Incite Magazine - December 2014

Page 7


HEADED FOR SOMEWHERE Sarah O’Connor @notsarahconnor


ama said that the next time she would see me would be on a missing person’s poster scattered around the reserve. I know that sounds mean, but she didn’t mean it that way. She’s just scared; she doesn’t want me to end up in a ditch or missing or as pig food. Sometimes moms can only show fear through anger, that’s what I think at least. And she only said that thing about the missing person’s poster because that’s what happened to my best friend, Missy. It’s a year later and they still haven’t found her, but I don’t think they’re looking very hard. I’m slowly walking backwards making sure the passing cars see my sign: ‘Headed for Somewhere’. I wrote it in my nicest penmanship which is saying a lot since Mama says my writing is like chicken scratch. The writing on my sign is nice and clear, traced over and over with my black Sharpie. The letters loop and curve in a way I think looks like calligraphy, but I’m biased. After four weeks my sign is starting to get ratty. The cardboard is tearing and the letters are starting to bleed from rain. A few cars honk at me, but none of them stop. I hold my sign with my left hand and stretch out my right arm with my thumb up, hoping that will get me somewhere. I’ll need to find some more cardboard and fix up my sign at my next stop. I’ve been hitchhiking since I was 15. Mama never approved of it even though she did it when she was young. I don’t blame her after what happened with Missy. Missy and I used to do it together after parties and

work which helped a little. It didn’t help with the drivers. Some of the people who drove us were… well, let’s just say you never knew what they were going to ask for in return for their ‘charity’. But Missy and I had each other for comfort, and that was something. The road is empty. The only sound is the hush of the pine trees that hug the road. I knew I should have left on the holiday Monday when all the other tourists were leaving. I turn my back on the empty road and walk ahead awhile, looking up at the sky or down at the grass. I’m tired of star-

at keeping in contact with her family whether it was a rare payphone call or a weekly postcard. But after a month of not hearing from her, her parents got scared and called the police. Missy had told her parents she was taking Highway 16 when she left, which is the highway where all those other women have gone missing, where all those other women have been killed. The Highway of Tears. The police haven’t found Missy yet, though they say they’re looking for her. They put up a picture of her when she went missing. It was a mug shot from when she shoplifted lip-gloss in high school. All these strangers online were posting that if she (and the other women) didn’t want to get killed, they shouldn’t have been hitchhiking. How it’s our own fault for our deaths and disappearances. But they don’t understand how most of us don’t have the money to own a car or pay a cab, or how hitchhiking is the only way we can get from one spot to another because the buses stop at 2 a.m. I haven’t read a comment asking to catch the abductors or killers yet. There’s a car pulling over. They didn’t even need my sign; just saw me walking at the side of the road. I hope it’s a woman. One last listen to the murmuring pines and I sit with the stranger (it’s a man) and continue drifting. Drifting and looking for… somewhere. I think I want somewhere where I can feel safe. Where I won’t be blamed or looked at or mocked when people take one glance at me. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? 

After four weeks my sign is starting to get ratty. The cardboard is tearing and the letters are starting to bleed from rain.


ing at the sad, gray road. I don’t even know where I’m going. So far I’ve just been going where my “chauffeurs” take me, hoping to end up… somewhere. Missy at least had a plan when she left. She was hoping to get to Toronto. She loved the busy city life, and while British Columbia has city life, she wanted to make somewhere new her home. I don’t know how she was planning on affording a place in Toronto; she probably hadn’t thought that far in advance. Missy was a dreamer. I don’t think Missy made it out of B.C., and no one else does either. Missy was good