Ugly

Her hair is cropped close to her scalp, but you still see lice crawling like living dandruff through the darkness. She sits crouched on the concrete, surrounded by other women in a variety of poses. None of them are listening. Her face crumples as the childish wail surfaces again. Her thick lips open, revealing dirty teeth and spit. She is ugly.

I push past the thought, taking her hand in mine. I search her eyes; she can’t comprehend mine. The sound subsides and I pray for peace. Her eyes are dark. She is cut off from the world, lost and alone in the suffocating expanse of her mind. I pray for light.

Her lips move in an attempt at speech, but it falls apart again into the thin scream that is her only communication.