Going out and walking around was a start. She smelled a barbeque and the rejected cans of baked beans and grease that were left strewn in garbage cans and on the pavement for the cats to lick at. Next she saw the strong lips and the waltzing hands of the boy that she loved, who rode his bike all around the town. He was wearing cutoffs like her own and he looked at her without a smile, so that her smile immediately left her mouth. It was alright, however, because his lack of a smile meant that his wanting stayed in the eyes. Almost imperceptibly, her pace quickened, and her hands grew damp so that she hurriedly wiped them on her hips.
She then saw a child sitting on the curb with his finger in his mouth. She could see that he was biting on, and not sucking his thumb, and sat down beside him and looked at him. He looked at her also, waiting.
He nodded. “It gets worse. I can’t look at her today. I spilled her drink and she licked it from the sofa cushion,” he shivered, wrapping his thin arms around the tops of his shoulders, bird skeleton. “We are all animals.”
She looked at the ground, thinking of the smells and the hungry boy. “I’d become an animal if it meant not loving people and dying quick.” She felt sadder than ever.
The little boy shook his head, tears moving slowly. “I wouldn’t. Better to live in pain than be numb, dumb animals. I’m an animal, but I feel so much that I want to die most of the time. But at least feeling is something she can’t take away, long as I stay awake.” He stood up and began to walk away from her, down the street. He swayed softly and sang through clenched teeth, “beauty beauty, look at me. I stayed this way for you to touch me. Beauty’s gonna kill me, but I’ll help you every time.” The girl remained where she was and the sounds around her became the screeching chorus, echoing among the sudden and brutal hilltops that encircled the valley she inhabited.