Someplace in the dark that girl is crying. I understand, of course. The dark is thick, hot and holds evil in it.
“Please don’t cry.”
My voice is softer than it usually is. In the dark I can be gentle and sweet.
“I’m sorry Mama. I’m sorry.”
In the day I might snap and make her cry harder. In the dark I can reach across the space between us and pull her close. Her skin smells like the kind of terror only a junkie going cold turkey knows. She curls into me, her soft body quivering from down deep, close to the bone.
“It hurts Mama. It hurts so bad.”
While I rock her, her sobs slow down. I know she’s past the shitting and puking. The pain in her guts and joints burns low, her tears are mostly insensate need. She sleeps with her sweating face between my breasts.
When Daddy brought her in she was a mess. Lips peeling, wall eyed and reeking to high heaven. I got her in the tub and listened to her wail and squeal like a wet cat. Junkies and water- man I’d rather wrestle a gator.
All cleaned up, she’s pretty if too skinny. Few months off of the junk and those pretty little tits will fill and stand right back up, get her hair fixed up and a good manicure and I know she’ll work out just fine. Daddy always said I’ve got an eye.
I know that when the dawn comes creeping her shaking hand will slip between my thighs. Her need will eventually take whatever it can find. When she bathes her face in my come for a few hours she’ll know a little peace.
In a few days Daddy will come home with new shoes and clothes. He’ll take us out for dinner, show her how proud he is that she kicked like a big girl. We’ll go home and he’ll test her out before he puts her to work.
Her first thousand dollar night Daddy will come in and kiss me sweetly.
“You did good baby. You did good.”