10 feet away: Three o’clock in the afternoon and she looked like she’d just rolled out of bed in some low-rent flophouse after a night of drinking.

8 feet away: Shit, what’s she wearing? That’s a slip for christ’s sake! And the way her tits are hanging down… get a bra, woman! Three o’clock and she’s just rolled out of bed wearing nothing but a slip. She’s probably still drunk, look at her stumbling down the street.

6 feet away: Jesus, that woman looks — used, my brothers would have said once. She’s what, 5’10”, 5’11”, nobody’s idea of pretty, too mannish, even on her best day. Anywhere from 30-50, you can’t tell when they live as rough as this one obviously does. Hair butch-short. But wearing makeup — even though it’s smeared all over her face. As if she fell, fully made up, face-first into a pillow. And then put the pillow over her head.

4 feet away: Look at her lurching down the sidewalk. OK, OK, she’s lost the heel on one of her shoes. That explains the gait. The mascara has tracked down her cheek as if she was crying. Must be a maudlin drunk, I can smell it on her from here.

2 feet away: I hope she doesn’t look at me. Beg for change. No worries. She’s not meeting anyone’s eye. Strange. She has this aura of dignity around her, walking down a busy downtown street at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, wearing nothing but a (slip? negligee?) and a pair of strappy sandals, one heel broken. No purse, no nothing, makeup smudged and smeared, smelling like the morning after. But head held high, proud. Resolute. Stumbling and drunk but proud and resolute, despite the stares and whispers and laughter.

2 feet past: There was shit! a line of shit! like a skidmark down the back of her slip as if she’d wiped herself with it. That’s just gross. Maybe she’s homeless and she’s sleeping rough, but that’s just disgusting. I mean, there’s always newspaper, or leaves, am I right? Someone should call the cops, get her cleaned up. Look at those kids, pointing.

20 feet past: Was she just drunk? Still drunk?

30 feet past: Maybe she’d been attacked and robbed. Maybe she was raped and is in shock.

too far: I should have asked. Jesus, someone should have asked.

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