Be careful of what you take for granted.
First, here are some things you should know about me. I’m eighteen years old, and I live with my parents out in the Piney Woods of Texas, a few miles from the closest town. My location is pretty remote, but I always loved the nature surrounding me and the thick forest that springs up above my home, a quaint, small cabin. I used to walk to school through the evergreens, enjoying the smell of fallen pine cones, and I had memorized the path to town by heart. I never felt scared of the woods, though maybe I should have been.
Back when I was fourteen, I met this girl in the eighth grade, let’s call her Jenny. She was beautiful, friendly, and the sweetest person I’d ever met. Most of all, I remember her laugh, a cute giggle that would grow into happy, uncontrollable laughter. It didn’t take me too long to ask her out, and pretty soon we were madly in love. She was the only person in my life who seemed to truly understand and care about me, and we would spend all of our time after schooldays together. We’d walk through those very same woods holding hands, just exploring, and doing what lovesick teens do. But our walks through the woods started eating into her studying, and her grades suffered as a result. We didn’t care though, too young and dumb to let anything like that come between us.
One night, her parents told her that she couldn’t be with me anymore, and that she would have to focus more on homework and less on boys. They had a huge argument, screaming and throwing things, and finally, Jenny stormed out of her house. She told her parents that they didn’t love her, and that she was going to live with me instead. She ran as fast as she could, away from home and past our middle school into the woods where I lived. Her parents began to plead with her, yelling for her to come back, chasing her on foot in hot pursuit. No matter how they tried, her parents just couldn’t keep up, and pretty soon she had disappeared into the woods. They searched through that forest until dawn, eventually calling the police to help. I’m choking back tears right now just typing this, but they never found her. She’d gotten lost.