Josie was the mystery and Marianne was the moth. Although some days it was the other way around. They were probably married long before they were born, twins from different mothers for whom independence was punishment and alone was a myth.

The Goodwill fell into their laps like a big juicy apple. They weren't the sort of girls to notice they were lost, their only point of reference being the other's hand, held tight in their own as the world turned around it. One day their rehab facility tired of looking after them and released them into the benevolent arms of the Goodwill's job training program.

Of course, you can bring a girl to reality, but you can't make her drink. Josie still wore her tuxedo and Marianne her tutu.

They were lucky to be rich girls. Had their souls lodged in the seeds of some itchy trailer children, their kite strings would have been cut short long before. That they reached the Goodwill together was testament to the wings that money buys.

They were happy workers and well liked by the customers. Occasional shoppers measured their daily costumes as incongruous whimsy and it soothed lives woven together from food stamps and secondhand sweat pants. They deserved to be Employee of the Month if any two girls did.

Their stories weren't in any book I ever read, and I was as surprised as anyone when Marianne appeared alone one day, tutu drooping, adrift in her own personal space. Josie's father had arrived in a big white limo and offered Josie a choice Marianne wouldn't have made.

Probably right now she has a sweater tied around her shoulders. Probably she is sippy fancy fizzy water and a blond boy is calling her Jo-Jo.

We watched as Marianne wilted down to a pair of wet black eyes. Josie was fired, of course, because you have to come to work.

And if we ever get a picture for Employee of the Month, it will be someone else pressed beneath the glass. Not because they flew away, but because they are flattened down so small they would fall right out of the frame, crushed by some destiny that probably pursued them for leagues before they were the best employees this Goodwill ever knew.

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