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I've been told that I have a complex.

I think about that this evening as I zip up the sanguine red dress that I keep hidden in the back of my closet. It's the dress with the dangerously low neckline in the front, the one that suggestively plunges to reveal the skin all the way down to my belly button. It's held in place with a gold chain. Still, I have to wear pasties to keep from popping out although there's nothing to 'pop out', really.

"You guys think too much," That's what I always tell them because they do think too much. What I do or not do in my spare time is absolutely none of their business.

The door slams shut behind me. The sound of my stilettos click clacking against the old linoleum of my apartment complex echoes eerily. Loose tendrils of straightened almost black hair free themselves from the high unruly bun atop my head. I pass by a mirror and see a stranger: a woman with black plum lips, black rimmed eyes, golden bangles, and skin the color of roasted chestnut shells.

My cab awaits.  The driver drums his brown fat dirty fingers against the steering wheel. Sirens from a nearby police car zoning in on a drug transaction, glass shattering from the revenge of a wounded lover, curses from a dissatisfied husband, and joyful shouting from a group of teens grace the night like an urban orchestra.

"How can we help you?" They ask, because I must have a problem.

"Dover street please?" I shout over the Tejano music blaring from the satellite radio and wrap my hand around my clutch bag.

"By leaving me alone."

They worry about me, but I don't think there's anything to worry about. So what if I pretend to be someone else when day falls away? Don't they pretend to be other people every single day of the year? Every hour? Every minute? Every second?

At least I do mine for fun, for release. They can't take that away from me.

I drink in the scene outside the window as the minutes pass by. Black globs of trees, and scanty ribbons of light from the street lamps evoke a genuine smile. I fan my fingers against the cold glass, press the balls of my fingers against it to feel the contact. I've always loved the way the world looks when it's dark...so mystical...darkly ethereal.

Soon, the cab halts to a stop in front of the most magnificent mansion I've ever seen. It's nothing like the house I crashed last month. Last months was a social for a charity event. This one is much bigger. I can nearly smell the money. I know without a doubt that it's elite and teeming with socialites.

"I do it for fun."

I thank my driver and tip him as best as I can, but it's not enough to get more than a grunt. I get out and fix my dress, feel the hot smoke from the passing cab hit my legs as I think about what my friends say and what I think.

I do...I do pretend.

 I pretend to be this high class woman, contrary to my choice of attire. For a night I am Lydia Claire, the mysterious woman in the red, the socialite no one knows about, the woman hidden behind a flute of white wine and red lips.

I'm a liar.

So what.

What are you?


And yet...I never do like these things as much as I claim to. No one hardly ever speaks to me, and if they do, I always manage to feign being tired and slip away. It's one thing to pretend to be a shy wealthy socialite...but to actually prove it?

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