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Therese. It sounded almost french to him, the gentle way it echoed in one breath.  Therese.  Her dark chocolate hair fluffed itself divinely in the winter air.  Therese.  Her gloved hands were slim and heartbreaking, and when she clung onto him he felt himself shiver.  Therese.  Her warm, honey eyes did nothing to hide her shaking coldness.

____

MaryAnne felt the thrust of another paycheck deep into her body.  She moaned and cried a bit, smiled for the cameras like she was primed to do.  Eyes closed, she reminded herself.  Nobody wants to see you looking at them. The director called it her one bad habit.
She feigned pleasure once more and readied herself to crawl.  Forward she went, according to direction, and lapped up the bitter fluid.  Gagging was no longer an issue; something you became accustomed to.  Her face lit up and she smiled at the man above her, his cock arrogantly standing up.  He grinned and she kissed it.
Cut.

_____

No one knows where the hell your pony runs to once you let it go.  No one is sure what happens to the child you leave in the orphanage.  Even the dog you turned loose might one day come back to bite you.  And when the little girl lost is ushered away, she may just take one misstep and end up dead.
Or she could be a master of survival, a queen of the streets.  She’ll know where to find the cheapest food and loneliest men.  Her heart will be rendered a war drum; every day will be a battle.  She’ll bite.  She’ll scream.  She’ll moan for the camera.  No matter what, she’ll live.
The junkies congregating in back allies with your little girl won’t know what to say.  She won’t take a hit.  She doesn’t want to swim in euphoria like them.  They’re downright pathetic to her.  She knows better than to take comfort in the prick of a needle.  In fact, this girl knows better than to find comfort in anything at all.
If she never knows a bed, the pavement is luxury.
If she never knows silence, the screaming streets are a lullaby.
And if she never knows you, all the better.

______

He met her under a street light, seeing a soft woman looking hopeless.  Her smile alone made him take her by the arm and offer a drink, maybe some coffee.  She didn’t drink, coffee was more than enough.  And when they took their promenade, he felt a small suspicion he was escorting the princess of 5th avenue.
She was gorgeous, after all.  And her mind seemed sharper than most.  A halo of snow fell over her dark hair like a tiara.  This angelic being walked with a grace he couldn’t define.
They sat down and she seemed unaccustomed to rest. A few awkward laughs only made him more sympathetic.  She nursed the coffee, suckling its warmth like she was on the brink of death.  Another awkward laugh.  What did she do, he asked.  Trying to model, she answered.  He figured she dropped out of college and no one would take her in.  Poor thing.
She claimed her phone was broken, but said that he could find her in the same place someday.  Therese. Remember the name.
And all the while the young girl couldn’t stop shaking.

_____

MaryAnne felt sick.  Her stomach turned in knots as she took another 100 dollars into her body.  Smile, she whispered.  Don’t look at the camera, though.  No one wants to see you looking at them.
Her mind replayed those times kind men skipped the sex and took her hand, the times men were gentle.  In her minute, confused world these men would be her father, her lover, any man willing to look her in the eye.  Women procured an uneasy hatred from her, as they continually offered jealousy and not much more.  There was always someone to hold the other girls’ hands.
Women were not to be owned, as desperately as she craved it.  She would not be possessed.  Whoring herself out was simply a way to live, and she lived alone.

______

Sometimes your little girl will learn how to defend herself, how to go it alone.  And you have the realization that maybe she was in control the whole time.
You never can know just where she’ll end up, but that might be her dancing on screen.

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