When I get old I want to be burnout classy.

Not a retired hooker or a wrinkling debutante or a too-frivolous gold digger, but a woman who has seen the best and worst and let nothing show. To have played every role, been worshipped and doted on, pulled my weight across the street and nicely whored myself a place to sleep. A woman who could not live in a place, half a ghost, fully an enigma, who pawned her objects and ran out, leaving the memories. A woman whose children, now someone else's, will never call, whose past loves will let her take the vanilla wives' places in fantasy, still. After all these years. To have survived, to have been triumphant and downtrodden and decadent and bored. A muse, silent, storing inside of me more truth than anyone has read or seen.

A Madonna in blood red and leopard print, mascara thick as grout on black pitchfork eyelashes, dry mouth stained, hair, nails oblivious. To smoke imported cigarettes from a flat box and tap the ashes. Impossible to imagine with a beer or a glass of wine, hard liquor for a hard life.

People look at pain and coals in the eys of a girl and feel pity, but seen in the eyes of a woman, recognize it as wisdom. I want to have known. Everything. To be a seductress and teacher at fifty, playing kitten as I growl, every one a first. And I will sit at the end of the bar, shadow clouded, order my drinks in a husky whisper, eloquent but succinct. And my secrets will be mine to hoard and hide, until I slip from underneath a streetlight and no one sees me go.

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