I had given blood in high school. All the Seniors signed up to go to the Red Cross and give blood. I went because we got lunch and early dismissal. I waited on the corner like Rudy told me to. I always did what he told me. That is how I ended up in Colorado Springs. I had nothing left. I had gone out there with him for a better life. We were living on the street. Sleeping on a bench in Acacia park.
Someone told us we could get twelve dollars for plasma, Rudy did not like needles. He said I could do it. I was so hungry. I felt dirty too. I had a toothbrush and a bar of soap in a baggie in my purse. When I could I would duck into any available bathroom and wash. My grandma would have called it a cat bath. I wished I could go home and see her but she had died a year before.
Rudy had not come back for a really long time. It was starting to get cold and it started to rain so I decided to go on in. I thought for sure he would come looking for me any minute. I went to the window and a red-haired woman wearing green scrubs told me to take a clipboard and pen. Fill out the paperwork and slide it thought the slot in the door. She told me to give her my identification and bring the pen and clipboard back when I was done. She looked at my identification card and said I was a long way from Ohio. I started to respond but her phone rang and she answered.
I took a seat and looked at the glass front doors. It was raining hard outside now and getting darker. I wondered where Rudy had was. I filled out the papers and slid them through the slot. I gave her the clip board and pen and she gave me my identification card. A man came down the hallway and called my name. He had on Green Scrubs too. He was also wearing a lab coat and stethoscope. He led me into a room that was lined with beds. The room was full. People were lying on the beds. I tried not to look.
The man listened to my heart beating and a nurse came and took my blood pressure. The man asked me if I was on anything. I read his name badge. Dr. Ivan Walenski was his name. I told him I was not on anything. He grinned at me and asked me if I was just having a rough time. He asked me where I was from and someone called for the Doctor. He walked away as he told the nurse I was ready. I had put my stuff beside me and she stepped around it. She told me I would feel a little pinch. I fell asleep and she woke me up asking if I was okay. I said I was and she said I was done. The Doctor ran over with a post it note. He said I was pretty. He said I should call him. I wadded it up and held it in my hand.
I went back to the front to wait for my money. The room was full. I sat next to a guy with long blonde hair and a beard. I talked with him and his friend CJ for a long time. He told me his old lady was back at the motel, her name was Bonita and they were from Pecan Texas. I thought he was cool when he told me they were in a band and were working to make money to go to Seattle. I talked to them until they went in to the back. I watched for Rudy it had stopped raining. The red haired woman called my name. She asked for my identification again and paid me my twelve dollars. She gave me a pamphlet with information about doing it again.
I sat down and waited. I was still there when CJ and Sandy came out. They suggested I go back to the Motel with them, Sandy told me that Bonita could get me a job at the place where she worked. I was worried about Rudy. I told them that and they said I couldn’t just stay there by myself. The place was closing and it was raining again. I decided to go with them. I got in the back seat. Sandy was driving and CJ had an empty plastic bottle of Mountain Dew, He started to playfully hit at Sandy’s head and laughed so hard. I had never seen a plastic pop bottle before, I thought it was funny that they said soda instead of pop too.
I reminded Sandy of his baby sister, I was glad that they liked me. I had told them about my trip to Colorado. I told them that I did not have anywhere to go, I told them about Rudy and that we were homeless. I told them I was getting money to get food. When they asked me why he was not selling plasma too, I told them he was afraid of needles. They just kind of looked at each other and then I spotted Rudy on the street. He had his leather coat pulled over his head and I told them to pull over. They did and they were telling him to get in the car and I was trying to move over so he could see me.
I never thought he would be so angry. He had been thinking about letting me dance at a strip club for money, I didn’t like the idea and neither did he. I thought he would be glad I found help. He gave me an awful look as he got in. I explained that they were really nice and I stuck the twelve dollars in his hand. I introduced them all and CJ and Sandy both told him they wanted to help us both. I told him they said I could get a job. I had applied anywhere that would let me. I found out that all employers wanted an address and phone number. I didn’t have either.
We pulled up to the Motel and got out. Sandy asked if I need to go get my stuff somewhere and I told him I didn’t have any. I told him I had to leave it. I didn’t tell him that Rudy chucked my red suitcase into a dumpster because I was not walking fast enough. I tried to hold Rudy’s hand and he squeezed my finger really hard. I had tears in my eyes and my cheeks kind of stung. I followed them up the steps and across the landing.
It was so cold. Sandy opened the door and held it open, I followed CJ and Rudy in as Sandy told Bonita to fry some more meat for the company. I felt the warm air as I walked in I could smell the steak that Bonita was frying in the little kitchenette. I could see blackness closing in around me, I felt dizzy and my heart was beating really fast. I passed out cold. I had not eaten for three days.