Little Girl Lost

Someday…

I will don that cap and gown. I have graduated from high school, but I didn’t attend graduation. I had only been at the school for a month and didn’t see the point.

I was bitter. Too bitter. Life was an uncoated aspirin that always seemed to get stuck in my throat; the acrid taste ebbed on the shore of my tongue and refused to leave. Decisions I made in order to survive were whirlwinds of change, downdrafts of life’s tornadoes, most of which I was not prepared for. I needed help, desperately, only I didn’t know it. I was 18, a legal adult, and ready to take on the world.

Or so I thought.

A married friend from the service deli department I worked for offered me a room at her house, yet still no school would allow me to attend. They didn’t seem to care that I was an adult, paid rent, or anything else. I needed a guardian.

They were right. I did need a guardian. I needed a guardian angel.

Betty White’s character “Rose” from The Golden Girls always reminded me of her, though she was never that scatterbrained. Their personalities were similar, their body shapes were similar, and even their wispy cotton cloud of hair was similar. It’s no wonder that show became such a favorite of mine after my grandmother died.

She rescued me.

She gave me a room in her home, a car to drive, and freedom. She gave me the freedom I’d never had growing up, and I, in turn, abused it. I would sneak out after she went to bed, and returned shortly before she left for work, often before the sun arose to greet the day. I skipped school more often than I should have because of those late night trysts. I rebelled in every way I possibly could against the inflexible existence I had been reared under. I cared for no one, least of all myself, though my heart beat vehemently in its search for love.

Love she gave freely of, yet I did not know how to accept. It wasn’t her love I wanted. It wasn’t her love I pined for, the one every love song I heard set the yearning from a simmer to a rolling boil over. The abyss in my chest could only be filled by a man. The chasm that was usually filled up by the love only a father can give was left barren, decadent, denied. I filled it with all the wrong things—lingering moments at the bedsides of men I thought loved me simply because of the moment he had shared with me, and returning to their bedsides, until the hunger was subdued and the hole filled.

Temporary love kept me going, even when I started college. The hunger still overwhelmed me. The need to survive dominated my life, and college life ended faster than it started. Now, 22 years later, I am still waiting for that cap and gown, its call mostly ignored, as I settle into life without an abyss.

Happiness is my own personal cap and gown.

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Stephanie Ayers

Executive Creative Director at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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17 thoughts on “Little Girl Lost”

  1. Galit Breen says:

    Ohmygoodness! This is so very powerful and emotional! I’m so happy that she was there for you. That you were open to her. Meant to be, yes?

    Your last line? Perfection.

    1. DM says:

      my grandmother was a very special lady. I didn’t appreciate her then, but I certainly do now. Thank you for the kind words.

      1. Galit Breen says:

        Loved it then, love it now. XO

  2. Vinobaby says:

    Loved the second paragraph “Life was an uncoated aspirin that always seemed to get stuck in my throat; the acrid taste ebbed on the shore of my tongue and refused to leave. Decisions I made in order to survive were whirlwinds of change, downdrafts of life’s tornadoes, most of which I was not prepared for.” Wonderful imagery. I can taste the bitterness.

    Powerful post. Thank you.

    Cheers.
    VB

    1. DM says:

      Thank you!

  3. Kelly says:

    Ah, this sounds only too familiar.
    These lines are so telling: “The abyss in my chest could only be filled by a man. The chasm that was usually filled up by the love only a father can give was left barren, decadent, denied.” I know it only too well. Well done.

    1. DM says:

      I’m sorry you know that pain. I hope that your heart has filled up as well as mine has.

  4. Wild Child Mama says:

    Holy cow, Lady, powerful stuff!! You’ve got one amazing story to tell. I’m new to your blog but want to hear more. The ending went too fast for me. I’d like to hear more of that story:)
    Loved the line, “Life was an uncoated aspirin that always seemed to get stuck in my throat;” Powerful and revealing. I lived that life too, sista!!

    1. DM says:

      I don’t know that it’s amazing. Others have been through much worse, but its mine. Thank you for stopping in. There are a few more stories related to this wandering around in memoir and true stories if you’d like to check those pages out.

  5. Karen Peterson says:

    There are so many raw and powerful posts on TRDC today that I feel like all of my comments are starting to sound the same.

    I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you, and I’m sorry that you had to go through it. But I love that you are able to look at those intervening years and discover that you have found those things you sought and needed.

    1. DM says:

      it is a huge relief to be free of the burden that not loving yourself brings. Once I learned how to do that, nothing else mattered anymore. you know?

  6. Cheryl @ Mommypants says:

    I am so glad you decided to write this. It is raw and honest and I love how you ended it w/ your current happiness filling that abyss – and filling that cap and gown.

    1. DM says:

      Ha. I once had a desire to get that cap and gown and graduate college with a degree, not too long ago as a matter of fact. Here in the past year or so? I’m too lazy to want to go back to school. I’d much rather pine away at the computer writing. 😉

  7. Jessica Anne says:

    I too loved the second paragraph, really strong imagery. The whole piece left my heart aching until the end. I’m so glad the hole has been filled.

    Also, love the new header and sig. 🙂

    1. DM says:

      Thanks, Jess. I’m glad the hole has been filled too. My hubs? he’s an imperfectly perfectly good man. He loves big and it’s real. I had to love myself first, though, in order to keep him. 🙂

  8. Erin says:

    What a beautifully honest post! I could absolutely see your grandmother. And so wonderful to hear that Happiness takes the place of the cap and gown!

    1. DM says:

      Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. There’s always the future if I decide that I want to go again. Happiness is like love. It has it’s ups and downs.

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