The Apartment

One night, I snuggled under heavy quilts in a bunkhouse at the Home on the Range, and the next, I laid on a hard black futon in a bleak city apartment. I was now fifteen.

It was my grandparent’s idea. They disliked the Ranch and its owners. They thought I was too far away, from what, not sure. They complained that the old house smelled of animals and that the owners were alcoholics because they were Catholic and brewed beer. So they traveled across the country, pulled me out of that house, rented a two-bedroom apartment near the university, and planned to stay for a bit to “get me settled.”

The ink on the apartment contract was barely dry when my grandma fell ill. She said it was homesickness; the doctors said it was colon cancer. They returned to their house in Illinois, and I was again left alone. 

I was a sophomore in high school with a part-time job, no license, little money, and no washer or dryer. Hauling a laundry-filled backpack to the laundry mat on a bike became too burdensome, so I tied a taut string between two pillars at my kitchen bar. A quick sink wash and a line dry, and I laughed at myself even then.

I did not frighten easily, but the apartment was sometimes scary for a young girl. I was startled late one night by banging on my door. I unwisely opened it to a man with a leather case claiming he was selling perfume. I had enough sense to say my boyfriend and I were not interested, hoping to create the illusion of company, but he was persistent. Terror raced through me as I remembered the news reporting a serial rapist on the loose in that area. I thought I was going to die that night.

Joan’s grandson drove me to school many mornings, but I soon started dropping school hours and picking up work hours, where thankfully, I could eat. Eventually, I quit 10th grade altogether in favor of self-directed homeschool. I spent rich hours reading and writing, practicing for the GED, studying the Bible, and falling more in love with God, all while tip-toeing around journals, books, southern gospel tapes, and random art pieces coloring my bedroom floor.

I grew to enjoy this new chapter of my life despite its difficulties. I had a church, a routine, peace, and good friends. I wanted to stay in Colorado. God, however, had other plans.

Thank you for visiting The Jar!

Photo by Pang P on Unsplash

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