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The awkward hours between evening and late night are reserved for prowling. Any earlier, and she's exiled; any later and she's annexed. But it is now, amid the hustle of the 10 o'clock crowd that she is free to dart at the edges. She slides in and out of society the way a cat moves around corners, so sure of herself but not without caution.

Tonight she's worn black leather. It rained earlier. The shimmer of the streets matches the gloss of her boots. Her elongated stride, confident enough to be noticeable but casual enough to be forgotten. She is like oil on these slick New York sidewalks, gliding just above the surface.

A woman carrying a bag of groceries. One glance, and she drops her bag. Dropping her bag stops a man, about to score some coke, and delays him twenty minutes while he helps her collect her things. He'll try to rush off, but she's chatty and lonely. He will not discover that her accident saved him from untimely death at the hands of a tweaked-up junkie.

A mother with two children, rushing them to the subway feels one lonely chill. She is reminded of an autumn evening, long ago, when she ran away from home. She resolves to call her estranged mother that evening, because life is short.

Father smiles at an elderly couple, who don't know he's fondeled their grandson after Mass. One scowl, and the grandmother has seeds of doubt at the back of her mind, sprouting quickly into vines of resolve. She'll call her daughter when she gets home; just to make sure everything is okay.

Tourists reading a map, unaware of the dark, lovely creature smirking at them. With just that one smile, they're about to be mugged and stranded in a strange city.

One brush past a vendor reading a magazine, who will now be pregnant within the week. This is the street; it is pulsing. It is alive in ways she is not.

She is made to fade, able to pass in and out of people's lives without the slightest hint of recognition. There are days when she envies those who can sit back and enjoy? the ride. But for the most part, she loves her work and the anonymity of it all.

Everyone knows her name, has felt her touch. She is global, not local. She is without restriction; she is ubiquity. She is walking with purpose down slick black streets, heels clacking methodically along the pavement. She is looking for you. She will find you.

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