Kneeling before Him...
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Friday, November 19, 2004
I have written a short story about this girl before and today I just wanted to add a little more. At the time that I wrote the first, some people said that they wanted to know more about her, more about what had led her to the place she ended up. It was also suggested that I degraded her. At the time, I wanted to write more, but I didn't want it to be a reaction to what was said.
I have no reason to degrade this girl. In truth, I believe she could be any one of us. She could be me. I could have made the choices that led to her life. I was lucky that I gave up control to mostly the right people and I had the right people influencing me.
I know there are prostitutes who are living pretty well off. I know there are some who are intelligent and articulate and they pick and choose their clientele. I know there are girls that work in nice clean brothels and have people that look after them, make sure they are not hurt and are treated with respect. This is not about these women. This is about the ones that have no voice, the ones that live their lives on the street. I don't imagine it is anything the same for them. I imagine life is as hard as hell.
I don't pretend to have any secret knowledge of how these women live and what type of life it is. I can only say what comes of my imaginings on seeing them walk the streets and the thing that strikes me most often is that if we were to swap clothes and make-up, so very many of them could be me. They didn't come from different places and they didn't have different upbringings.
So here it is...
She sat in the gutter and pretended that she couldn't smell the faint odour of vomit that lingered there. She pretended that she couldn't taste the bile rising in her throat. She had become very good at make-believe. Her arm was bleeding freely now. She had given up trying to hold the wound closed. That bastard had cut her deep and wide. He had done his mischief well. It still pissed her off that he had gotten off for free.
Blood dribbled from the cut unnoticed by her, but it did not escape the attention of passers by. They did nothing to assist her, just glanced at her in horror before quickening their steps to get away. She watched them intently, all the people that seemed to be afraid that looking at her would give them some disease. The urge to laugh at them all filled her then died away before it ever made it to her lips. She just didn't have the energy. How could they think they were so different to her?
A part of her wanted to scream at them that they were just like her. She had started her life so very much the same. She had attended the same schools and been to the same parties and she had sometimes even worn ribbons in her hair. She had been smart enough to get good grades and pretty enough for the boys to pay her attention. She had saved her virginity for the boy that she loved and adored. He had taken it from her with care. Her parents had not loved her too little or too much, they were just a generation older and she couldn't talk to them because they didn't understand her, how could they when they were so grown up? She hung out with people they did not know and they gave her pot and slipped her pills and told her it was something everyone tried.
She couldn't remember how it had happened that the pills became so important to her. She just knew that she needed them each day. The lines of coke all blurred into one and the needles started to collapse some of her veins.
She had stopped going home. It had become a burden to her to remember that her parents were there. She slept with men, at first for food and shelter and drugs, but the line was so close that soon she was screwing them for money to make ends meet, though the ends never quite made it that far. She hadn't had a place to sleep for days.
Through the short years of her life she had collected and discarded people much the same way as they had now all discarded her. If they required cost or effort, they had been too hard to maintain. She didn't mind that men used her cunt, her mouth or her ass for whatever they desired, so long as they gave her enough to get high. Even now it was all she wanted to do.
She felt her head spinning and it made the bile taste grow thick. She swallowed and was surprised to find her throat dry. She tried to focus on the storefront but the lights made her eyes hurt so she stared into the darkness beside the shop wall and waited for her eyes to adjust. When they had, she almost screamed.
There in the shadows looking back at her were a pair of eyes as dead as she knew her own to be. She had looked into a mirror a few months ago and had been horrified at what she had seen. She had gotten so very old. There had been too much happen to her on the streets and each one of the scars had shown. Her eyes had been so lifeless, so very openly empty that she had been forced to turn away. She had not looked in a mirror since then. Some things were just better not seen.
But now those eyes were in the darkness staring back at her. Once again she had to hold back the scream. She felt the world spin faster and the edges grow black and suddenly this was not a place that she wanted to be. She tried to rise, but fell back onto the gutter, aware that all the time the eyes kept watch on her. She asked the nearest man for help but in terror, he flew away.
She wanted to yell at them, all of them that kept running from her, that she could be their sister, their daughter, their love. She had made her choices different and that was all that separated her from them. She wanted to make them understand that life is that fragile a web but she knew they couldn't see it, wouldn't allow themselves too. They needed their blissful walls of ignorance to keep their innocence intact. She let them keep their blinkers on.
She knew now that those eyes belonged to the devil. They must because so long ago she had sold her soul. She knew now that her time had come and she wasn't sad, she was resigned to this as her fate. She just wished it would move along. Her stomach gave a lurch but there was nothing to throw up, the world blackened even further, the spinning now so fast that she was sure her brain was on a ride all of it's own. Her head hit the footpath with a dull thud.
The people hurried by more quickly now, not wanting to be a party to anything that had to do with blood and within a minute word had spread and the path was clear. The only occupant was the unconscious girl, her side glittering bright red and her skirt ridden up around her hips.
And from the shadows there came a pair of greasy dirty hands rubbing into each other a years worth of grime. A filthy shape shuffled across the concrete and knelt down beside the woman, almost in reverence to her. His dead eyes travelled over her body and his hands reached out and gently pulled her skirt down to cover her. He smoothed her hair and softly kissed her cheek. Perhaps just for a moment he considered himself her prince. She did not stir.
He stood quickly as if he remembered some place he was supposed to be. Then he reached down and grasped her purse, wrenching it from her shoulder, bruising her as the cheap chain it had hung from broke free. From somewhere deep inside her came a moan.
'Whore,' he rasped and spat on her and quickly disappeared.
It was a long time before an ambulance came.