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The Dusk

The sweet musk of her cigarette mingled between diesel fumes and fries, enveloping her. It was nauseatingly comfortable in the sticky twilight. The streetlights sputtered. She waited.

She crumpled to the curb, curled into a childlike package, her chin wedged between her knees. The breeze ebbed and flowed, cars drag racing and squealing down the city streets, but in her sanctuary, there was comfort – safety, even. Boney arms glued to bare thighs and a rivulet of sweat meandered in the crease of her nostril.

She waited.

She was alone in her world, her harsh cruelty. A prisoner to herself, to society, she served. She was nothing more than a service, a body, fulfilling a void for desperate men. There were no other options.

Love was absent from the sick act, no tenderness or caring. It was mere submission toward her new master. He would be middle-aged, ashen, musty. His cheeks would scratch her tender, once youthful lips until they yielded to the dryness. If only she could do the same.

A silver El Camino spit gravel onto her knees. No words needed to be exchanged, just a knowing glance. They went off.

She returned hours later, ten dollars to her name. A young man. He reeked sharply of alcohol and Doritos and sweat. His hair left a thin residue when she stroked her fingers through it.

She again crumpled to the curb. But now, she sobbed, allowing the tears to cleanse the deed, the sin, and she prayed to any god who would listen to free her. She sniffled, breathed, and coughed through the fumes. Eyes stinging from saltwater and makeup, she rubbed her face until it no longer yielded mascara, applied a fresh coat, and leaned back onto her hands.

Day had fully faded into nighttime and the sky hazed with the night of the city: a sickly gray and yellow tinge. The streetlights dimmed and stained the stars and smudged them into the sky.

Finished for the day, her chest ached with the burden of her actions. She felt sick and woozy and weak in the knees, but stumbled home regardless, laying beneath a playground slide in central park. It was childhood, an ample home.

She lay between wood chips and plastic and succumbed to sleep, as she prayed to any god who would listen.




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