Carrie walked along the various neighborhoods for four days. Will these houses ever end? She playfully complained to herself. The houses did seem to go forever.
At least the weather has been great.
The lunch bag that Lady Jane had insisted she take had contained a bottle of Gatorade, a thick turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato (made from a real roasted turkey, not that chopped and pressed deli crap!), two apples and an orange, another six cookies, and some kind of homemade crackers that were more like chips. Those were yummy!
She had ate the sandwich later that day since it seemed to be the most perishable and then used the rest over the next few days along with her granola bars and canned Vienna sausages. She was still being conservative but found she liked having something to eat each day.
At home, she would go sometimes two days without a meal. Usually the only food she was able to eat was the free lunches at school. They had free breakfasts also but usually her mom would not let her out of the apartment until it was too late to grab breakfast at school before class. That was another thing she loved about babysitting, they always left extra money so she could order pizza or something for the kids and herself for dinner. And there were always plenty of snacks!
Another thing about all the houses was that there was usually a park or two where she could rest up and refill her water bottles and empty her bladder and other “things”. She had washed her hair once in the sink at one of the nicer parks.
That was fun….not. She kept hitting her head on the faucet and had to keep pushing a knob down to turn the water on. But she figured it was worth it since she felt a lot better with clean hair. She was thankful that her hair wasn’t that long, only to her shoulders. She couldn’t imagine how it would have gone if she would have had really long hair!
Carrie found that she liked to find a park in the early mornings, like at about seven and rest up then. She had been walking from about 2pm through the night because she didn’t know what would be in the parks at night. There was one by her school that the kids always talked about and the stories usually revolved around all the drug deals that went down there after dark.
If a park had a really good hiding place, she may stay longer but she didn’t sleep much anyways and figured that the more she walked, the closer she was to a place to call home….she hoped.
She finally found a nice park with a wonderful hiding place in behind some swings in some bushes. Settling in, she decided to reread one of her Gramma’s letters.
They always made her smile.
11 july 2000
Well well, your writing is getting very good for a five year old! I’m not surprised that you can read and write at your age, after all; you are your daddy’s daughter! And MY granddaughter!
I want to tell you that the peppers and tomatoes that you planted when you last visited are growing strong and have many flowers on them. You will have to ask your dad to bring you at harvest time to help me put them up for winter. Maybe he will be able to get off of work.
Bossie misses your hands at her udders. She has been giving me fits when I go to milk her. I’ve tried singing that song you sang to her; but I don’t think I have fooled her one bit. Why she would not fuss when you sang twinkle twinkle little star, I’ll never understand. But cows can be strange.
Romeo and Juliet have produced another huge batch of babies. Ten baby bunnies. One for each of your fingers or toes. I should get enough off of those fur balls to make you a new sweater for next winter.
Ok, time to go wrestle with the pigs. I picked up some nice rejected produce from the grocer today and you know how they try to knock the fence down once they get a whiff of that stuff.
Don’t forget to say your prayers and be nice to people, even those who don’t deserve it.
Hugs and love, Gramma
Oh how Carrie hoped her Gramma would want her. She figured her mother would think of her going to her Gramma’s. That was another reason she didn’t want to get there too fast. If her mom took a bus there to see if that’s where she went, she would give up land leave ong before Carrie got there. Heck her mom was so lazy, she doubted she would even pick up a phone and call to see if she was there. Carrie was almost positive that her mom would not bother look for her, but she didn’t want to take any chances.
She slept the morning away dreaming of milking cows and feeding pigs.
It was close to three in the afternoon when a boisterous game of football woke
Carrie. She didn’t waste any time packing up her small camp. She noticed it was beginning to cloud up so she was thinking of finding a place that had a hot meal and WiFi and spend some time on the world wide web. She decided she would keep a poncho in her back pocket so that she would not have to dig for it if it started to rain. She had tried one on once and since she was so small, it fit over her and her backpack and came down to her thighs. So all of her pack and bedroll should stay dry.
After a quick but thorough trip to the parks restroom, Carrie set off. She had a pretty good idea of where she needed to go according to her maps since she poured over them each day after she stopped. But if she found somewhere to stop if it rained, she would go over them once more. Maybe she could find an all night diner and get some caffeine to boost any traveling she might have to do in the rain. She would deal with where to sleep when that time came.
Traffic was light as Carrie continued on her way. She knew she drew attention not so much because of the backpack but because of the bedroll under it. She had tried to figure out how to make it smaller, but it was already rolled as tight as it could go. Yesterday, she began to tie her jacket to the pack and this did help cover some of the roll.
Carrie wasn’t too worried about a policeman stopping her and asking her what she was doing. She had a story all ready; she had stayed the night at her dad’s and was simply returning home to her mom’s. It was only about a two mile walk and she had done it many times. Yada yada yada….
Now she just hoped she wouldn’t freak out and blow her story. She figured that as a last resort she would call Lady Jane. Which reminded her that if she did stop somewhere because of rain, she would call her.
The afternoon slowly edged into evening and the first fat drops of water began to fall. Carrie quickly pulled out the poncho and pulled it over her head and backpack. It took another hour of walking in the increasing rain and wind for her to find a place she could take shelter. She found a McDonald’s that boasted of WiFi and twenty four hour service. However, there was no payphone. It seems Carrie forgotten that since everyone had a cell phone now, many places had taken out their payphones.
Oh well, Carrie thought, Lady Jane will just have to understand. Carrie went into the bathroom and locked herself in one of the stalls. After ‘business’, she slid a five dollar bill from her money belt since she didn’t want to open it up out in public, that would just be plain stupid. Tucking the five in her front pocket and her shirt back into her jeans, she hefted up her pack and slid it back onto her back.
At the sink outside the stall, she washed her hands, and ran her fingers through her hair. The wet poncho got shook hard over the sink, spraying water everywhere which made Carrie laugh. She thought about putting it under the electric dryer but changed her mind thinking it might melt it. It WAS cheap plastic after all.
She went out and ordered herself a hamburger happy meal with a coffee. The person taking her order didn’t even bat an eye. In no time at all, she was happily tucked into a corner with her wet poncho drying draped over a chair, munching on French fries and surfing the web. She had picked this seat for two reasons: one for the out-of-the-wayness, and two for the plug that was up under the table on the wall.
She of course went to her favorite site, frugal forums and found that she had missed a couple of new chapters of the latest story. She had read one story on the site where some kids had made their own weapons and she wanted to reread how they made them. She might be able to make herself one. But first she got caught up on the new stories.
After two more cups of coffee (they were small) she figured she had enough of the stuff. She also noticed a guy come in that looked like a cowboy. He sat just a couple of tables away and as he ate his Big Mac Value meal, he was talking on his cell phone about how he should be though Pennsylvania and in Morgantown sometime between noon and 3 the next day. Carrie’s ears perked up. She quickly
pulled her maps up on the netbook, sure enough; the route she had worked out went through Morgantown, right on the edge of Pennsylvania. A very hasty and risky plan began to form in her mind.
She and the cowboy were the only two customers in the restaurant so she tried to see what he was driving. All she saw was a big pickup truck. She decided to go for it. She quickly shut down her netbook and packed it away. She glanced at the cowboy and saw that he wasn’t done yet since he had stopped eating while he argued with someone on the phone about not being home enough.
She took her things and made another pit stop real quick although she now regretted drinking so much coffee, she wanted to make sure she had as much of an empty bladder as possible. When she was done, she again pulled on her pack and went ahead and slipped the poncho over her head and pack and then walked out of the restaurant.
Once outside she noticed that is wasn’t raining as hard. She looked in to see if the cowboy was looking her way. He wasn’t but it looked like he had finished up his call and his meal. Quickly she placed one foot on the bumper and hoisted herself up and over the tailgate of the truck. There was tarp covering about 3/4ths of the bed and under that she found some boxes. Before squirming her way between two of them, she took off her poncho and pack and undid her bed roll so she would have something soft to lay on. She was glad it was dry under the tarp. She managed to maneuver the boxes until she was behind them but they all were still under the tarp. But before she could get comfy she heard whistling and froze.