Growing up I always felt invisible.
Birthday presents, Christmas gifts or any acknowledgement for good grades and behavior abruptly stopped when my father left my mom and me for another woman. My mom lost all her self-worth and I became her burden.
I was seven years old.
When I was ten my mother started dating a loser who would touch me when no one was around. At the time, I had no idea it was inappropriate. When he started trying to have full intercourse with me, I told my mother. She responded by calling me a lair and slapping my face.
So I never told anyone else. If my mom didn’t believe me- than who would?
Besides, I was too ashamed and revolted with myself for being molested and raped by my step-father, when I was about ten, I gained some nerve to fight. He had no problem fighting me back. His hits did a lot more damage than mine. When mom asked him about my black eye, he’d lie, telling mamma, I sassed him or something.
So eventually, I stopped fighting and at the age of fourteen he took my virginity.
Not once did my mother ever question my stepdad, not even the time she caught him in my bedroom wearing nothing but his underwear. Instead she hit me over head with a Captain Morgan’s bottle. She told the nurse my concussion was caused by a clumsy fall down the stairs.
The nurse believed it, but Gran Stackhouse sure didn’t. She called child services to investigate. They came over to the house a few times but nothing came of it. Mom, would clean up the house real nice and fill the fridge with groceries.
That’s all it took.
But the damage was done, the social worker snooping around made Ma furious. She blamed me for all of it. She called me a whore and said I was trying to ruin her life.
And the beatings got worse.
No one seemed to notice the bruises, the void of life in my eyes, how withdrawn, temperamental, and depressed I was all the time.
No one noticed me unless I yelled, lashed out and demanded to be seen and heard.
And then I was quickly labeled the angry black girl.
At sixteen, I decided to just run away from home. On a Friday afternoon, after school I went to Sookie’s house. We asked Gran, as we did many times, if I could sleep over since it was the weekend. Gran, being the sweetheart she is, didn’t mind. We had a fried chicken dinner and at bed time I took a nice hot bath.
After everyone in the house fell asleep I ‘borrowed’ an outfit, it was a purple tracksuit Sookie got for her birthday. She never wore it because she said it wasn’t her style, so I knew she wouldn’t miss it. I borrowed a hair brush, five rubber bands, ten tampons, and a stick of deodorant. I emptied my book bag of school books and filled it with the ‘lent’ items.
Dear Sookie, if you ever read this, I want you to know. I’m sorry for taking some of your things, please forgive me.
I left that night and never looked back.
I walked down to the main road and hitched a ride to Shreveport. The man who gave me a lift was the farmer type, bearded, pot belly, wearing blue jean overalls. The moment I got into the car his eyes kept roaming over my body, especially, my legs. He kept telling me how pretty I was while touching himself. He knew I was a runaway and jail-bait, but it didn’t make him much difference.
I knew right then how I’d support myself from now on. Luckily, he only wanted me to touch him and he gave me twenty dollars and a ride to the Shreveport bus station. I used the money to buy me a toothbrush, toothpaste, a small bottle of lotion, and some healthy snack food items. The healthy food cost more, but are worth it. All of my earnings are spent on nutritious meals and cheap motel rooms. In the dingy old room, I can have a little peaceful ‘me time’ for a night or two.
I realize what I’m doing is dangerous and nasty, but being a homeless teen drop-out, I haven’t a lot of options.
That’s why I learned quickly how to survive on these streets. My first rule is to get as much rest as possible. So at night, you have enough energy to defend yourself or run if needed. I’ve learned to fight like Tyson and run like a cheetah. And I’ve had to do both on quite a few occasions.
I stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you’re a drunk or a druggie, you’re vulnerable, and I’ve seen what the streets can do to those weak fools.
I’ve lived just about everywhere a homeless teen would live, in motels, shelters, churches, and bus stations. A great place to take a hot shower is Shreveport hospital. I discovered that the hospital has an unsupervised shower area in the south wing. I’d stumbled upon the secluded shower room one day when I’d ran out of condoms and was going to the health clinic for more. I have about ten minutes to shower and get dressed before someone comes by and notices that I’m not a patient. I’m usually done in about half that time.
My favorite place to stay is at the Shreveport city mission. The women and kids there are so nice. I always feel safe there. I’d go there for a place to crash, get clean underwear and toiletries when I don’t make enough money selling myself on the street.
Last night a light blue pickup truck pulled alongside me in the dark alley where I stroll. I slowly approach it and to my shock I recognized the man inside. It was the bar owner Sam Merlotte, I have no idea what he was doing there. And I didn’t stick around to find out. The moment he called out my name I took off. Even though he was in his truck, I know the streets better than him and it wasn’t hard to lose him.
Now all the shame of what I’ve become is beating me like a fist. I am trying so desperately to hold on to a little piece of my soul, my sanity, but the streets stole it long ago. My heart aches and I am just tired.
I cannot live with what I am and the judgement that comes with it. It won’t be long before the whole town knows what’s become of me.
They’ll call me a whore, an uneducated, uncivilized, subhuman. A piece of trash to be used and thrown out.
No one in Bon Temps ever saw the pain, the despair, the hopelessness. No one heard my cry, and now, no one ever will.
This is my final entry. The date is April 23rd 2007.
Tara Mea Thornton
Just as Tara was about to sign off; a light ‘ping’ noise caught her attention. Her eyes widen at the sight of the red envelope indicating that she has a new message. Tara was shocked. In the four years she’d been writing her blog, she’d never received any messages.
She clicked on the red envelope and began reading the message from the sender who called themselves ‘Fangtastic’.
I am a man with many interests. My priority interest is the human condition and all that comes with it. I found your blog by mistake, but after reading the very first entry in 2004, I’ve been secretly following you. And after reading your entire blog, I’ve come to realize we are alike in many ways.
We are misunderstood, outcast, deemed unfit to live amongst society. Do to circumstances beyond our control, we were forced to live in the shadows.
I mourn the loss of the life I once had.
I must admit Tara, you fascinate me. Everything you’ve chronicled intrigued me, as I said, we are alike in many ways. You are strong in spirit, a true survivor. There’s a strength in you that you don’t realize you possess. You have wisdom and courage that you don’t give yourself credit for.
I ask you to reconsider ending your life. And allow me to speak with you further.
She read his message a few times, and then she read it again a few more. She sat at her table considerably taken aback. A new-found curiosity swept over her. She wanted to know more about the mysterious person who’d sought her out in such an unorthodox manner. And she genuinely did think about it speaking with him some more.
The icon by his user name indicated he was still online.
And then she typed a simple response.
‘Thank you.’ He quickly replied back.
‘What is your name?’ She asked.
That night Tara Thornton and Eric Northman exchanged thoughts, ideas and dreams. He asked her many questions and even though she had no idea who was out there reaching out to her, it felt nice knowing that someone was there.
Someone was listening.
It had been a long time since she’d allow herself to believe that there was anyone good in the world. But chatting with Eric was serene. It felt normal, natural, and nice…
It’s 10 PM and the café was about to close so Tara said goodnight to her new friend.
She waited patiently for a response.
Tara we come into the world alone and that is how we all must leave. What matters is the time spent in-between. Please allow me to share my world with you. Perhaps you will wish to stay a while. Until, tomorrow night, I bid you farewell.
Tara smiled, she no longer felt invisible.