I care, of course. I can tell, because I should be more troubled by my ruined hair. The relentless precipitation has reduced it to an ugly, wiry tangle. I spent a large chunk of my advance getting it styled. Getting it to look catalogue-standard. I didn’t figure on rain. Nor did I figure on feeling like this.

The other people in this exclusive quarter of the city care more about staying dry than important things like their futures. I see them now, shadowy shapes set against the backdrop of bright street lamps and car headlights whose reflected yellows and whites congeal in the puddles like egg yolks. Every person walking with purpose along the side-walk or dashing through the gaps in the traffic, trying to dodge both the cars and the falling drops. Shielding themselves with umbrellas, upturned collars or even by holding a newspaper over their head.

The rain makes them hurry, so they don’t notice me as I loiter here, wishing I could vomit so that the heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach would go away.

I check my watch. Again. Even though I know what time it is. I stop twiddling the ring on my finger and put more of my cherry lipstick on.

No amount of lipstick will make me feel beautiful tonight. Not when I know what I’m going to do. I don’t think I’ll ever feel beautiful again.

An icy blast of late evening air sweeps along the street, passing me by like so many of life‘s opportunities. I bury my hands deep into the pockets of my overcoat and draw my arms in tightly as I shiver, but it is my thoughts that chill me. The thoughts that after tonight, it will get easier. I won’t care as much, so it won’t scare me like this again. Perhaps it’s the thought of reaching that point, the point where I don’t care at all, that terrifies me the most. I won’t be the same person any more. I’ll have changed. I’ll have the money I need, but I’ll have lost my values. Lost myself.

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