One night I got a request for an alley pick up. Not all alleys in the city are dark and dangerous affairs. In residential areas with narrow Chicago style bungalows, alleys are wide, well lit, and are where the detached garages are since the gables of the house run parallel to the street. For many people this is the back entrance.
This call was in one of the nicer areas on the west side. As I pulled into the alley a young girl was sitting by her garage. She hopped in quickly and we went to a subdivision about 2 miles away. She was a typical teenage girl of the Aeropostale/iPhone variety. We made a little small talk. When I dropped her off she was very apologetic that she did not have a tip but she was using her allowance and needed to get home later. I assured her it was fine and went on my way.
About a half an hour before curfew I got a page for the same young lady to take her home. I pulled up and she got in looking like she had a wonderful time. I asked her if we were taking the front entrance or the alley. She looked evasive for a moment and said alley. My dad instinct kicked in. I smiled and said, "Your parents don't know, do they?" She blushed and asked if I was going to tell on her. I smiled and told her she's not breaking any laws. She said no, they don't.
I asked her what his name was. She said the name in a defensive tone and said he is a she and thats the problem. I asked her if this was first love. That relaxed her and she said she thinks so. She never felt this way before. She told me she never dated before. She said it's hard to date when your gay in high school and only a few people know. Her parents don't know yet. She's afraid to tell them. They are against gay marriage and talk about the gay agenda and sin often and she's afraid they won't love her anymore.
We sat in the alley by the garage and just talked for a few minutes. What we talked about stays in the cab. It was honest and she wanted an adult to confide in so bad she was willing to tell a cab driver about her girlfriend. I can say this. I told her about the people I'm close to that are gay. We talked about first love and how it had flu like symptoms but feels so amazing at the same time. She asked me questions about dating and at that point, I knew she never got to have these conversations with not only mom and dad, but any adult.
My pager went off, it was time for her to go home and me to go to my next fare. She left having shared the details of her night, her girlfriend and her butterfly ridden heart aflutter. These are conversations young lovers should share not only with friends, but with mom and dad, not a cabbie. These are the things that kids today instagram and make vines about. She lives in a closet and fears pics and posts about her.
Like Romeo and Juliet they hide from their families who would not approve of their love. It seems in this love story, the Montague and Capulet families are not at odds. They belong to the same golf club and church and get along just fine. Maybe the trials this young lady face are not on the same level as a teen on the east side living on public aid with gun shots going off in the night. Hurt is hurt and fear of a parent not loving you is scary. Fear of being bullied in school can damage an already fractured self esteem.
The other day I was in the local mall. I saw her shopping (like every other kid) with some girls. She looked at me, grinned wide and waved.