The Trashy Virgin

By: Cassandra Dee

So yeah, it’s been a year now, and I’ve settled into a routine with Jason and Brent. Every day, my new “brother” and I head off to Central High for our senior years of high school, driving across the tracks to a fancy school with a couple of slots for poor kids like us. And every day, Brent goes off to work with the union          , there’s a lot of demand for steelworkers with all the construction nearby, so he’s got a steady, stable job and as far as I know, has never been late with bills.

But Jason isn’t Brent’s son or stepson or any relation whatsoever. Jason’s another stray that Brent pseudo-adopted, offering him a place to live because his own home situation was so messed up. I’m not even sure what Jason’s family history is, I just know that he won’t talk about it, he clams up and ignores me, so Brent’s urged me to be patient, give him time to relax. And I respect that. After all, I try to avoid any discussion of Tina except that with my mom, everyone knows, her hysterics were impossible to miss.

So yeah, the two men are my family now. We’ve been living like this for a year now, and Jason and I both turned eighteen recently, celebrating our birthdays together since we’re both September babies. We’re our own little happy trio for better or worse, and given my rocky real family situation? My mom who’s in a psychiatric ward as we speak, and my dad whom I haven’t seen since I was five? I wouldn’t trade my men for the world, no way.



I’m not exactly a do-gooder but sometimes the situation’s so hopeless that you’ve got to intervene. And with my steady job and solid paycheck, I had to do something for the kids around here.

Jason was the first. I found him living under a bridge one day, literally camped out alone, looking worse for the wear.

That day I’d finished a job and was walking home from the site. I’d gotten out earlier than usual and taken a detour on a whim, a path by the river next to the woods. More out of curiosity than anything, I strolled along, savoring the crisp smell of leaves in the air, a classic New England fall, and it led me to an abandoned bridge, the stone mossy and crumbling, probably couldn’t hold more than a child. But to my surprise there was a teen boy camped out nearby.

“Hey,” I said, my voice neutral.

Jason turned to me, eyes wary, hands paused on a tin can of food. He didn’t say anything, just turned away again.

“Hey,” I said, more loudly this time. Jason was clean and neat I could see, but yeah, there was a blue tent erected not fifteen feet away and a small pile of garbage off to the side, indicating that the boy had lived here for at least a week.

“You need some help?” I tried again.

And the boy didn’t answer, ignoring me as he devoured peaches straight from the can, so hungry that some of the syrup ran down his chin. I shook my head, walking away, but the next day, getting out early again, I took the same detour and came upon the same boy. My efforts at conversation fell flat once more, but over the next month, we built up a rapport of sorts. Soon, I took him to a diner for a meal and for the first time, he told me his name and story. It was really sad, no child should have to endure what he’d been through. His parents were a mess to the point where he’d left voluntarily, living on his own by the bridge, keeping to himself so that none of his friends realized that he had no one, he’d struck out on his own.

And I felt bad to be honest. I had a solid working-class background, and the union           was looking for some apprentices to begin the next training cycle. So I brought it up with Jason and he pounced at the opportunity.

“That’d be awesome man,” he rumbled, looking down. The boy was clean and fed, sure, but nights were getting cold and that tent was no protection against a freezing Maine winter. So I offered him the opportunity to stay with me, and Jason refused.

“Naw,” he drawled. “I’m good.”

“No prob,” I grunted in return. “Just let me know if you change your mind.”

And when the weather got colder, leaves falling from trees, the thermostat crusted with ice each morning, Jason took me up on my offer. So yeah, I set the boy up with a room in my trailer, he’s pretty self-sufficient, we don’t talk much but he seems fine, going to school, keeping up with his work. He’ll be starting an apprenticeship with UAW next fall, and under my tutelage, he can’t help but succeed.

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