First time you came, I thought you were one of The Forgotten. Like, maybe you were the one whose mink I got caught trying to boost. Or I might’ve seen your engagement ring on the rim of a sink, snatched it and dipped before the first distraught tear made its way to your chin.
I saw you as you walked up, hands deep in the pockets of your belted wool coat. Hair well past your shoulders-real and blown back by the wind. Your glances were furtive, but not contemptuous. That’s how I knew you were coming to ask after someone you cared about. Maybe your daddy, probably your mama.
We didn’t get too many folks looking to help their daddies at The Bottom. But then you got closer and I saw your imperceptible eyes, the irises black and brilliant, the irises bottomless. I took note of your nail beds: baby-lotion pink, the cuticles healthy, if overgrown. The open-pored patches of skin to the left and right of your nose’s bridge were shaped like butterfly wings.
“You should exfoliate,” was the first thing I ever said to you, and you frowned. But I respected that you were frowning at me and not my digs. That frown would’ve been no different if you’d been insulted by a girl from Hampton, rather than by an addict living on the edge of the park off Division and Wealthy.
Your lips were painted crimson and crumpled. They reminded me of a construction-paper Valentine. I thought of third grade and the glittered doily heart I shoved into Bobby Bingham’s cubby.
And that was when I realized you were here for Devereaux. You were here to find out how he died.