There is a little girl in my Class 3 who doesn’t really pay attention that much. She plays with things all the time. For a week, she frustrated me. Then I realized she was lonely. She is really, really lonely all the time. She feels no one cares about her, she has no support, and she is all alone in the world. Playing with her ruler at least distracts her from the loneliness.

The horrible thing is she is sitting all alone too. The kids are at tables and there is one girl across the table from her and two boys on the side in between them. And she is all alone. I need to move her.

I have been thinking about this. How terribly lonely it felt to have no parents at home to protect and support me, or to connect with in a real way. I felt a connection—I had to—but there was never any there-there. They didn’t have the skills to manage relationships, I guess. Or something. My dad reminds me of a desert, and my mom just scares. I don’t know. I doubt I ever had that feeling of joy in seeing them that I have with C. I don’t think there was even enough joy to feel crushing disappointment later There was just nothing.

I was thinking about this in the context of being trafficked, because it seems it was this very palpable, intense reminder that I was not cared for. I have these strong reactions to cars idling, to whistling. They are about being trafficked, and the shame of it, but I think there was shame and also loneliness.

I was there because my parents did not care for me or protect me. They exploited me. They did not care for me. Being trafficked felt shameful because of what it was, but also because of the reasons it happened. And it happened because I did not have protection.