Her lips were wrapped around a hot pink popsicle when I first saw her across the street. She was sitting on a bench, watching the people move past with a detached sort of interest.
She had long, black nails and one thin band of gold around her thumb. She was not beautiful. Her hair was limp and she had a nose that took up half her face and big purple bruises under her eyes.
I looked away and got on a bus heading to a destination I didn't know. It was leaving and that was good enough. I forgot her face fifteen minutes later.
The next time I saw her she was swinging a shopping bag as she swayed down the street with confident feet, like she was untouchable by the dirt around her. She looked familiar, but only faintly.
Her tall tall tall red heels snapped against the ground like a war cry and the bright red lipstick she wore, her banner. I felt faded as I watched her, like she was the only real thing for miles.
This time it was a car I got into. Not mine, a man's, heavy with smoke and sweat. I got in, as it was going my direction, which is to say it was leaving. It took longer for her features to fade.
The third time I saw her she was standing in the woods. She was wearing the gentle peach of the summer and she was looking at me. I looked back, straight into her violent eyes.
She was standing like she was the most dangerous thing in the forest and I was grateful as the car I was in sped by. My heart was pounding and my fingers clenched white around my backpack.
She was something like brilliant against the dark, glowing hot like an angel. Like the devil. Were those her horns or wings I saw out of the corner of my eye? Either way she was my ending.
The fourth time I saw her she was crouched down in the middle of my motel floor. She looked wild and how could I have ever thought she wasn't beautiful.
Her ring gleamed and her teeth were white as she bared them in a grin. Her will was almost as bright as the glint off her knife. She sounded like a revelation, like a revolution when she spoke.
"Good morning," she said and she smiled and smiled and sm-