A Slice of Fiction: Better Days

“Her”

            Had there been better days? She thought there must have been. She remembered hating how the dirt piled under her fingernails. Oh, how those creeping black crescents of grime had bothered her. She would gnaw her fingernails down to the bleeding quick to keep that from happening. She remembered starting awake at noises in the night; the shrill scream of a train going by in the long tunnels was especially bad. She knew the bugs scuttling over you when you pulled the trash over to keep you safe; or to keep you warm when the rivers froze. She didn’t know the smell, not anymore. She could remember how it had once offended her. The organic smell of bodies pressed too close together, of greasy food covered in mustard. It was the smell of wine, cheap cigarettes and vomit. It was a smell that settled on your skin and into your pores after awhile.

That odor had gotten her in trouble, more than once. Because she couldn’t tell anymore, she forgot that it was foul to others. She would go into a place, wanting to get warm or buy food.  As she wandered the aisles, blissed on the heat, she would forget to watch for the dog-crinkle on someone’s face. She’d had to scramble from stores on a few occasions, with a yelling employee chasing, because of that clingy smell.  

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