I remember when I was little, my birth father took me for a drive in his ancient ford pickup truck . The cracked leather seats in the cab smelled like old cigarettes, mint gum, and the sharp somehow cold sent that I could never identify, as a little girl I knew nothing about the fact that my dad was smoking weed. We drove down past the MacDonalds and the variety store that had closed down before I was born, down past the center of town and into a part of the town that my mom had told me was to dangerous for little girls. There were few people walking the streets in this part of town, and the few that I did see were partially hidden in the shadows where the streetlight bulbs had burnt out. I remember that I looked up at my dad and asked him where we were going, and he responded 'YOU are staying in the car, I am going to deal with some things' then went back to his stony glare out the front windshield. I curled up on the seat and tried not to look out the window at the people on the street, pretending that my own father hadn't said that he planned to leave me in the car alone so late at night in a scary place, praying that we would turn around and drive home. Finally I could stand it no longer so I burst out 'I'll tell mommy!' and gave him a look that told him I was serious. He glared at me for a second, then bit his lip and turned the huge steering wheel and slammed his foot hard on the gas, causing the car to lurch forward and bump up onto the curb as it turned the corner. I remember screaming and him ignoring me as we sped home at twice the legal limit, passing the shadow people and some newcomers, girls dressed in tank tops and short skirts that sparkled in the night though it was nearing late october. As a four year old, these girls fascinated me because they sparkled in the orange glow of the lights, calling out and waving to my father, who waved back and made obscene hand jestures back at them. This caught my attention, why was he being so mean to these girls and how come he was doing it when I was in the truck with him? I caught what I thought was my last glimpse of these strange people as the truck swerved around the corner to the main road. But then again I thought that would be the last of anything I ever saw that night because right about then my dad yelled out curse words as the truck hit a pedestrian and in his effort to drive away from the scene of the accident, wrapped around a telephone pole. That was the night that my dad went to jail for accidental murder and impaired driving. That was the night my mom got custody of me. That was the night she left him. That was the night that my life changed for the worse.