When I look at you, all I can think about is how no little girl ever dreamt of growing up to be a crack whore.
You scare me. The way your eyes dart around in your head like a frightened animal. And that thing you do with your mouth, working it back and forth, back and forth, over no words and no food. Like you just can’t stop chewing a giant, imaginary wad of gum.
You freak me out.
And you break my heart.
I see you begging for food and change at every car window. I see you stumbling out of the coffee fields, followed by some guy, zipping up his pants. I see you lapping up water out of a pothole in the middle of the street, like a dog. I see you, and I think for sure that you’re pregnant… and I see you a week later and I know for sure that you’re not.
And every time I see you, I think about how nobody wanted this for you, especially not you.
I see you and I think, “We are polar opposites.”
You are dark and brown and swirling onyx from head to toe. And I am light and white and gold. Your eyes look like the night, and mine, the day. And everything good inside of you is teaming to get out, straining against the interlinked arms of drugs and abuse that have brought you to this wretched place. This spot on a street corner where you sit in your own waste and stare off into space because you’re blitzed out of your ever-loving mind.
I watch you from my car. Where every awful thing inside of me is fighting to get out, throwing itself a against this fortress of vanity, of bleached smile and plucked brow, of a too-pricey haircut and the perfect push-up bra – every selfish intention, every malignant thought, every raging, hypocritical rant is right there under the surface, searching out the weak spots for a place to leak out and contaminate the world.
You’re a tweaker. So they spit on you and tell you to get a job.
I’m a missionary. So they pat me on the back and tell me I’m awesome.
But once upon a time – back before someone broke you and before Someone fixed me – we were both just little girls. We probably both played with baby dolls and maybe we both had daydreams of what our ever-afters would look like, of what kind of women we’d be. Probably neither of us came very close to what we dreamed as kids… I know I’m not who I thought I’d be. And I know that no little girl ever dreamed of being a crack-whore…
There you are, all wild-eyed and chatting up a fire hydrant. And as I drive past you to get to the mall, my chest starts to feel heavy and my pulse picks up and I can feel, when I see you, that I have a heart for you.
Yes. I have a heart for you.
I don’t even know what that means, except that I know it’s true.