Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
- TITLE: From Under The Bridge
By Pat Sipperly
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I remembered how easily the words rolled off my tongue to my dad as I climbed into Jake's car nearly three months ago. I was escaping the prison I called home for the last sixteen years, and finally starting my life. No parents to tell us to clean our rooms or stupid rules to obey. We were leaving all that in our dust as we backed out of the gravel drive way.
Jake was eighteen and my best friend. And when his uncle gave him indefinite use of a little travel trailer already set up in a park, we seized the moment to abandon our restricted lives at home. Even through the miserable, evening rain coming down at the moment, I still remember it as the greatest day of my young life up to that point.
I leaned up against the cold concrete wall trying to keep warm, watching the rain pat the ground just a few feet away.
We moved into the trailer on a hot, mid-August day. It was the sunniest summer ever. Maybe it seemed so because it was “our” summer. We were going to make it big and show our parents just how whacked in the head they were. We were calling the shots now!
It's amazing how much the temperatures change from August to late October in Colorado, though. Especially when you're living outside. The chilly, damp weather seemed to cut right through my thin jacket. Should have grabbed my other coat too. Didn't think I needed it at the time I guess.
The little trailer was perfect at first. The foam mattresses were nothing like my bed at “home” but it would do. I missed mom's cooking, but we ate anything anytime we wanted and weren't hounded to say grace or clean up after ourselves. We got used to the bugs, though I don't remember them as bad where I used to live. The TV and Game Station we're our entertainment center and was in full use late into the evening with no one telling us to turn it off and go to bed.
Neither of us were particularly concerned about the mail which got stacked next to the toaster. I didn't worry about bills at “home” so why start now. One day the TV wouldn't come on which only added to the frustration of getting warm sodas from the fridge. We then discovered the importance of checking the mail where we found a “5-day Shut Off Warning” from the power company. They really mean 5 days! But we got that taken care of and our wonderful life resumed.
I suppose the real turning point was the day Rob, the park manager came by with a “72-hour Notice to Relocate.” He was usually pretty cool, but that day he wasn't joking when he said we needed to pay up or move out. Jake and I knew that weeks had 40-hours in them at work, when we made it to work, so we figured we had plenty of time to get our rent to him. Three days later, Rob and the Sheriff explained to us the meaning of 72 “consecutive” hours.
Jake's very angry uncle towed his trailer and most of our belongings away as we watched without saying much. How did everything get so expensive all of the sudden?
We were only temporarily homeless because we had friends and ended up couch surfing for a while. But it wasn't long before their parents sounded a lot like our parents so we moved on.
I remember the day Jake decided he'd had enough. “Do what you want.” he said. “I'm gonna try to make things right at home.” Then he drove off in a cloud of smoke pouring out from under the hood. I couldn't believe it! He was giving up. But I was going make it work. Or, at least that's what I was thinking before tonight.
I must have picked the only bridge in town that didn't have a plug in for my phone. I haven't been able to text anyone for a couple of days now. Funny, no calls from “home” either. They'd probably just be snuggled up on the couch eating popcorn and watching some old movie with a roaring fire in the fireplace. Which really doesn't sound all that bad right now, come to think of it. I might even put up with the rules...
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