Rennie was destined for great things, but no one, least of all her, knew it yet. Right now she was just a 16 year-old girl living by her wits, on her own, in a very dangerous world. She was used to it though; she had no choice – it was all she had ever known.
She was the child of someone who either couldn’t, or wouldn’t take care of her, and as a result she had been abandoned as a baby. Whoever her mother had been was lost forever in the long, sad existence of her childhood. All she knew, all she cared to know, was that she was a foundling who had somehow ended up in an orphanage. She didn’t really remember that much about this part of her life, she was either too young or too traumatized by the experience, or perhaps her brain was just protecting her in an effort to survive. What she did remember was the seemingly endless succession of foster homes; after a while, they all just blended together into one giant pile of unhappiness, abuse, and neglect.
She had run away so many times she couldn’t count, but this time she was determined to make it to Memphis. It’s not that she knew anyone there, it’s just because it’s Memphis. She had heard this song called “I’ll Take You There” by Mavis Staples on the radio – the DJ said it was recorded in Memphis at a place called Stax. She had never heard anything like it – Rennie didn’t believe in god, but if there was a god, she thought he must have sounded like Mavis Staples. So without anything but the clothes on her back and the $46.00 she stole from the foster home, she set out.
She didn’t realize it, but things were about to change for her in a big way. Before that could happen though, there was going to be plenty more pain and suffering to endure. How is it that some people are able to survive against all odds, they just don’t seem to break no matter what, while others collapse at the first sign of trouble? How can a child live through what she had experienced and not come out completely broken? And then, like a brown and dried out little wisp of a weed, at the first sign of nourishment suddenly blossom into a beautiful flower? It’s not by nurture, that’s for sure. No, the real magic of humans seems to be that they pop out of the womb pretty much fully formed.
Life was about to test her once again before it decided what to do with her. She may not have looked like it, but she was more than up to the challenge. Looks can be deceiving – this is a lesson smart people learn very early on in life.
The key word here is smart.