Heaven Sent

By: Avelyn Paige

The time I’ve spent on this bus has given me time to plan out what my new life might be like. I decided quickly that staying under the radar and finding a job would be the hardest part. Even if I manage to procure a fake ID, I will never be able to find work that involves the usage of my social security number. Being paid under the table and off the books is my only alternative and will likely be a pretty shitty job.

I just hope that the $760 in my pocket will secure me a clean room and food until I figure shit out, but life in California isn’t exactly as economic as it is in Ohio so I will need to be frugal with my spending. To be honest, I don’t know why I chose California as my destination. Maybe it was the fact it was the first Greyhound bus that left the Cleveland station when I barreled into the bus depot at three in the morning. Or maybe because it was as far away as I could get from the house of horrors. Honestly, I didn’t care where I went. My need to get away from the situation outweighed my ideal destination. Had I chosen, I would have gone down south to New Orleans or Florida, but my cards were dealt for California.

I had grabbed a map before I boarded the bus to use as a research tool for the bus’s destination. I’ll admit that Upland, California looks promising on paper. It is a small suburb on the outskirts of the city and has everything I need from thrift stores to Wal-Mart. Even the housing options don’t seem too outlandishly priced. Using the Wi-Fi on the bus, I browsed housing options on my iPad. I needed to live on my own, but rent for a one-bedroom apartment was far more than I could handle. Knowing I could be tracked using my old e-mail address thanks to all of those crime shows I used to watch with my dad, the first thing I did was create a new one; I wasn’t about to let my newly found freedom be snatched away because of an e-mail. I spent much of my first day on the bus browsing a rental website looking for something I could afford. It wasn’t until today that a woman had emailed me back and even offered to pick me up from the bus station to look at the house. The rent was affordable at 400 dollars per month for a split of a two-bedroom furnished apartment. The landlord even pays the utilities, making it even more appealing. As long as it isn’t a whore house or a drug den, I’ll likely be calling it my home in only a few hours. I just hope my potential roommate isn’t a fucking nutcase.

The bus cruises through the desert and soon I find myself stepping out of the bus and into the sweltering heat. They may not have humidity here but even without it, 102 degrees is still fucking hot. The bus depot has beautiful flowering trees everywhere, which surprises me since I assumed with the heat that nothing but cacti could even grow here. Only having the picture she sent me to go by, I search the crowded station for my potential roommate. I finally spot her leaning against a post. She looks normal enough. Her bleach blonde hair is drawn upward into a ponytail. She’s wearing what I would call the typical California look with a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. She seems like a low-grade Valley girl, but at least she doesn’t seem like an axe murderer. I can at least deal with a Valley girl. Living with an axe murderer would mean blood stains on the carpets and a loss of our security deposit or well, my life. She scans the crowd several times looking for me before I approach her.

“Are you Dani?” she asks, flipping her long ponytail behind her.

“Yes, are you Erica?”

A huge smile spreads across her face. “That’s me!” she squeals in delight. “Please, call me Ricca. I hate Erica because it makes me sound so prim and proper. If you can’t tell, I’m about as far as you can get from either of those ladylike traits.” Her giggles and excited tone puts me at ease. She’s friendly and seems like a fun person to be around, which is good for me because I need someone like that in my life. I can already tell that she’s a little ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. “Are you ready to go see your new place? I really hope you'll like it here. I’ve had so many creepy scumbags trying to move in with me that I felt like my apartment was starting to be a half-way house for the lost and perverted. One guy asked me if he could do my dirty laundry. Gross, right?” Her laughter is loud and contagious as she throws her head back with her giggles.

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