Early To Rise

The next day Sarita was back at her corner bright and early. There were many men who would stop to see her on their way into work. Most were married. She almost never had an unmarried client before lunch hour. She didn’t know why, although she often wondered.

She also didn’t know why the wondering gave her a lump in her throat. She hadn’t cried since she was seven and her father was killed at Siachen, but lately every time she reflected on her morning appointments she had to fight to maintain her hard-earned stoicism.

Maybe, she thought. Maybe I won’t come back tomorrow.

But she’d be back. She always was, like her neighbor Mr. Sandrir and her married clients. She was a part of Mumbai, as indelible as the skyscrapers downtown or the dirt of her yard.

She won the battle for stoicism and was smirking in triumph to herself when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She transformed the smirk to a smile and turned around.

Mr. Sandrir. Vague hunger again behind his dim eyes.

“I must speak with you.”

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