Friday I took the train up north along the coast. The ocean, and some hillsides that look like Africa - lion colored grass and red dirt - native plants - like San Diego looked before people came.
My college friend picked me up in Oceanside, then we drove inland, toward blue mountains. Near her new house, we passed a park surrounded by hiking trails and shallow waterways. She told me a teenage girl had disappeared from there the day before.
The next day her daughter had a birthday party. I have known her since she was born. She is now sixteen. The theme was "I don't wanna to grow up." There was a pink castle jumping gym, a play dough station, dress up clothes, a taco bar. About twenty kids came. All so polite and sweet and gorgeous.
I couldn't help but think of the family of the missing girl. And the earthquake in Chile. All the suffering going on while we were having fun. A poignant contrast, which somehow, to me, made the time sweeter.
Yesterday police found the body of the girl. A repeat sex offender is in custody. My heart hammers whenever I think about it. I have no idea what to do besides pray. Normally, I avoid the news, as it steals my equalibrium. But this is so close to home.
I am not an activist, but an artist. By choice.
Yet what I wish is that all girls in every P.E. class from first grade on would be taught self defense. These perpetrators should not be on the streets, but they are. Men in power, obviously, aren't going to fix this for us. Women and girls are going to have to get strong on their own.