She is a girl who curses what she cares about because that keeps her from remembering how much she cares. Disappointed often by people she loves, this is how she responds to the possibility of disappointment. The things she cares about are the things she curses with the most venom.

It is hard to care, and to love, when you've been let down so many times. The girl I'm talking about is a teenage girl in placement who likes to pretend she is a bad girl, but she's so soft in the center she could melt at a moment's notice. Thus the facade.

What happens when you grow up and everyone who is supposed to love, protect and care about you lets you down? What happens when the protectors become the monsters under the bed? Who is there for you when the monsters come out and night? What happens when you wake up one morning and realize you are turning into the monster at the end of your own book and you feel powerless to stop the descent?

Someone donated a large collection of stuffed animals to the shelter where I work. In the collection was a giant Goofy head, just the head of the Disney character. It seemed to surreal to just have this head, no body, no shoulders, not even a neck. Just a Goofy head floating in space amongst the teddy bears and lion cubs. So, I took the head and put it outside this girl's door. On a piece of paper I drew a cartoon voice bubble. "Don't worry. Everything is going to be okay."

Why would a tough girl keep something like that?

What makes a person feel as if they have no control over their life or the choices they make? I remember that feeling from years past, but I don't remember why I felt that way. Everything seemed overwhelming and my life seemed destined for failure. It just never seemed worth trying to pull out of the constant tailspin.

I was reminded tonight of how it has been more than a month since I last saw a girl who warned everyone that she could not resist doing the things that brought her close to death and led her to placement at the shelter. She even feared going home over the holidays because of her troubles with drugs, which would lead her to go off with questionable characters. At one point she was taken to Boston and held prisoner by two men who kept her high and treated her like she was some kind of pet. Because she lacked the "bad girl defense gene" she ended up going home, even though it wasn't where she wanted to go. She promised to write The Muse and myself, who she fancied as her adoptive parents, but we haven't heard from her.

I feel rather empty for not thinking of her until tonight. People come and go so quickly.

Maybe we need to think of all children as our children. Too many children are mostly alone out there. At a certain age they become convinced they can take care of themselves, but they can't. I know. I read their journals. I'm supposed to.

Unfortunately they arrest you these days for buying ice cream for random kids. Mind your own business. Don't walk on the grass. American Idol is on.