The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 1, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 1

The ad read, simply:

Domestic Help Wanted.

Live in.

Room and board provided.

Wage commensurate with experience.

Ref's Reqd.

What caught her eye was the address which was somewhere in England. She sighed, scanned the rest of the ads which were nothing but pure dreck, paused to sip at the tea she didn't want but had to purchase for the privilege of sitting in the coffee shop, and flipped back to the only ad that appealed.

England. Dream on! She had six years of experience as a chambermaid, having worked in a cheap motel, but well knew such training to be very limited. She harboured no illusions about being qualified to work someplace fancy. Besides, she couldn't afford the air fare. For that matter, she couldn't even afford to pay her rent. Twelve more days and she and her few mean belongings would be out on the street.

Unwillingly, she found her eyes drawn back to the phone number. Would it hurt to call? Would it matter? She smiled, humourlessly. Hardly. Soon she wouldn't have a phone. Besides, who was she kidding? She well knew her interest was borne of a desire to escape, to flee to some place that sounded romantic and exotic only because it was far away. She had seen pictures of English cities on television. They looked every bit as dull and hopeless as downtown anytown, anywhere else.

Turning to look outside to see if the rain was still coming down in slanting torrents, she was caught at once by the reflection of a complete stranger. Was that really herself? that pale, tired-looking girl whose despair-bruised features stared back at her with large, brown, desperate eyes? Who would hire that thing? Confidence was what got hired . . . confidence and strength, two commodities she didn't possess. And that unruly tangle of tight, dark curls! She turned away, feeling an habitual bitterness towards the jest of God that was her life. 'Even my name,' she mused. 'Pamela Dee. It sounds like I've got an initial for a last name. That's what happens when your parents never wanted you. You're left with no identity, no future . . . '

That was unjust, but had the appearance of truth from where she stood. Her parents had split up when she was very small. A few years later, when she was going on four, her mother had taken her to a shopping mall and abandoned her, and like her father had never been heard from again.

What followed was a nightmare succession of orphanages, foster homes, group homes, and finally, living on the streets. But it could have been worse. Odd jobs had saved her from total despair, from drugs and alcohol, from having to sell her body as many girls in her situation resorted to. By the time she was twelve she got a job doing laundry in a cheap motel, the Skylark Motor Inn, and there she had stayed for six years until the owner suddenly died.

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