Benjamin Blake

The Waif

A quiet night
Already retired for the evening
When an anguished cry
Sounded outside

Flashlight in hand
I ventured onto the front porch
Pausing, while silence rang out around me
I was about to go back inside
When the sobbing started back up again

I found her alone
Hugging torn-stockinged legs
With skinny arms
Mascara running from fearful eyes
And painted mouth smeared

I sunk to my haunches
And a placed a hand on her back
She whispered a plea
For a ride to her mother’s house

The car was backed out the driveway
I told her at least she wasn’t blacking out
As I handed her a cigarette

She ducked from oncoming headlights
As I steered through the almost-empty streets
We parked and smoked
Until the windshield fogged
And we held eachother close
For not nearly long enough

She said she may be back
To bang on the window glass
And I said it was okay
My bed was right there

I did as was asked
And watched in the rearview mirror
As she ran disheveled up the street
Disappearing into a yard a few houses up
I started the engine, swung the car around
And headed for home
A strange feeling brewing
In the pit of my stomach

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