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She only uses her Burt’s Bees lip balm in public. In private, she uses the strawberry Chapstick they sell at gas stations next to the 99 cent lighters. The menthol in the Burt’s Bees leaves a tingle -- it reminds her to pout her lips; to make subtle use of her tongue to moisten them.

She looks at people as though she has a right to know them. She swallows them up. Sucks on the bones. Slides her mind gently inside them, deep until she hits a wall. And then she sits there, curled up against the softest parts of them.

She prefers to wear her hair down, around her shoulders; the way it was when she was a kid. Were it not for those child-bearing hips, she’d still look like a 12-year-old tomboy.

She gets hit on by men her father’s age. Men whose eyes say, “You remind me of my daughter.” And then, “How much for a blow job?”

Most days she spends alone, walking. Walking to coffee shops she hates, movie theaters she doesn’t attend, past homes she hates herself for envying. She walks because she wants to be humble and because she’s not.

They tell her she would like Proust. The girl she's been trying to sleep with hands her a look that she can wear for the rest of the night and get in anywhere.

"You should smile more," They say.

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