You are in a vulnerable spot. On your own for the first time. No money to speak of.

He is watching, waiting in the wings to swoop down upon you.

You are struggling to repair necessary things with limited funds. Counting every penny. No job to speak of, but many bills to be paid. There is the doctor's office visit for Jenny's sore throat. There are the sneakers Joey needs because his feet have grown and his toes are poking through. There is the car that belches smoke every time you turn the ignition. And there is the dwindling savings account that you watch shrink day by day.

He is watching you read a book out on the porch. He waves to you as he walks by to the corner store to buy a beer

You are losing weight because you are feeding the children first. Jenny thinks you are on a diet. You smile and say "Why yes I am" while you wash the dishes by hand. You have already pawned your engagement ring. You twist the wedding band on your soapy finger, hoping Sam won't begrudge the next trip to the pawn shop. You look up to the heavens and mouth "I'm sorry".

He is watching you prune your tomato plants. He walks up the walk to introduce himself. He smiles and tips his hat as he takes his leave.

You are at the grocery store. The checkout girl is blowing her hair up in impatience. You take off the chips. They are not healthy anyway. You take off the Dr. Pepper that Jenny asked for, hoping she will have forgotten. "Now what is it?" you ask as you recount the change in your hand. "$21.42" The line of customers are irritated. You pay the bill and walk home, skipping the bus because you don't have the 75 cents and your car has belched it's last smog infested breath.

He is watching you leave the store wiping tears from your cheeks. He offers to carry your bag for you. He tells you that you look wonderful. He asks you out to dinner.

Your neighbor Mary smiles and offers to take the kids for the night. "It's about time you got on with living again" She says. You pretty yourself up and wait nervously on the porch.

He is watching you pace. He walks up the steps, grinning. He links your arm in his and brings you to the finest restaraunt. He treats you like a lady. He flashes his white smile at you-often

You eat the best meal you've seen since Sam died. You only eat half, wrapping the leftovers to bring home to the kids. You arrive there and he insists on coming in the house for coffee. The kids are not there, he points out.

He watches you move around the kitchen with hungry eyes. He comes up behind you nuzzling into your neck. He picks you up and asks where the bedroom is. "Dinner has a price" he says.

Your heart is beating fast. You are afraid but do not resist. His hand is tight about your body -insistent. You close your eyes and pretend you are not really there. You send your thoughts across the moonbeams shining cold in pale window stripes upon your face.

He is watching you lie half naked on rumpled sheets. He adjusts his pants when he is through. He throws a $100 bill onto the bedside table. He thanks you for the lovely evening and hopes you will give him the pleasure of your company next Friday night. He will not allow you to say no. "Think of the kids" he says.

You are no answers. However the fridge is fuller this week. And Jenny has her amoxicillin. You look into the mirror not noticing the vacant eyes as you apply your mascara and adjust your plaid miniskirt, the one he dropped off the day before requesting that you wear it this evening.

Tomorrow Joey will get his new sneakers.