The writer recalls her past life, without family and hitching rides at truck stops—and a time in which she may have crossed paths with a serial killer:
I had a vision of Lisa Pennal as a truck-stop Kali roaming the back lots in her denim skirt and fuzzy slippers with an ozone hole for a halo. She would be easy to dismiss. Rhoades intentionally chose women who lacked credibility. Sometimes, as with Shana Holts, the girl who had escaped in the brewery, the sense of not being credible was internalized. Lee told me that the final lines of Holts’s police statement read, ‘I don’t see any good in filing charges. It’s just going to be my word against his. If there was any evidence, I would file. I would file charges and sue him.’
It took me a second to understand those last sentences. What evidence was she lacking? She was found running naked, screaming down a street in Houston with DNA all over her body, her head and pubic hair shaved, still with his chain around her neck. How could she lack evidence? But I thought about what she’d said—’It would just be my word against his,’ which was clearly followed by the unvoiced thought: And who is going to believe me? I could easily imagine my own teenage voice whispering those same words.