by J.D. Wills
I was 13 years old when I first had sex for money.
You don’t forget the first time. At least that’s what people say. Although, I don’t think people who say that have ever experienced what they would call the commercial aspect of sex.
Most people would probably tell you the first time is a beautiful experience, but most people don’t turn tricks for a living. No, they would say you’re supposed to give your flower to a worthy suitor, whatever that means.
I’ve had a lot of dates with men in this tiny room in which I dwell – I know dwell is an old-fashioned word but I have to use it because I don’t live here. This is not living – and I wouldn’t say any of them qualify as a worthy suitor. And my flower? Are you serious? My flower, if I ever had one, is long gone.
Giving my flower away. What a stupid saying. Like I get to choose who gets what from me. I’m not sure if I gave up anything on that first night, or the many nights after, but I distinctly remember something being taken from me.
Why do men think they can take what they want? Look, I’m not new here. I’m sixteen now, and I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m not the same thirteen-year old I once was and while I may have lost my “innocence,” I have gained something new in its place.
I understand what makes men move. The desire for power, control, dominance. It’s the same in all of them, even the nice ones. They want to own you.
People think prostitution is a purely physical profession. People know nothing of the world in which I live. Very little of what I do is physical.
Yeah, I promise my tricks a certain experience, but we both know our physical actions are a small part of the transaction. They give me paper money, and in exchange I give them something they mistake for their manhood. But these creatures aren’t men. Whatever it was they once had that made them men was lost a long time ago, and that is not something they will ever get back from me.
As they steal who I am they lose who they are.
It’s easy for me to look at my life and hate my circumstances. I should hate the men I deal with every day. I should hate the dirt floor I sleep on at night. I should hate not knowing where my next meal is going to come from. But those things don’t bother me anymore.
No, I hate mirrors. More than anything else in the world I hate seeing my reflection. I hate looking at my body and seeing something completely detached from its own soul. I hate looking at my eyes and seeing nothing but deadness. I hate seeing a human being completely void of feeling and emotion.
I hate myself.
I want to end it, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough. I wouldn’t be the first working girl to do so. Most of the other girls here have scars on their wrists from trying.
I wonder what it’s like to have a physical reminder of my hurt. We may all share the same feelings, or lack of , but they alone share the marks. I envy their scars because I wish my pain was visible, but it’s not. It’s hidden and I have no intentions of looking in a mirror long enough to find it. Although, a mirror wouldn’t show my scars.
That’s why I stole this knife. That’s why it must be sharper.
The sound of the blade against the stone is harsh and cruel. I wonder what the sound will be of the blade against my flesh. Soft and calm.
My scars are on my soul, and no one knows they are there but me. Me and maybe God.
Do you think there is a God? I don’t know if I believe in God or not, but I think about him sometimes. Whenever I think about my soul I think about God because souls only really matter if there is a God who created them and who cares about them. At least, I think that’s true.
I doubt there’s a God. If God existed, he would care about the scars on my soul, but he doesn’t care. No one does.
I once was with a trick who had a cross tattooed on his chest, and on the cross it said, “God loves you.”
Do you think that’s true?
Do you think God loves that man?
Do you think God loves me?
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. Why would God love me? Why would God love anyone? There’s so many of us and only one of him. It seems to me that God only has so much love to go around, so he has to pick and choose who is loved and who isn’t.
But how do you know if you’re someone God loves? That man knew. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten it tattooed on his chest. Well…that’s not true. Not every tattoo is worn by someone who understands its meaning.
I don’t think anyone in here knows what it means to be loved by God. Not even that man.
The rope around my wrist constantly rubs red against my skin. It has begun the task that will be completed by the knife.
Although, I could cut the rope instead of my wrist. I could cut myself loose. There’s no telling if I can escape this room or how far I can run, but I can try. I can be free.
No, there are easier ways to be free. The rope can stay intact and I can still be free. To escape isn’t to be free. Death is freedom for me.
Even if I were to cut the rope and run away, I would never be free. The scars on my soul remain as long as there is breath in my lungs. The only way to eliminate the first is to extinguish the second.
I don’t want to try to heal. I can’t heal.
It’s sharp enough, but I want it to be sharper.
My mind doesn’t know what to think. My body doesn’t know how to feel.
Death is freedom. Death is final.
To escape is to be free. To run away is to delay.
The motion of the knife is quick. The thing that ties me to my pain is severed.
I see a mirror, but I don’t recognize the person reflected in it. That is not me. There is a soul in that body. There is emotion in those eyes. There is feeling in that face.
I move towards the mirror and the reflection moves with me. I place my left hand on the glass and it matches the hand in front of me. That’s when I see it. The scar on my wrist. I look at it in the reflection, not knowing if it’s mine, then I place my right hand on the mirror as well. It holds in its grip the knife.
The blade is clean. Did I do it? I am clean. Am I free?
I look past the mirror and all I see is light. Brightness like I’ve never known. I shield my face to try and see what’s in front of me, but I’m blind to my surroundings. I hear a voice, but I can’t make out the words.
“What?” I say.
“To bleed is to live. To scar is to be human,” it says.
I want to hear more of that voice. I want to know where I am. I want to know who I’m with. I want to know why I’m here.
I walk past the mirror. I put down the knife.