In the case of most, you're only as pretty as you make yourself up to be; this is why they look to you, always to you.

Your black salsa skirt twirls shamelessly around legs too brown and supple for a child your age. Your figure, one haughty curve of your spine, is plumped by the subtle effect of your now forbidden high heels. A sweet face betrays you, spoiled by your sass and brat-like behavior which takes effect when we are alone and your charm corrodes like salt.

It would be desperately unfair to the women milling about around you to call you beautiful. Unfair, as they steer their husbands and boyfriends away from your 9-year-old allure; unfair that you possess a pre-pubescent sexiness while some of them can cop to none at all. Unfair, yes, most unfair are you selfish brown eyes, latina doll face, and long lashes, beautiful despite lack of makeup. Their reactions towards you are definite whichever way the arrow flies: they either love you or hate you, young teenage fays setting aside their jealously for the awe that inspired it in the first place, or keeping it for fear of giving you your mile. And the crones, yes, the old bags of worn leather: the fact that your attire is improperly mature sends hell-hate glares your way; or, you may be cute, young girl playing dress up and charading as a fine lady.

I, on the other crippled hand, may be the most poorly dressed person present among both the male and female audiences. For the most part, I don't care the way my XL "STANFORD" shirt and baggy pants make my curves disappear into boyishness, a single stud in my left ear. My total lack of glamour is too intense for me to be so much as a wall-flower. As I chafe your careless sufism, the saggy-cheeked crones who were preoccupied with you now turn reproachful gazes upon me, blatantly wondering why I look like I just came in off the street. I got a similar look in the ladies' room from one woman who momentarily but quite clearly thought me a boy. "What business have you here?" said her smeared eyes.

I looked back defiantly, and tipped my head just so, a strand of long golden hair crawling across my shoulder, suddenly bringing out the softer features of my face. She saw this and looked away, even more disgusted that I could be female under all my scraggly, uncombed makeuplessness. That would never happen to you; you are a walking uterus, one that wears high school fashions and pretends to dance tango; the feminine forms of your face could not be clouded by any amount of dirt or grime because this filth is your own and defines your gender as much as your mouth or legs. You could be a Lolita in the making; daddy dearest ignores your deviousness and instead tells me to stand watch over you and fend off the men with complexes dazzling in their eyes. You tempt them and know it not.

I contemplate often the thought of some man, ugly and oily (lacking any of the qualities I find attractive in an older man so as not to make myself jealous) hunched over with beer-breath, grabbing you and running. Your screams would mingle with father's; I stand still in a corner. I saw him coming all the way from the other end of the hall and refused to save you, failed to care for your security or innocence. Imagine, will you, how quiet life would be, how mother would cling to me and brother would give me ice cream cold stares, knowing without knowing it was my fault you were taken.

And then, horror of horrors, to think of you surviving. That you suffered more than me, and lived to tell the tale; you would become renowned for your courageousness and I would settle in your dust. No. I shall not allow it. My glory prevail. . . .

I keep watch.