“You want to do what?”
“I want to get off the streets.” I said. “Don’t you?”
“I mean, sure,” Natasha said. “But it’s not that easy.”
We were standing by the road, the busiest road in the city, waiting for someone to pull over. I felt the cold of the early morning hours. It was two in the morning to be exact. At least Natasha had a studded jacket on. I looked across the street towards the small clothing store wishing that I had the money to buy myself something warm.
“Why couldn’t it be? All we need to do is get a job.”
Natasha gave me a look.
“You think I haven’t tried that before?” she said. “Girl, people don’t give jobs to scum like us.”
“I’m not scum.”
She patted my cheek.
“I know. But that’s not what they think.”
“I just want a normal life. I want to have my own place. Have a stupid job that I hate,”
“I want go to work early morning on the bus. Wear clothes that I bought myself. Not my pimp asshole boyfriend.”
A car drove by and a young guy stuck out his head of the passenger seat and cat called towards us. We didn’t pay attention. We were too used to guys doing that. And we couldn’t really be offended. That was how we kept eating. Men like him.
“Speak of which, did you tell him?” Natasha asked.
“Of course not! He’d rather kill me than let me go.”
“So what are you gonna do?”
“I’m going to search for work,” I said. “And he won’t find out, he’ll think I’m out on the streets. He’s busy today.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said. “But they’d throw you out if you’re dressed like this.”
She gestured to my body.
I looked down at my outfit. A skimpy dress, my killer high heels in my hand – my bare feet hurt from standing and looking pretty the whole time. My hair was a mess because I didn’t have decent products to use, I had cheap make up on that gave me a raccoon face.
Natasha was right. I didn’t look the part.
I only looked one part. The part I was trying to get away from.
I leaned against the wall, sighing loudly.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” I said. “If I don’t get a job I’ll be stuck here forever,”
“And Sammy’s been using a lot and you know how he gets when he’s on that stuff.”
Natasha paused for a moment.
“I might be able to help.”
I met her gaze.
“Look it’s not gonna be easy for me because I’ll have to talk to someone I’d rather not,” she said. “But they’ll be able to get you fixed up with something to wear and get you ready.”
I hugged her.
“It’s fine, whatever,” Natasha said.
But I could hear the softer tone in her voice.
I knew it was hard for her to do. She’d been thrown out of her family home for using drugs and they wanted basically nothing to do with her. The only person that did was her sister but they didn’t get along. But her sister was pretty much loaded according to street standards and would definitely be able to help.
For the millionth and one time I said a thank you prayer for people like Natasha. People that knew how it felt to be an outcast.
I would finally get a job. But deep inside I knew that no matter what I’d do I’d always be a street dog.
And the world wasn’t a forgiving place for those that made mistakes.