That one time in Oakland.

Fast forward to the group home. My mom found me a group home to go to to get straight. It was up in the back end of some fields in the valley city just east of us. They had a house at the top of the hill that was the girls house. The house just down the driveway was for the boys.

They searched your things upon arrival. I remember hiding my cigarettes in a stuffed animals belly. They didn’t find them until I had the bright idea from another resident Vanessa to light up in the bathroom.

I had to take my belly button ring out and remember feeling real dumb for admitting I had one as they didn’t physically search you like that.

There was a “school” for us in the main office building that made me think of an old barn or water tower. I grew close to this other girl Michelle who loved flirting with the guys during class. One day we decided to start chanting “we all live in a yellow submarine” and waltzed right out of class running around the various counselors singing as loud as we could.

About 2 weeks in to my stay this new girl came. She was a year younger than me. I’d say about 14 or 15. She was placed there by a social worker. She was very quiet around mostly everyone but me and Vanessa. One night after she got back from something to do with her social worker off site she told us “Come with me tonight to Oakland. My pimp will pick us up. I already have it all arranged. You guys can just come and live with us and not have to do anything!”

Should I go? What does that even mean? Not have to do anything..

Vanessa was no doubt about it going. She didn’t even hesitate. I decided what the hell, OK.

We all sat around during down time and kept looking at each other for the signal. The sun was half way through its descent. The counselors that were on site were not too close by. They had no clue. Then, at the drop of a dime, we ran.

We ran straight out of the front door and down the long gravel driveway. Each of us hopped the short wire fence separating the boys home from the cow field. It felt like forever to reach the other end of this field. We passed a few cows that for a second I’d wonder if they’d run over us. The counselors were chasing after us but didn’t realize we had made it into the fields. By the time we reached the other side we decided to go up the street into this neighborhood. I chucked my jersey into the field as we made it up the road. I remember looking back and seeing the house van turn the opposite way.

We did it.

As we walked up the hill we tried to come up with the best possible story to tell whichever poor unsuspecting victim why we needed a ride. We made it to this really beautiful house around the corner from the main street. We knocked on the door and said “Our car broke down down the way may we use your phone? Were sisters and we need to call a ride.”

They ended up giving us a ride 5 mins away to the neighboring small town. They were kind enough to drop us off at McDonald’s and even give us some money for food. I still don’t know how they didn’t put 2 and 2 together and realize we were awol from the home down the street from them.

By this time it was dark out. We ate something and Stephanie asked someone for a phone to call her pimp. We waited for what felt like forever and no sign of this guy. Then we got spooked. A van pulled into the parking lot and we all booked it.

We made it to this other house down in the boonies. We stayed warm there and Stephanie called again. By this time hours had past and we were certain they wouldn’t be actively looking for us. We had them drop us off at the same shopping center we were at and this time the guys van was there. The 3 of us got in. I sat in the back with Vanessa. Marc handed Stephanie sitting in the passengers seat some stuff to roll a blunt. We were on our way.

to be continued…

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