The Whole Story
“So, Mildred, to start with an easy question: why does it seem as if you have cut your own hair?”
By this time, I was feeling refreshed and wasn’t hungry anymore. However, the pain in my legs and stomach from running for hours lingered within my muscles, making them cramp. This question didn’t seem so bad to answer, though I knew where he was going with it.
“Well, maybe I did. Who hasn’t?”
“You’re a girl! Most, in fact, all girls would never dream of cutting all of their hair off. Why did you do this?”
“Because I am running away.”
“I gathered that. But why?”
“Because you see … it’s complicated.”
“Please, at least tell me you are no serial killer or murderer?”
“Well, I am not.”
“That’s good. I’m relieved you said you weren’t. So why? Who and what are you running from.”
David choked on some water and stood up from his seat. I could see he was surprised.
“What! No way. You look older than that. Isn’t there like a month or so left for school until summer holidays?”
“Geez, thanks …” I answered with a sigh.
“Sorry. That was a little rude how I called you old. Can I be forgiven?”
“Cool. What grade are you in? I graduated high school last year.”
“Grade eleven. To tell you the truth, I had no other choice but to run away. I can’t tell you why. It’s too hard.”
David was giving me a weird smirk while observing me and my surroundings. I could tell he was a little confused. I know I should finish grade eleven, but I couldn’t deal with any more problems or unhappiness in my life. I wanted to start a fresh new life and be free for once. And this was what I was doing.
“Mildred, would it help if I gave you a pen and paper to write down your story, since you are not possibly going to explain anything to me?”
“I’m afraid if you did, it would have to be more than one piece of paper. In kindergarten, I had ten.”
He blinked. “What? There are many things troubling you in your life, aren’t there?”
For the next few seconds, tears began running down my face, and before I knew it, I was bawling my eyes out. I was quite sure this day couldn’t get any worse. But now I was embarrassing myself in front of a cute man who was about two years older than I was. What had I done?
David stood up and went inside his caravan. Maybe I should leave. This was getting more complicated. As I stood from my seat, he returned with a soft green towel and some of his own clothes.
“Inside my caravan is a bathroom,” he said. “You can borrow some of my clothes. I will wash yours. Go and get clean and refreshed, and you and I will figure out what to do next.”
I didn’t say another word. I stood up and entered his caravan. It was large, much like a suite with lots of room in it. I walked to the end to the bathroom and locked the door. As I looked in the mirror, I began to bawl again. I looked like a monster. My hair was a mess. I had dirt covering my body and my clothes were stained.
After showering, I felt much better, cleaner and happier. I walked out of the bathroom, where I met David again. He stared at me. He took the dirty clothes from my hands and placed them into a bucket of soapy water. He was holding my knapsack in the other hand, putting the clothes inside it in the water. He rinsed all the toiletries inside with water. I stared at him, confused. A young man like himself was helping a woman like me who cried and told him she wasn’t going to share her story with him. Why would he be helping me?
“Thanks, David, for everything, but it’s time I leave. If I stay here, the police will find me, and then I will be transported back to hell.”
“School is hell. We all had to go through it. You have already changed most of your identity. You can pretend to be a man for a few days and stay with me if you like. I have nothing against it. Plus, as I said before, you are a very beautiful woman, especially now that you have cleaned yourself up. Would you like to use my hair shavers to fix up your hair? Or I could do it?”
“No. I’ll be fine. Thanks for the offer, but I must go,” I said as I approached the door.
David blocked the door.
“Mildred, I know whatever you are going through at the moment is tough to deal with. However, running away won’t solve the problem. I promise no one will come looking for you …. Well, I mean they will, but I can make you safe. I will take care of you. I promise.”
“You know, the last guy that said he would care for me was my stepbrother, and I got stripped away from him.”
“You won’t be stripped away from me. Not to be rude or curious or anything, but are you an orphan?”
“Well, I never was. But now I think I am. I’m all by myself.”
David paused for a few minutes, looking at me again for another long period. This was becoming quite uncomfortable, but I couldn’t resist knowing a guy was finally staring at me, thinking I was beautiful in every single way. Just like Luke did. Except Luke never looked at me for this long, and he always thought I was crazy until the day he found evidence. I could put that all in the past now and forget about the proposal. I must try this new thing with David. The thing being love.
“So I gather you have no parents. Or you do, but you don’t want to see them. Please feel free not to answer if this is too personal.”
“No, I’ll answer. Well, I have my real parents …. They are in jail …. And my stepparents died in a car accident the other day.”
“I’m sorry. Do you have any siblings apart from your stepbrother? Are any still alive? Do you have any aunties, uncles, grandparents, or family friends?”
“No aunties, uncles, or family relatives. No records. My twin sister and I were shut off from the world from a young age. Then our parents split us up and drugged us. My twin sister passed away after that. Then we had a trial; I won and was taken in by my boyfriend’s parents. We became siblings. Then my stepparents died, and Luke’s other relatives wouldn’t take me in. He proposed to me via a letter. But I couldn’t take it, so I ran.”
“Well, not a quick, simple answer I wanted, but holy geez. I don’t know what to say. I am lost for words. See, not so complicated to tell me your whole life story, is it? A twin. Your stepbrother or boyfriend proposed by letter. I am very confused. Wow! There must be more to this story. Feel free to tell me if you wish, but I don’t want to get you any more upset than you already are.”
“I think I have had enough storytelling for one day. I don’t think boring you to death with my words will help me.”
“Well, I am very interested in your story. However, I understand why you wouldn’t want to talk about it. But I do have one question: were you and your boyfriend close?”
“Well yes. I suppose we were. We had the casual fight or two. We understood each other. One day I was the new girl in school, the next, Luke and I were the victims of the place. We were split up and haven’t seen each other for more than seven months. Court orders.”
“I think I am going to stop there. However, the more questions I ask, the better the answers I get. I cannot believe such a wonderful woman as yourself was a part of such drama and mess. Let’s do something, shall we? Or do you wish to sleep for the rest of the day and do something at night?”
Removing the Bad Ones
“I need to go, David. I know I can trust you, but we seriously just met, and this is an awkward situation. We met in the worst possible way, and I don’t think it would be fair if a crying little rat like myself stayed around. Staying here would be a cause for regret. I am scared. I need to go.”
“Did you know my caravan has wheels?” he joked.
I slapped him softly on the arm. But he did have a point. A very good point, too. I took up the offer. After packing away his items, we were soon heading in the direction of freedom. I didn’t know where we were going, but hopefully we would never stop. I clearly identified places where I could be caught, like my hometown, all the schools I had attended. David made sure we were going in the opposite direction of those areas. For most of the trip, I slept. I woke up when the caravan finally stopped as the sun was melting over the mountains.
“Good evening, Mildred. How did you sleep?” David asked.
“All right, I guess. I must have been in a deep sleep.”
“Indeed, you were. For about five hours. Did you know you snore like a pig?”
I blushed a little and once again gave a small nudge to his left arm.
“Shut up, please, David. I cannot help that.”
“I know. But it was so incredibly adorable.”
“We are stopping here for the night. There is a small fish and chip shop down the road if you want to walk down there with me, or we can simply have baked beans in cans…”
“I would prefer the fish and chips. When I was younger, I remember being locked in a room all day with my twin sister with a loaf of bread and water.”
“Please tell me you’ve at least tried fish and chips or at least had something decent to eat.”
We both got out of the car and made our way to the fish and chip shop.
“Yes, I have. You see, my stepparents were nicer than my real parents, and they always made wonderful meals. My stepbrother, Luke, also made me try many things, like popcorn.”
“Well, that’s a relief. What have you been eating this last year? Most boarding schools serve slop, don’t they?”
“Yeah, it was slop. Probably one reason your cornflakes were the best thing I have eaten in this last year.”
“Ha ha, I bet they were.”
“David, I can’t believe how nice you have been to me today. I mean, we met this morning and I feel as if we are family. Not to sound too cheesy or anything, but it’s true.”
“You can refer to me as your big brother if you want, or maybe your boyfriend ….”
A huge smirk covered his face. My face felt like cherry tomatoes had hit it. I was blushing deeply.
“Ha! I made you smile. It’s not often I can accomplish that with other people.”
We sat down at the back corner of the shop, where we were served immediately. We were the only customers in the room. I had no idea what to get, so David ordered for two.
Our meals arrived within minutes. We didn’t talk until we finished eating. David and I thanked the waiters and chef and made our way back to the caravan.
“Did you like that, Milly? Can I call you Milly, by the way?”
“Sure. And yes, it was fantastic, thank you. I don’t know how I am going to pay you back. I guess I am poor now as I have lost everyone in this world.”
“Don’t worry. I have it all covered. I am here for you and will always be. You are in the safe hands of David the Great.”
“It’s getting a bit late, don’t you think? I’m getting tired again.”
“It’s only seven o’clock, silly. And you slept the whole car trip, remember?”
“I know, but still. Maybe I am bored.”
“You can certainly not be bored. I bet this has been the best day you have ever had in your life.”
“Yeah, maybe, I guess it has been. And that was probably one of the greatest sleeps I have had in my whole lifetime.”
“Glad to hear that. You amuse me, you know. You’re like a picture. You know the saying ‘A picture paints a thousand words’?”
“Thanks. I would say you are too.”
“Well thanks. My heart has been mended,” he said enthusiastically, touching his chest.
“Well, what are we going to do, David? I have no clue.”
“We could play a board game or something. I have a TV in the caravan. We can watch a movie.”
“Sounds like a great idea.”
David pulled out all the movies from his movie draw. He owned hundreds. All different types of genres too. I would have no idea where to start or which one to pick. I told him to pick his favourite.
“This one is called The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I watched this movie so many times, but I think it’s great. It’s also a series. Are you interested in watching this?”
“Yeah. Do whatever you want.”
“But what if you don’t like it, my dear?”
“You’re funny. Just put it on. I’ll be asleep in seconds. I was running through a shadowy forest for a whole day before I found you,” I answered.
“Your clothes were completely soiled when I looked at them ….”
“I came to a dead end and needed to jump off a waterfall into a stream,” I answered enthusiastically.
“I can use a massaging technique on you if you’re still sore.”
“I’ll be fine. I don’t think I can watch a movie.”
“That’s okay. Come lie on my bed with me, and I will make you feel better.”
“Can I not take this couch?”
“Well, you could, but I have one blanket, and it does get a bit chilly here at night when you camp.”
I was blushing again. I had butterflies filling up my insides. I had slept with Luke before, but that was different. We were siblings then and we had known each other for a bit longer than a day. My brain began to hurt. Too many things were running around in it that I couldn’t grasp what was happening. Everything was happening too fast, and I didn’t want David to get the wrong idea about me. I guess I would have to do what he said: get in bed with him. It wasn’t like I had another choice and I didn’t want a cold.