Storm wants to graduate high school.
They want to go to college and become a nurse or social worker.
Storm keeps their head down at school and doesn’t talk to anyone.
They study and work hard. They’re focused.
They don’t have many friends… and feel other teens just don’t get them.
They also don’t feel seen by their teachers, who all refer to Storm as “she” instead of “they,” like Storm asks.
The girls at school make fun of Storm because Storm never has money for clothes or to get food after school.
Storm sits alone at lunch because they can’t afford to buy food.
Everyone else eats together and talks about clothes and cell phones.
Storm wishes they had those things, too.
They feel like no adult could understand what it feels like to be this alone.
Storm feels that their grandmother is their only friend… the only one who truly sees them.
When Storm was 15, they were walking outside and it was hot.
They was so hungry and couldn’t go home because their mom had locked them out again.
It felt like their mom was always mad about something. Or wanted alone time with her boyfriend.
A guy came up to Storm and asked if they wanted to get some food with him.
Finally, someone seemed to be taking an interest.
That night, the guy said Storm could stay over but he’d need something in return.
Storm already knew what that meant, but they didn’t feel like they could go home.
That night, Storm walked the track for the first time.
It happened like that for three days.
Storm would make the guy $500 a night.
After three days, Storm ran away.
When Storm went home, they tried to be “good.” They couldn’t handle any more screams from their mom.
They pretend like things felt normal.
But, their mom’s boyfriend was always picking on Storm, asking why Storm wasn’t more girly.
He was particularly mean right now since he could tell Storm was hurting.
That night, he hit Storm’s mom.
Storm grabbed a fork and stabbed him in the arm.
Storm’s mom called 911 and that is how Storm got arrested and sent to residential treatment.
In residential treatment, Storm met other teens who also had been having sex for money or places to stay.
Storm hated the rules but liked the free clothes and food.
The counselors there were concerned about what had happened on the track.
Storm tried to tell them that their mom’s abusive boyfriend was the big thing on Storm’s mind.
When the judge let Storm leave residential treatment, Storm moved in with her grandmother.
But, every day, Storm had to walk down the street where guys and girls hustle to make ends meet.
Storm found out that one of their friends from the street now had AIDS and that this guy Storm liked was dead because a pimp killed him.
Storm hated that walk.
It made their heart pound.
Men would shout, “Bitch, make that money” and try to pull Storm in the car.
Every day, Storm kept walking.
They were not going to let anyone take advantage of them again.
They were not going to let people they loved be in bad relationships.
They just have to graduate, get a job, and get their own place.
Things would be better.
Storm has a dream.