"Whaddya wan for your birthday, princess?"
It was a stupid question. My drunk mama always asks stupid questions. Poor girls who wear clothes somebody else got as hand-me-downs and eat generic potted meat and week-old bread from the week-old bread store don't have no choice about what they get for their birthdays 'cause they don't get nothing. Mama asked me so I'd know she'd remembered that I was even born. Heck, I could have told her I wanted all of Fort Knox. She wouldn'ta remembered and it wouldn'ta mattered anyway.
"A pony, mama. I want a pony." I say that every year, although it's been since the first time I said it that I actually meant it. I'm a real quick learner.
She winced as though I had told her I hated her. I winced too because I did hate her, but not enough to let her know it. My big toe poked out of my tenny shoe, so I started to pick at the nail and give her some time to fix the hurt. And when I looked up, she had put on her best fake smile.
"A pony? Well, if you want a pony, then a pony's what you get." She slurred her words. Poor girls with drunk mamas and a couple of crazy step-daddies serving lifetimes in prison definitely don't get ponies.
"I gotta do my homework," I lied and walked out, letting the screen door slam behind me.
Ponies were for princesses, and I aint never been, and I aint never gonna be a princess. If I had a pony, then I'd prolly wear pink and my pony'd prolly have matching ribbons and my daddy'd prolly work at the bank, which wouldn't be so bad 'cause it'd mean I knew who the sorry sumpin was.
Ponies belonging to princesses get all gussied up with fittins that cost more than most people in this one-horse getup make. And they, ponies and princesses, don't get dirty. Neither of em don't do any real livin' until the princesses get tired of 'em and then they're put out to pasture where they finally get to be mean 'cause they hated they pansy princess, and they really hated all that pink and prancin'.
What I've seen, princesses don't even let 'em prance in the dirt. They just keep 'em on the sidewalks where simple folk stroll along dodgin' the crap they gotta try and stomach.
Well, later this afternoon, when I blow out the last year's candle stuck in this year's stale honey bun that my drunken mama bought special when she was in town last week at the week-old bread store, the only wish I'm gonna make is for her to shut off her sorry-faucet and stop sobbin', 'cause it don't matter if I get a stupid pony for my birthday. I aint no princess. And if I aint a princess, then I don't need one anyway.