If you missed Part Two, click here.
Sleep would not come that night. Tash lay on the bed fully clothed, her backpack and a small suitcase on the floor beside her. The two contained everything she owned. As soon as morning came, she would leave this place and never come back.
Tash was glad that tomorrow was Saturday. She would go to work, put in her eight hours and still have enough time to investigate a few potential housing situations. She was good at keeping her eyes and ears open. She knew things. And if nothing panned out for tonight, well, it wouldn’t be the first time she had slept in the park. She’d found some good hiding places there on the nights Barbie entertained men.
Tash buried the memory and focused, pushing away the fear that wanted to rise up and smother her. You can do this. You are not a kid anymore.
The darkness was just beginning to wane when Tash gave up. Barbie wasn’t dead, she knew, but she might as well be for all Tash was concerned. That one word scribbled on the napkin said it all. Mom was sorry. Sorry she couldn’t stay. Sorry she didn’t care enough to get help. Sorry that Tash wasn’t enough.
The girl on the bed cried then. Cried as if her heart would break.
But when the first rays of sunlight appeared in the east, Tash was already outside; the pack slung over her shoulder and the suitcase with one loose wheel dragging behind. She walked with purpose, her head high and her jaw set. She had a plan. And nothing, nothing would stop her.