I knew why I’d begun having nightmares again. It had been five years since I’d last gone through this. Five years since I’d left my old life behind me, the summer after my junior year of high school.
I’d saved ever dime I could from my job at the coffee shop, stashing it away where no one could find it until I had enough to feel safe in leaving. A month after I had, I was broke and looking for a job two states away from where I’d started out. And that wasn’t Wyoming despite what I’d told Bonnie. The where doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, just that I wasn’t there any longer.
So, as I told the therapist on, umm, my second visit I think, I landed in a medium sized city somewhere in the middle of the country, broke and hungry. I got lucky and picked up a job clerking in a small dress shop. The lady who owned it was a bitch to work for at times but she liked me well enough to keep me on for the next year plus. Then things got rough for her and she had to let someone go. Since I was the last one hired that was me.
I figured that was some sort of omen, packed up and left the city. This time I picked a place to settle down before all my money was gone. I got a job at a tourist shop, found a tiny apartment, and figured maybe this would be the end of my moving around. For almost three years it was. I even managed to make a couple of friends while fending off the advances of several men who found me ‘attractive’, ‘pretty’, ‘nice’ and all the other adjectives guys on the make apply to the one their after.
Things changed the night I had a bit too much to drink at the birthday bash of one of my friends. I ended up fighting off some creep who wasn’t willing to take no for an answer. He’d given me a ride home, or that’s what he said he was going to do. Instead he took me to the local lover’s lane and proceeded to try and tear my clothes off me when I told him I wasn’t interested. He almost succeeded but I managed to grab his half-empty beer bottle and hit him hard enough with it to knock him out.
The next morning I packed up, waited until the bank opened to get out my savings and left town. Of course what I told the therapist was that I got bored with the job and the city and decided to see what was further down the road. I didn’t figure that my almost getting raped was any of his business. That had nothing to do with my nightmares.
Further down the road was five hundred miles from where I’d been. Same song, third chorus, I got a job in a book store, another small apartment, and a new group of friends. That lasted until the day someone walked into the store that I prayed I’d never, ever see again. At least I thought it was them and I freaked. I turned in my resignation, much to my boss’s consternation, and left. Whether it really was them I wasn’t for certain sure, after I thought about it, but there was no way I was going to chance it.