Saturday, April 18, 2009

Little Gladys Life of Crime Part II

I started this story Wednesday on this post Little Gladys Life of Crime. If you want to catch up go on over and read it. Then you can finish the story here. Also thanks to all of you who emailed me and commented that you wanted the rest of the story. This has been one of those that isn't exactly funny but I had to get it out. I have never really talked to anyone about this other than some of my family. So I'm sharing it with the rest of you here.

Part II

Gladys sat in her room. She sat looking at her hands and thinking. Why had she gone on that ride? She knew it was wrong. She felt that they were destined to get caught. Why was her best friend pressuring her more and more into doing things they both knew was wrong? She didn’t understand. Just that summer they had still been playing Barbie and riding their bicycles to the store. Then the next thing she knew she was a criminal. A C*R*M*I*N*A*L. What was she thinking? Nope six months of grounding wasn’t enough. She was going to march over the Mr. and Mrs. O’Bar’s house and apologize. She would apologize for being wrong. She would apologize for being gullible and most of all she would apologize for not standing up to Karen and waking her mom and dad up when she couldn’t stop her. She would beg for forgiveness and then she was going on the straight and narrow. She decided first thing in the morning she would go over there and talk to them. She just wanted to sleep and she wanted not to feel so bad about herself.

She crawled under the covers long before the sun went down. Sometime around midnight she heard her name being called. She thought she was dreaming but her eyes were open. She heard it again and she walked to the big bay window in her bedroom. There knocking on the window was Karen. “Karen! What are you doing here” Gladys whispered. “I’m grounded from you. What are you doing out of your house?” Karen whispered back “I’m running away. Get your stuff and come with me.” Gladys sat there mouth agape. “What? Why? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard” Gladys whispered back. “No it’s not. My parents are so mean. They told me I was grounded for two weeks for the car thing. They are so lame. I’m going to go live on my own” Karen snapped back.

Gladys sat there talking to her friend through the screen thinking it must all be a dream. She listened to Karen go on and on about how mean her parents were and how she didn’t want to live there anymore. “I’m not going with you. Karen, YOU’RE not going either” Gladys stated remembering her new resolve. “I am going to go call your parents right now. You have a choice, you can either go home or go to the back door and I’ll let you in the house. One way or the other I’m calling your parents.” Karen looked at Gladys disdain in her eyes and said “You big baby. One little run-in with the cops and your ready to just crawl in a hole. Well I’m not. I’m leaving.” Gladys watched as her ex-best friend ran out of the yard and into the night. Gladys sat there for just a minute then ran into the kitchen where the phone hung on the wall next to the sink. “Mrs. O’Bar I am so sorry it is so late. Yes ma’am I know it’s after midnight. Mrs. O’Bar, Karen just left here. She said she is running away from home. No ma’am she didn’t say where she was going but she ran out of my yard and headed toward 10th street. No ma’am she didn’t say anything else. Yes ma’am I’ll call you if I hear from her again.”

Gladys tried to go to sleep but couldn’t. She felt somehow responsible. She felt guilty and ashamed. Why was her friend doing this? She didn’t know and what’s worse her shame and fear kept her from talking to anyone. She once again felt terribly alone. She hoped and prayed her friend’s parents would find her but she also knew she couldn’t continue her friendship.
Karen did run away that night. Her parents found her and brought her home. This time she wasn’t just grounded for a couple of weeks. It was worse, much worse, she was grounded for months. This did not stop her rebellion.

Gladys would see Karen in the hall at school. She would smile but Karen would look away or bump into her and laugh. She became someone different. She became a bully and one of the “stoner” kids. Then one day Gladys confronted Karen in the hallway between classes. “Karen, I don’t know why you are so mad at me. I tried to help you. I don’t want us to be enemies” Gladys stammered. Karen narrowed her eyes and then said “Gladys, you’re a narc and a whimp. You have become a goody-two-shoes that is I why I don’t want to be your friend anymore. It wouldn’t matter what I did you would rat me out. I don’t hang out with rats.”
In that moment Gladys knew her and Karen would never be friends again. She knew that Karen had taken her own path and that the two would never stay up all night whispering and singing along with David Cassidy. She knew they wouldn’t ride bikes or walk to the creek together. Gladys knew it was time to leave those days behind. It made her sad and it made her angry. Most of all it made her feel very much alone.

Then right before summer break Gladys noticed that she didn’t see Karen anymore. They lived on the same block and would often pass one another on their way to or from school, but Gladys didn’t see her anywhere. She wondered what had happened to her ex-best friend and hoped that it wasn’t bad.

The rumor started circulating around school that Karen had run away. Some said she had run away with an older boy others said she just left in the middle of the night one night. Gladys took all this information in and wondered what would have happened if they had remained friends. She wondered if she could have influenced her friend to move in a different direction. She wondered if Karen would have eventually turned back in to the girl that befriended Gladys when she first moved to the neighborhood. Unfortunately she never changed back into that fun Barbie playing bicycle riding little girl. She never got to drive her Mom’s Super Charger or attend our Junior High School homecoming. She never got to go through the slow process of growing up. She grew up fast and hard on the streets. Gladys on the other hand was scared straight.

The last time Gladys saw Karen was long after high school. She didn’t recognize the haggard life worn woman that approached her. She was much older than her years and not any wiser. She learned that once Karen left she spent a good part of her years living in the train yards in Fort Worth. Then at the ripe old age of fifteen she married an older man and started having babies. She was entrenched in the drug life by the time she was seventeen and already divorced. Gladys shocked at the condition of her one time playmate asked if there was anything she could do for her old friend. Karen looked at Gladys with a tear in her eye and said “no, but thank you. You see you tried years ago and I didn’t listen to you. I thought you were selfish and stupid. Now, I wish I would have listened.” They two bid each other farewell to go on and live their different lives.


Dawn Fortune said...

Heartbreaking and beautiful, Gladys. Thank you for sharing your storytelling gift with us.

Ms Martyr said...

So sad. I'm glad to read that you had some closure with her. So many times we never know what happens to these runaway kids. I believe there's still hope for her since she realizes the mistakes she's made. It's never too late to change until you're dead.

Girly Stuff said...

That is so sad Gladys. We certainly make our choices. Some people seemed wired that way while others are wired your way. You tried. And you had no control over her just like she had none over you...thankfully!

terri said...

That is so sad. Makes you wonder what makes a kid so rebellious that she goes to such extremes. It's every parent's nightmare.

Bob said...

Just like the old Merle Haggard song says, "That leaves only me to blame 'cos Gladys tried."

The Texas Woman said...

Gosh, I feel for her and her babies...and, of course, Little Gladys. Thanks for part two.

The Texas Woman

Anonymous said...

Wow, Gladys. That was some story. It's hard to be the one who wants to do the right things and wants to be friends with someone who doesn't. I've had relationships like that with friends and they always tried to make me out to be the bad guy or called me "chicken".

My mom always told me to blame her. She said that if someone wanted me to do something I didn't want to do, I should say that my parents won't let me, or how lame my parents were.

I have given that same advice to my kids because it was probably the best advice I ever got. And they appreciate being able to make me the bad guy when they get into situations that make them uncomfortable. But it has also helped them stand up for themselves without being afraid of losing friends, something I was never able to do, and still can't.

I hope Karen gets help for herself and her kids.

Thanks for sharing this story with us.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

I am so glad you finished the story even though it is sad. I applaude you for having a strong backbone especially at such a young age when the pressure is tough. I also applaude Nurse Meme and Trooper Bob!