She was a runaway girl. She had left home and stayed in different places every night.
They heard that she was a troubled girl. She did not live with her parents, knew somebody in the yakuza group, did drugs and slept with men for drugs. They knew that she had been thrown out of her school and transferred to their school.
They were anxious.
She trusted no one.
They were innocent and awkward teenagers and asked her questions.
She answered earnestly. She didn’t care if they knew the truth.
They cared about the truth and her.
She did not feel like she was just an inconvenience to someone anymore.
She attended classes and got good grades. She hung around with them after school and told them that she wanted to be a nurse.
They said it was a good idea since she was already good with needles.
She laughed with them.
She advanced to the nursing school, vomited and fainted as she learned about the gross reality, and believed that, one day, she would be wearing the uniform of Florence Nightingale.
Her nightingale never sang for her. Instead, her old nightmare found her.
Years passed, and they saw her in town, emaciated and bruised. They thought to call her name but didn’t. They were, by then, adults with senses.
She saw them, sure enough, but did not look at them. She was also a grown-up with baggage. She did not dare stop, though she had no place to go.
She kept running away.