Back In '98 By Steph Cohen

It all started back in 1998, I was 17....and my, at the time, boyfriend (who's now my husband) had just turned's the story:

I slipped my socks on over my feet then looked around the empty room for my shoes. I found them quickly and put them on.

Grabbing my backpack, I took one finaly look around the room, then, I left. I ran down the stairs and got the keys to my car, then I ran out. I jumped into my car and started it. I drove.

I drove around the block a few times, trying to work up the courage to go and get my wee old daughter from my friend's house. Her mom was watching my baby, Diana, for me while I planned to run away. My parents would kill me if they knew I had a baby.

Finally, I found myself in front of my friend's, Karen's, house. I walked up to the door and took a deep breath, Lightly, I pressed my finger to the round, glowing doorbell. I heard the noise it made inside. A light went on. Karen's, mom's, Betty's, light.

A few minutes later, Betty stood in front of me in the doorway with Diana. With tears in her eyes, she handed me the baby and a diaper bag. I kissed the baby's forehead and embraced her tightly. "I have more," Betty told me. "Please, come in for a little while." I stepped into the spotless house and looked around. Betty ran out of the room, but quickly came back carrying loaded bags. I wondered what they were filled with. She set a few bags down on the floor and opened the door. I followed her out to the car.

I opened the back door and put Diana in the seat that I had bought with money I'd been saving since I found out I was pregnant. I lightly brushed my lips to her forehead again, then I turned to Betty. "What are all these bags?" I managed to ask.

She replied, "Food, diapers, baby wipes." She reached her hand into the pocket of her robe and took out a small change purse, "Take this," seh said, handing me a few bills. Becuase of the darkness, I couldn't see how much was there, but I accepted it graciously.

"Thanks for everything," I whispered on the verge of tears.

"Grace," Betty paused, her voice grew worried, "Would you like KAren to go along with you? I'd feel better."

I thought about it for a minute, "If you'd like her to," I paused quickly, emphasing my next sentence, "If she'd like to."

Betty shook her head, "She thought of it. Her bags are packed. She's ready to go. I'll go and get her." I shut the back door and climbed into the driver's seat. I started the car's engine and sighed. I'd thought about Karen going with me, but, mainly, I was only joking.

Suddenly, Karen walked out of her house and up to the car. She got in and smiled at me. "Are you okay?" she asked. I shook my head yes. I didn't think she'd notice the tears in my eyes.

"Are you sure you want to go?" She gave me a look as though I had just said the stupidest thing.

She rolled her eyes, "We've been planning on traveling together since were five. I'm going." I looked at her bags. She'd only brought a backpack, a duffle bag, and her purse.

Knowing that she usually uses that much to pack for a night, I asked, "Are you sure you brought everything you need?"

She looked at me, "I figured I should pack light." My eyes widened. I looked toward the house. Betty was shooing us away with her hand. Karen and I waved good bye then pulled away.

"Did you bring your liscense?" I asked Karen.

She shook her head yes, "That was the first thing I packed. She smiled contently.

I looked forward and, suddenly, I saw bright lights. Karen screamed. As the car swung out of control, I jumped to the back seat. Diana was not going to die.


Now, here I am. It's five years later and I'm mourning the five year anniversary of Karen's wedding. My tears are dripping onto the paper as I write a note to my husband and Diana's father, Isaac Hanson. Here's what I've written:

"Dear Ike, I never thought I'd make it this long, but I have. I've been strong for five harsh years. I can't handle it anymore. I love you, as I shall always loved you and have always loved you. Please, tell Diana about me." I place the note down on the bed and pick up the scissors....