Less Than a Dollar but More Than a Dime

The brick and glass facades swamped me in shadowed reflections and concrete wrinkles. Never had I felt less part of the city than on that desperate night. Never had life meant less to me than in a cold, winter evening’s weakening of the soul. But angels are there to watch over us in such times with their burning, golden eyes and swanlike wings. My angel wore purple eyeliner and fishnet stockings, but I’d worship her just the same.
I approached her with trepidation. Women were not my speciality one might have said. I lacked the confidence of most men and sex appeal of the rest a combination that never went down well with the opposite sex. It wasn’t that women disliked me just that they never got chance; I wasn’t worth a look. But everybody needs someone, and I was no less than anyone else. That’s why I traipsed the midnight sidewalks counting the notes with my fingertips in a pocketful of lint.
I came to a juddering stop before a woman more girl than gran. She kept on chewing her gum and watching the taxis whizz by without sparing me a second glance, six-inch stilettos clicking out a staccato beat on the curb side. Even to such as she, I was pointless. How desperate I’d become.
Clearing my throat, I tried to catch her attention, failed, and then tried again. Her eyes never left the opposite storefront, her own dim reflection more worthwhile than me.
“How much?” I whispered.
“How much what?”
“For…”
“Huh!”
“Sorry,” I said, and began to walk away.
“I’m just messin’ with ya, kid.”
I was older than her, I was sure of it, but stopped nevertheless.
“What d’ya want?” she asked.
“I… I don’t really know.”
“Well, if you don’t, I don’t.”
She looked me up and down as though I was hung meat in a butcher’s window. Her thick, purple eyeliner must have contained glitter because her eyes twinkled like the stars; I’d forgotten the stars since moving to the city.
“Reminiscing?” she sniffed.
“You have beautiful eyes,” I mumbled.
“What?”
“Your eyes, they’re beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she replied, a touch surprised, moving her hand from a hip to run slender fingers through long, dark hair. “So?” she said, her mind back to business.
“I don’t have much money.”
“Does anyone these days?”
“S’pose not. I’ll be on my way. I didn’t mean to waste your time.”
“Less than a dollar but more than a dime,” she said, the words hurrying from her mouth like water from a faucet.
“That cheap! I thought it’d cost loads more?”
“Not for this,” she said.
The girl sashayed over, put long bare arms around my neck and gave me the warmest, wettest kiss I’d ever had.
When she pulled away with a smacking of lips, she looked me up and down again as she had before and said, “There’s someone out there for you, kid, you’ve just got to look. Go home.”
And I did. And I did. And I always wondered if she did, too.

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