So I'm having a misty moment now as I walk down memory lane. A blast from the past hits me, yet again reminding me of the fragility and malevolent nature of life. I'm going to share a feel good story now if you have time to read it. I recall my adventure to Oklahoma in the dead of winter with a shudder as I recollect on the many near death expierencs I underwent in order to help a friend. It was in November that an old friend contacted me, explaining her dire circumstances, she was on the streets of Oklahoma after she flew down to be with her mom whose ruthless step dad kicked her out. She had been on the streets now for nearly a year in the drug infested crime ridden town of Lawton, Oklahoma. She was now penniless and practically freezing to death in the cold. She found way to contact me however to inform me of her desperate plight and ask for solutions. Of course I had none, I had struggles myself I was dealing with driving a dilapidated beater of a car and barely making ends meet at Starbucks, yet I said I'd do what I could. I knew she was in the wrong scene and wouldn't make it much longer, her past and story was a rough one. She was homeless and already developed frost bite in places, if I didn't help, no one would. I saved up a small amount of cash and took off, misfortune and a high risk of failure awaited, I knew the risks yet still I left. Once I found myself stranded off the freeway in a blizzard with a shattered S belt needing a tow, promptly blew a tire the next morning, which left me penniless after the repairs, the Stanhope clan in steamboat springs, CO offered me help and Jason a job washing equipment so I could continue to my destination. After driving 20 hours straight I arrived in the terrible town of Lawton, Oklahoma around 2 am. Crime, gang activity, drugs and unrestricted violence ran unchecked in this town. It took me hours to find her after searching the places in town where cops wouldn't even dare go due to the gang violence involved. This was literally Liam Neesan 'taken' style. Eventually I did. She was in shad shape to say the least, dirty, strung out and freezing, I showed up and said "grab your things, I'm gonna take you home".
There were people there however who did not want her to leave, surrounding unsavory individuals glanced at me curiously, I could tell you about the seedy people I encountered until the vomit welled up in the back of your throat. We started walking away and the surrounding lights fluttered then turned off I heard activity and loud voices, a gunshot was fired in the distance, I began to feel intense adrenaline pumping through my veins and we began to run, however her feet were frost bitten and blistered and she couldn't run any further after awhile. I picked her up and still began to sprint, I didn't look behind I only heard loud voices. A cramp developed in my leg as soon as I glimpsed my car. This is it I thought I'm going to get nailed in the back 20 feet from the extraction point at any moment expecting to feel a bullet whizz past my ear. I made it to the car threw her in the passenger seat and peeled out of there like a bat outta hell. Driving as far as I could away from Lawton. She woke up soon after and asked me to pinch her so she wasn't dreaming which I did kindly. Yes we're in an automobile and I'm putting as many miles behind me, you and that shithole as possible, I've been in some seedy places, but Lawton was surely the armpit of the world no doubt. I parked in Amarillo as the sun rays began to perk over the flat terrain still gripping the steering wheel. I hadn't slept in 2 nights and was running off straight emotion and adrenaline.
At one point while we were in Vegas I was pushing through dense crowds of people for awhile with Darien in tow all the while holding her lil' hand and steering her around the drunk, strung out masses of inebriated humanity. However, I accepted a vendors offer for a buy-one-get-one free alcoholic beverage. While inside the bar I began feeling uneasy now Darien was out of sight, I returned illegally supplying the minor with a foamy IPA. She was almost 21 so I didn't feel too bad about it. "Now you can say you had a beer in Las Vegas Darien" We sat down on a flower pot and chugged our beers with the city lights all around. We both agreed we were exhausted and upon leaving Vegas, Darien became sentimental, "I'm feel like a lost lil guppy here in a large ocean. I'm just a poor homeless gypsy orphan girl from a small oklahoma town, people dont do these kind of things for me." I smiled and said "it don't matter who you are or where you come from, you're never too poor, or too weak to set out on an adventure and see the world." That was my motto, hell I couldnt afford this, I'm a barista at Starbucks from a small eastern WA, town. People would ask me later how did you afford that trip? I'd just say, "I didn't"..
Long story short however we traveled up back to Vancouver, we were like Bonny and Clyde encountering cops, car problems and more adversity on the way, one time while in Vegas we we're watching the fountain display with music in the background and the bright lights of the Bellagio and Ceasars palace streaming down, I glanced over and she was mesmerized, emotionally breaking down "people don't do these kind of things for me, I'm just a homeless gypsy girl in Oklahoma left on the streets to die" I figured everybody gets a chance to see the world though. After seeing the Grand Canyon and Crater Lake we made it back to Vancouver, I left for Pullman, on the way I lost my car and nearly froze to death in 16 degree weather but that's another story. I made it back and found myself biking in the winter 15 miles to work on a sheet of ice and snow on some occasion yet I'm still standing. I would do anything for a friend despite the cost. And this time the cost was great. She has now been sober 4 months with good people and found the her first job of her life recently. I don't mean to toot my own horn here but despite the many ties, friends I've lost and adversity I've faced recently, from being the kid everyone thought would take the world by storm competing in Science events nationally, to the last 5 years of unraveled mistakes, this is what makes me feel I have purpose and a plan still and can not only save a life but change one too.