Short story of a girl who finds a light at the end of a long tunnel.
|Tonight, her name was Brandi.|
Last night it was Stephanie. The night before - Lily. Amber. Dominique.
She liked Dominique. It reminded her of the sea, filled with shining mermaids she used to dream about.
Standing on the sidewalk, she smoked. She had considered giving up. But, when one found a half finished Malboro on the street, one had to take the oppurtunity.
It was after midnight and the streets were busy with the pulsing of cars, the neon lights throwing color into the drab world. Something you couldn't find in the town she grew up.
At first, it had seemed like everything she wanted.
A car pulled up as she threw the butt back to the curb. A man leaned over the window, asked a question, and she answered, leaning down to give a direct line into her clevage. Free Sample.
Brandi went on autopilot. It was a survival tool when she got picked up by the old, the ugly, the depraved. Even the ones who weren't so bad. Everyone had a secret. These days, it was her.
The first light of morning was creeping over the sky, and Brandi sat on a bus bench, $500 tucked safely in her bra. People walked by and didn't give her a second glance. But that was expected - her sequin top, jean shorts and the thigh high boots painted her cruelly.
She was thinking what her next name should be. Not the humiliation of the night before, or of the last six months. She was thinking of her $500.
"Did the bus come?"
The voice startled her. It wasn't loud or menancing, just unexpected. She looked up to see an out of breath girl looking at her expectantly.
"Uh..." Brandi felt stupid. "No."
"Good." The teenager smiled brilliantly and plopped down on the bench. Brandi frowned.
"So, where are you going?"
"Nowhere." She felt uncomfortable. This little girl shouldn't be talking to strangers.
"Oh. I'm going to school - Preston High? My mom worked for three years saving money for me to go," She grinned, "They're real snobby."
Brandi felt her insides twist at her tone. Pride. Amusement. Purpose. She concentraited on the cracked cement instead.
"But it's cool. It's my education. I can put up with snobby people for a chance to get out - you know?"
Brandi looked at the girl, at her straight brown hair, the fringe of bangs, her big hazel eyes filled with life. Brandi wondered how the girl saw her eyes.
She cocked her head. "Are you okay?"
Brandi nodded. The teen smiled again, and Brandi remembered the way her mother used to smile at her when Brandi was feeling bad. Suddenly, she wanted to go home. She wanted off auto-pilot.
The bus pulled up. "Are you coming?"
"No. Not yet."
"I'm Leecie," she held out her hand.
Brandi took Leecie's hand, and found a smile - something she hadn't done in a lifetime.
"Amy. My name is Amy."