I lurked The Network, skulked. Examined “Missing Girl” sites deep into the early-morning-nights. Servers choked with data.
Stories, legends, tales. My summary, my digest, gleaned from gigabytes of talk:
“Before she was missed she was a girl. Just a girl, before she was missed. Room full of scent, dolls, sock-puppets, mirrors, clothes, telephone. She left it all behind.
“Sixteen when she hit the road. Gone. Vanished. Split. Later, when she appeared on covers of The Nation’s magazines, she would wish they’d used a different photograph, according to many thousands who had never met her.
“Her parents were interviewed on TV. She remembered them dimly, as television characters, portraying themselves or someone.
“Hitch-hiked to The City. Wasn’t raped or killed, despite close calls. She was a fighter. How she got away unharmed no mystery. After all she was a fighter. A survivor.
“Prospects were grim for a nubile girl alone in The City, but she befriended a group of young runaways, then known to the Authorities as ‘litters,’ ‘gangs’ or ‘packs.’ There were many in those days, as there are today. The Missing Young. Together each other. A tribe. Despite police crackdowns, despite hunger, danger. A tribe, these runaways. She lived among them for a Summer. They were kind. She had her first sex with one, then several of the Missing Young. Male, female, she was open to all pleasures.
“They slept the days away in parks; stayed up nights drinking, talking, smoking, begging for change.
“A man who sold used books on the street would ‘lend’ them old paperbacks. Gave them books to sell for food, knowing they’d instead buy cigarettes, drugs, beer.
“September divided the Temporary from the Truly, the ones who weren’t going home, the ones who weren’t going back to school to boast their experiences then forget them, as circumstance demanded, and resume The Day-to-day. The Truly Missing turned their backs to Day-to-day forever, or as long as they were able. The Temporaries fled home September when the school bells tolled and cool nights warned of chills to come. Some Temporaries simply left, while others refused to up and run, when the cops came in the early morning hours and the cry went out to ‘up and run:” a ticket home with alibi (‘Busted. Wasn’t my fault. I wanted to stay here in the park. Really’).
All fiction of course. Mything The Girl. Except the original news accounts and magazine stories. Maybe.