. “Rachel. Her name is Rachel” she replies.
I knew the face in the picture looked familiar. This answers a lot of questions in my mind regarding Rachel. I now know why she couldn’t call her parents the night she got raped. I couldn’t believe I just ran into the woman who potentially ruined her life. This must be the roughest time in her life right now. A baby? Are you kidding me? I guess Rachel started looking for love in all the wrong places. I thought foster care would prevent this kind of thing from happening, but I guess you can’t watch every one all of the time. Wow, Rachel had a baby. She must be terrified.
We arrive at my stop. I get off the bus and go in the grocery store that is right on the corner. I grab a few items, just enough to still be able to carry them on the bus. I go to the bus stop across the street and wait for the 12. This bus takes me home with no transfers.
My Dr.’s appointment is coming up. I had rescheduled it after the whole incident with Rachel, but I never made it. I am terrible when it comes to going to the Dr. Anyway, it has been another year now. I better make this appointment, I guess.
It’s Tuesday and my appointment is in a few hours. Going to my stop to catch the 22 again. As I’m waiting, I am watching the street. There isn’t much traffic right now. In fact, the streets seem pretty lifeless. My stop is right in the middle of where the road curves. It is 4 lanes, two going one way, and two going the other. All of a sudden I see this car going at least 60 mph down the wrong side of the road. It is headed straight for a telephone pole. Next thing you know, BAM, straight into the pole. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I get my cell phone, and call 911. I run over to the car to see if I can help. There is a girl in the driver’s seat. She looks about 18. Her air bag deployed, thankfully, but her face is covered in white powder and little cuts from the windshield. She is almost half-way under the steering column, and her left leg is twisted back behind her with her foot almost sticking out the driver’s side window. I yell out to her “are you ok?” with no response. I hope she isn’t dead. I try to feel for a pulse, but I can’t feel one. I’m too shaken up. The car is now on fire and no help on the scene yet. I need to help this girl get out of this car. I try to open her door but it is jammed. I run to the other side, and thankfully, can open the passenger door. I crawl in and try to pull her out. I can’t. She is wedged under the dash and there is no way for me to help her. I run up to someone’s house, as people start flooding out of their homes. I scream “I need a fire extinguisher! Please hurry!” An older gentleman runs to the car and asks me to help get her out. I assist the man and we are finally successful. She is unconscious and can’t feel her pain. Her leg is not connected to her hip so it just dragged behind her. A woman is now putting the fire out with an extinguisher, flooding the air with bicarbonates. I hear the sirens. Paramedics jump out and run to the girl quickly. They hook her up to all kinds of contraptions, put her on a board and lift her to the gurney. They asked us if any of us were relatives. No one replied. I said “no, but can I ride with her to the hospital? She shouldn’t wake up alone.” They approved.