The Princess

I was born in Lake Placid. Everything I ever did was in self defense, just trying to hide myself from me.

As I grew up in my father’s house, I began to understand that stairs and blankets don’t shelter me, and I began to believe that somebody touching you would be the greatest achievement.

My room was filled with dolls and nice clothes and I even had a telephone in my room. In my dresser I used to store all my clothes and all my dreams, and I used to play in there.

I started reading at the early age of five, but mostly because my mommy was busy drinking and my daddy was away again. Cartoons were boring, so I had my books and my music to keep me warm, and Maria would come at 9 pm to tuck me into bed.

Our home was surrounded by big fences and tall trees and I was so little, I couldn’t see past them. But my books taught me to see beyond the horizon. I started dreaming about the world outside, and I started hearing the music so much louder…

As I grew up, so did my mother’s habit to drink. And as I grew up, my father started to come by rarely and every time he brought with him different scents and hairs on his coat, and also lots of presents for me. But nothing for my mother. She was busy with Jorje.

I left my big home at 15. It was the first time I went away by myself. Well, not technically by myself. It was just a private school, where I could be with people of my age, without any parents around.

It was a mixed school, so I remember so well no fitting in with the girls. I remember the first time I drank vodka in the bathroom, with one of the boys. He later asked me to suck his penis. Which I tried to do, but it grossed me out.

I remember how no one used to sit with me during lunch , or dinner. I used to sit all alone, and I devoured a book during a week’s time, because no one would talk to me.

The first time I went back home, nobody came to pick me up from the boarding school, so I had to take a bus home. I remember that first voyage as a defining one, because I remember looking out the window at the people outside and thinking how much I loved their freedom, their carelessness, their simplicity. And at home all I had was broken parents with money.

Years have passed, and with each bus that I took, I grew closer to the people in those small cities. They were so abrupt and so sincere, at first they used to look at me all grossed out. But as the time passed, everything seemed easier and they accepted me eventually.

I used to admire the motorcycle gangs. They seemed so wild and so free, like they had not a care in the world. Their hair was all tangled and mostly dirty, and they had tattoos all over their bodies. Their leather jackets would fascinate me, the way they molded over their bodies. I used to look at them, but mostly at their women.

The women were so independent, and they weren’t scared to say to their man „fuck off”. That was what I liked about them. I used to look at their jeans, hugging their bodies, and those biker boots that looked so feminine somehow…

On my last trip home, I stayed with them. I let the bus pass by me, and I entered the bar. All eyes were on me, but I just blushed a little and I went to the bartender. I asked for a scotch and he looked at me. He wanted to say something, but he just nodded and gave me my drink.

For a while, I just sat there. The smoke was becoming more like a fog, and I hadn’t finish half of my drink. The music was not that loud, but I couldn’t understand what it was. My dress was white, with ruffles. Over it I had a denim jacket, and I had some tan cowboy boots. Next to me, my backpack. With everything. Money, IDs, memories.

He came to me. He was taller than me, maybe 6 feet, maybe 6 and a half. He had the leather jacket of the MC I have been watching since forever, and he had a beer belly. His smile would’ve been so charming, if not for a crooked tooth. Still, he seemed like a good man. He wanted to sit next to me, and I understood he was 35. I said „yes”, and I ended up in his room. It had a pinball machine and that is where I had sex for the first time.

I remember nothing of those days, except that I had sex with him and we used to drink together. He introduced me to his gang, and the guys liked me. Not the women, though.

When he started hitting me, I used to wish my daddy was there. But since he wasn’t, I had to defend myself. But I couldn’t. Every time he hit me, he promised he wouldn’t do it again. And he would keep his promise, but after two or three days, he would hit me again.

His friends used to look at my bruises with pity, but soon they got used to them. Only one guy, a blonde one, even taller than the crooked tooth guy (I keep forgetting his name), he used to come to me and looked at me, saying nothing.

After a while, and after both my left eye and my upper lip were bruised, he came to me and said „Let’s run away together”. And we did.

His motorcycle was our home, the road was our bitch. We used to hop on it after two or three bottles of whiskey, and we used to race to the sunset. We never did reach it, but we always tried.

Those were the best days of my life. I was happy, truly happy. Even if I hadn’t had food or water, I had someone that cared for me. He used to run into the fields or into the backyards of the houses in towns we visited, and collect flowers.

One time, he climbed on the City Hall in this small town and he took the flag down and hand it to me. I stripped and I took the flag from his hands and wrapped it around my naked body. He started laughing so much and we made love right there, on the flag.

He used to bring me chocolate after we had too much vodka and he always got me vanilla muffins. We started thinking about getting a dog, while I watched him clean his motorcycle.

The road was good to us and I don’t know how much time we spent driving. I just know I was happy and it was the first time I didn’t need my daddy.

One night we were at this bar. Smoke all over the place, everybody was drunk. Country music was playing. And this huge, fat guy started a fight, out of nowhere, and my boyfriend went outside before I could stop him. And, before I knew it, he was outside, in the cold, dead. Just lying there, in the night. No one around.

I cried over him, but I went back inside. I drank myself under the table, I don’t know how much. I woke up in a room. I think it was a hotel room, but my memories were too fuzzy.

Next to me there was this guy, he must’ve been at least 50. With a bald patch in the front and a ponytail in the back. He was skinny and shorter than me, and he was covered with tattoos. We were both naked and I think… No, I am sure we had sex.

I woke him up and said he should go away, which he did. I was alone for a few hours, and around 4 pm I noticed a bottle of rum. It wasn’t full, but it still had more than half of it. I drank it all, and went back to the bar.

As I entered, the ponytail looked at me and wanted to say something, but I ignored him and he stopped. As I drank more scotch, another guy came to me. He was a normal looking guy, with glasses and a suit, and we went back to the motel room. We got drunk and we had sex, and at six am I kicked him out.

The same story happened the next day, and the day after that, and the days after that. I can’t remember why I did that, but I remember that I was alone. Sometimes, I asked the guys I had sex with to drive me somewhere. And they did. A few of them treated me badly, but I didn’t care anymore.

All I wanted now was booze and a roof. I was ever cold and ever lonely, and the bars became my home. I missed him and I missed my home, but I was so sick of me, I couldn’t go back there. So my place was nowhere and I was left to wander through the country, with a flag in my backpack and a bottle of something in my hand.

I wish I could’ve learn to ride his motorcycle. I could’ve run away with it, drive into this world, and not feel so alone. I wish I could just ride.

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