As you pass by the gravesites scattered throughout the city you may encounter her, a girl whose maroon velvet dress barely covers her, a girl who lingers near the burial mounds. Please don’t stop if she approaches you, and don’t look back once she’s passed you by. If your eye should be drawn to the flesh showing between the folds of that torn, soiled dress, or drawn to something resembling a wound, walk away with downcast eyes as if you hadn’t seen a thing. But if you’re a man in your twenties with the piercing gaze that sometimes accompanies that age, she will follow you, her long, stringy, dusty hair crowned with a withered garland; perhaps she will look at you with eyes that have lost their focus, smile at you with a smile more crimson than the flowers in her hair. And when in spite of herself she pulls at your jacket or elbow and draws close to you like a magnet, please be as gentle as possible when you remove her hand. You need not be afraid of her, you need not threaten her and rush off. All you have to do is look into her face for a moment and show some interest. We know you’re busy, but if you can spare a few minutes, you might just gently stroke her cheeks with their smudges of face powder and chaos of purple lipstick. Please don’t raise your voice, and when she reaches for you with dirty fingers try not to make fun of her or curse her. Don’t be quick to sympathize with this wasted girl who longs to escape the shadows for the sunlight, and if she retreats from your indifference or from a smile or gesture you may have let slip, don’t spit on her footprints as if she were bad luck–even if she blocks your path for a moment, even if you feel a blind urge to escape your predicament by assaulting her, knocking her down, stomping on her, strangling her, disposing of her without a trace. Because even if you do all of this, many other girls will notice a young man like you. Traumatized and deranged, they will follow you crying “Brother!”