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She shivered pulling her tattered blanket in closer to help shield her from the unforgiving wind. Her heart sank when she saw flakes of snow beginning to fall. It was only October. She should have left Boston when she had the chance. The wind howled letting out the same pathetic cries she was trying to keep locked inside.
She scratched at her arm and shook once more, but not from the cold. She leaned up against a frozen building as a wave of weakness came over her. It had been two days since she last had anything to sustain her and her skin and bones were beginning to ache. She scratched at her arm again as she shifted her gaze to the ground avoiding the eyes of those who walked by her.
It didn’t matter anyways; everyone just pretended she didn’t exist. She heard the couple huddled close together for warmth laugh soon after they passed. Probably from some remark about her. She gave a deep raspy cough that sent her whole body into spasms.
The wind picked up again as it forced its way between the buildings. She decided to find a better place to shelter her from it.
As she clumsily moved along the buildings, her mind wandered back to when she was a young girl, sick. She remembered her mother’s cool, soft hand on her forehead gently checking for fever. She remembered the brothy, warm soups she fed her and the tender kisses she would plant on her cheeks.
She blinked away the memory and the pain it brought with it. How she wished her mother was around to press her soft hands on her forehead. She shivered and coughed again sending her body into painful spasms. Her head began to throb as she tried to remember the last time she saw her mother. HOw mature and ready to face the world she thought she was at sixteen. Always bickering and picking fights with her father while her mother tried to mediate. Her mother was always the peacemaker between her and her father who had never cared enough to try to understand her. It only got worse when her mother died. She tried not to think about her mother’s mangled body but her brain was so clouded it was hard to concentrate. The sight of her mother bloodied and broken beside her in the car was an image she could never forget though she never stopped trying. “She was picking me up from a party.” The old thought always accompanied the memory of her mother’s death. “It was all my fault.”
Pot was only recreational before the accident; something to do on the weekends with her friends. Before long she was doing it before, during and after school. But it wasn’t enough. Alcohol was stronger, but when she sobered up the pain somehow always seemed worse than it was before.
A year and a half after the accident was when she finally discovered heroine. She barely remembered graduation through the haze of drunken highness stumbling across the stage like a fool. It was amazing she didn’t fall down the stairs.
It was even more amazing that no one seemed to notice or care enough to ask why she was slipping. All of her friends just distanced themselves from her and her father was barely home to notice. She used be a straight-A student.
She hugged herself tightly as a wave of nausea enveloped her and she braced herself against a building for support as she wretched the contents of her empty stomach onto the pavement.
She needed a fix soon.
She shakily dug into her pockets to find them as empty as she feared. Her dealer already told her he wasn’t going to accept anything else for payment this time. Her body was no longer currency. He had already given her too many breaks.
She gasped in frigid air as her stomach cramped. She had to keep moving. She looked down at the other vagrants, like her, huddled on grates for warmth in sad jealousy. She scanned the area and found a spot next to a man that had just enough space for her to warm herself. She treaded softly not wanting to wake the sleeping man and sat on the other half of his cardboard box he placed over the grate.
Immediately the warmth soothed her achy body and she was grateful. She leaned back against the building and closed her drooping eyes. But she was not comfortable long before her coughing woke the man up. He yelled and grumbled at her for taking up his space. Startled, she lost her balance and fell on her hands and knees crawling away as the man yelled and threw what he could at her.
As she crawled away she felt a sharp pain in her head. She pressed her hand to her head and felt warm, sticky blood beginning to trickle out where the bottle, now shattered on the ground, hit her.
In a daze she somehow found a nook in a building to shield her from the harsh wind that wasn’t taken. She pressed her back against the corner and slid to the ground. She wanted to cry, but was out of strength. Her body ached and convulsed from the cold and withdrawal.
She wanted her mother.
She finally fell into a restless, feverish sleep littered with flashes from her past. Arguments with her father, run-ins with the police, the things she did for a fix, her father’s final abandonment.
She was alone.
The wind howled and the snow fell through the night as she shivered in her delirium. There was no one to hold her or tell her everything will be okay. There was no one to whisper words of love or encouragement in her ear and there was no one to remember her in the end.
The streets of Boston bustled with people in the morning snow. People laughed and loved all the while ignoring the frozen, lifeless form of a nobody.
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