I found you in the newspaper on page 33, but sometimes, your sweet innocence annoys me like hell. But then I understand, how your life has become what it is, a worthless degree in a murky recession.

You stayed over for three nights, and told me how your father drank in derelict rooms on the upper east side. And how your mother worked so hard, and why you needed a good job. Three nights, and we spoke until all hours, and bathed and giggled and I paid you nothing compared to what you are worth.

And we ate, and you kissed me in my slumber, and told me that I was a kind man, when you thought I was asleep. But your innocence annoys me. You take a call from a customer while I grate the cheese and peel the potatoes. The lamb has two hours, and you tell me you’ll be back in time for dinner, and then you button your coat.

And I write this story, while you take care of business. And then you arrive and kiss me gently, and I smell him, and you bath and we eat again. And I never expected to miss you as much as I did when you went away.

two hundred dollars,
Layla, not your real name,
Emma from Detroit.