Yes, I know that was a picture of Natalie, but it's NOT about her at all, guys. I don't think this of her at all. So, relax and enjoy. Let me know what you think.
She watches an middle-aged, overweight man jog in some old sweats made in the 1980s. They were probably bought second hand. His forehead is covered in sweat and its dripping down his cheeks. There's suffering in his eyes. It's all she can do to stop from laughing at him.
And this is what her life has become. Driving to her small office job in the most sophisticated area of the town-where you could get a latte or a vegetarian sandwich or lobster bisque. Whatever.
She grasped her bag, of course made by Gucci or Armani or Versace or whoever's name pops up the most on E!, the entertainment channel, also known as the style channel, also known as the let's-fit-as-much-sexual-content-as-we-c
She opens the leather bag, shuffling around her cell phone, past her make up bag, to the side of her pepper spray and "emergency" jewelry and pulls out her wallet. It's orange, but not noticeably so. Crayola might call this "yellow-orange" or maybe "macaroni and cheese". The young woman doesn't really notice this anymore.
When the wallet is open, the camera would zoom in to show you that her driver's license said that her name was Linda Thompson and that she's an organ donor. The camera would shift to scan over the rest of her wallet before you had time to read the birth date. Most of the other slots in her wallet were empty, so this should give you a good idea that she's pretty young. She had a Blockbuster card, a credit card or two, and her expired school ID.
She was a secretary, you know, someone who is hired by someone too lazy to do their own work. Or is it too "busy" to do their own work? It didn't matter to her.
The man she worked for was about 30. He was beginning father. He and his rather homely wife, or at least Linda had thought, just had their guinea pig a year and a half ago, and were now onto a second child. Linda thought that they should wait to see how the first one turned out before they got a second one. It was out of jealousy.
She was the second child in her family. Her brother was two years older, and she thought that her parents should wait to see how he turned out first to know if they were decent enough parents yet to have another child. She always felt that this is why she was so "screwed up". “Screwed up” doesn't mean anything anymore. Everyone and their brother sees a shrink.
Linda had a sister, too. Prettiest thing ever. Her name was Jessica, or at least she looked like one. Jessica was a much more of a societal-pretty name than “Linda”. Linda thought that Jessica was also a prettier girl than she was. Her skin was fairer, eyes brighter, lips poutier. Jessica was such a “good” girl. She never screwed up. Honor roll, track team, president of her senior class, the cliché way to be.
By no means was Linda ugly, but she had to create ways for attention to come her way.
She couldn’t get any attention from extra curricular activities in school, or getting good grades or anything. She stopped caring when her parents stopped caring.
“Here you are,” She hands the cab driver a twenty. “Take me to 3280 South Street.”
“Whatever you say, lady.” The voice sounds familiar, but not familiar enough to recall what or who it could be. She probably heard it off some infomercial. Staying up late crying and thinking was habitual, and infomercials always seemed to be there to listen.
She doesn’t talk to her mom and dad anymore, or anyone in her town. She talks to Jessica only when their parents wouldn’t find out, and only to her older brother whenever he needs to be bailed out of jail or money to support his family of five. She was glad she didn’t think the same way his wife did. A baby wasn’t part of her world. Not at fifteen. Not sophomore year. College was supposedly ahead of her. How could she deal with the partying of high school and college with a baby?
She’d never forget about it. It would be about 7 years old this year. Having birthday parties at McDonalds, sleepovers with Barbie, drinking Kool-Aid. How could a child live its life successfully without a trademarked childhood?
Linda didn’t even think about the baby as if it would have turned out as a boy. Boys do nasty things to girls. Boys get girls into trouble. No, she would never have a boy.
Her fetus was definitely going to turn into a baby girl. Green eyes. She’d wear glasses. Both Linda and Mr. Biological did. Her hair would be darker than Linda’s, but still wavy and messy. Dark skin, since Mr. Biological was Hispanic. She couldn’t remember if it was Puerto Rican or Columbian, but what does it matter? She’d tell Ashley Lace, that would be her name, that she was artificially inseminated when she was young because she wanted to have a baby in high school to experience the pain of girls who got pregnant in those times that you’d “never forget”. Telling your daughter that you were artificially inseminated is easier than telling them you got knocked up at a party because you had no self-esteem and took any kind of attention you could get.
Yes, Ashley Lace would play tee-ball or softball until middle school, and then she’d switch to soccer. In high school, she’d be a cheerleader and on the swim team. She would have boyfriends, but always boys with good upbringing and mothers who like to have picnics with the fathers making politically correct jokes in their polo shirts while flipping burgers over the Kenmore grill. The cliché life is and always will be a good life.
She started to glance into the mirrors in the car. She looked nice. The cab driver had familiar eyes. Soft, convincing eyes. He was Puerto Rican, but he could have been Columbian. Mr. Biological? That would be too perfect to fit into a story, but, it sure did look like him. Should she say something to him? God. Does he remember her? That night. God. She was a mess.
“You okay, lady?” He asked gruffly. He must have noticed her looking at him in the rearview mirror.
Linda cleared her throat. “Uh. Yes-ahem-yes, I’m fine, thanks. Could you-ahem-” Her voice still wasn’t clear. One last “ahem” and she could talk again. “Can you please pull over here, sir?” She grasped her chest.
“But you still have a mile or so to go.” The eyes were ever so convincing, but, wasn’t this how she got herself in trouble before?
The young girl felt kind of nauseous. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Please pull over.” City life had toughened her up a little.
“You’re more assertive nowadays, I take it.”
Just like a deer. Ears perked, wide eyed. She sat up straight and looked around her.
The doe cleared her throat again. “Excuse me, what?”
“Oh baby, I could get you to do anything back in the day. Just a few years ago, wasn’t it? Are you still that flexible?” He laughed in that same chauvinistic laugh.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She grabbed her purse and started organizing it.
“How about dinner sometime. Or maybe just a quickie in the backseat?”
“Let me out of this car right now.” She clutched her things to her. “that’s-that’s sexual harassment! You can’t say that to me. I’ll get you fired! God dammit. Let me out of this car.” She jerked on the door handle.
She saw herself, 15 years old again, crying in her bedroom. Her mother came into check on her, to ask what was wrong, but she couldn’t get Linda to talk. Just go away, I can deal with this on my own . Her mom gave her a hug and held her. The last sign of sympathy and sincereness she ever got from her mother. Sometimes telling the truth makes you lose the ones you love.
“Much more assertive.” Mr. Biological sped up.
“I’m sorry, sir, but, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her voice cracked. A sign of weakness. “You can have all the money I’ve got on me,” she started to file through her wallet. Being desperate is also a sign of weakness. “Here, here’s eighty bucks. Plus the twenty I gave you earlier. That’s-” voice crack. “That’s one hundred. Now, please let me out of this car.”
“I’m not the slut, remember?” He said. He sped up to 80 MPH.
A car hit the doe.
Linda started to cry nervously. She was choking on her tears. “Oh god. GOD. Slow down and let me out of this car. Please. Oh Jesus Christ. Please.”
“That sounds familiar. Seven years, I’ve been tracking you down, you fucking slut. Where’s my kid?” The doe’s guts were splattered all over the highway. “Or did you abort it, you fucking coward?” A semi-truck ran over the doe’s unattended guts, grinding them into the asphalt.
Linda couldn’t breathe. “Let me out. Fucking hell. Let me out of this car you sick fuck.” She was clinging to the door and jerking the handle.
“You want to get out of this car, you stupid whore?”
Linda nodded amidst her tears.
Mr. Biological unlocked the car door and the young girl tumbled out of the car.
Once a statistic, always a statistic.
If Linda wasn't in Intensive Care right now, she would have loved this cliché ending. The cliché life was and always will be a good life for Linda Thompson, Organ Donor, birth date forgotten.