by Mike W
A little horror tale from the streets.
|They say the eyes are windows to the soul. But they are also mirrors. Look into mine and you will see yourself.
When you look at me what you see is determined by your perspective. You see a girl. I’m not a girl, I’m a woman, a young woman, but we’ll let that pass. You see me sitting on the wet pavement in front of a shop doorway. I’m hunched over. My clothes are dirty, as is my hair. It hangs in lank damp strands over my face. I hold a paper cup in front of me. There are coins, not many, in the cup. I am obviously homeless, a beggar, a lost soul.
You, on the other hand, standing before me, having stopped in your purposeful stride, on your way to or from somewhere, with someplace to be, someone to see, are a man, a man who is not lost, not homeless, not a desperate dirty beggar. A man, not a boy, though we are probably of a similar age.
You stand looking at me and I raise my head, focus my eyes, those windows, those mirrors. “Any spare change?” I ask. Of course that’s what I ask.
Your face is kind. There is pity in your expression, compassion too. But also disgust, doubt, discomfort. You are a good man. You want to help.
“Yes, yes, of course.” You fumble in your pocket. You can see my face clearly now. It is pretty, you are surprised to see, beneath the grime. I was a pretty girl once. Such a shame. Drugs, obviously. It must have been drugs that brought her to this.
You drop some coins, some pitiful few coins, into the cup. But is that really helping? What will I do with those coins? Buy a meal? A hot drink? Or more drugs?
“Thank you,” I say, holding your gaze.
Why did you stop for me? There are many homeless people in this city. Many more shop doorways holding the detritus of humanity, that you walk by without a second glance. Why me? Is it because most of them are men? Not many like me, a woman, a girl, a pretty one at that. Is that why you stopped?
“Listen,” you say, hesitantly, as if you have just thought of it. “I only live just around the corner.” Your eyes have a new brightness now, as do mine as you look into them. From your perspective this is a good thing. This is promising. “Why don’t you come back with me? You can have something to eat, a drink, a shower.”
Maybe you are genuine. Maybe you really want to help. Maybe you don’t want to have sex with me. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same to me. From my perspective you are prey. We will go to your home and I will feed, and you will die. You will look into my eyes and see yourself and you will not want to live.