It’s been 12 years since the spring my Daddy died, and the August of that year will probably always be one of the strongest memories of my childhood. It had been five months since my father’s death and I was having the time of my life. I was stealing clothes and shoes from various stores with my friends on a daily basis. I was stealing money from my mother. I had started smoking already, and even though I had only smoked maybe one or two blunts in my short life thus far, I thought I was pretty bad ass. I was still living with Christina* and her family and it was more than easy to get away with doing whatever the hell we wanted. Half of our entertainment was provided by her mother.
I’ll always remember that summer by the way the sun fell on my skin, or the smell of the train tracks at night, or Irish Spring soap. I was walking down around my neighborhood one day, all I ever did was walk. I’m not really sure what my destination was, but I was walking through the park and there was this group of guys sitting under a pavilion. I could probably look back and tell you the names of 10-15 of the guys sitting there, but I will always clearly remember one the most. He walked up to me with so much confidence and I swear I fell in love right then.
Michael* was 14 and he was beautiful! We spent an intense few weeks together, always together. I swore I needed him just to be able to breathe. All we did was walk everywhere together and we stopped to make out as often as possible. I don’t really remember why we broke up, I’m pretty sure it just happened to be that I was way more into him than he was into me. And it broke my heart. I can’t really blame him, it wasn’t his fault I had just lost the most important person in my life and I wanted him to love me unconditionally. I also wasn’t willing to have sex at this point because my terrible experience with Phil* was still fresh in my mind. I know now I expected him to fill a void that he would never be able to fill, even if we’d ridden off into the sunset together. After the breakup I went to live with one of my uncles and his family for a year and I missed Michael like crazy. When I left and moved back in with my mother, I fully expected us to be grown ass people ready to be in love, and I was only 13. He was willing to be with me once in a while, but I think my obsession with him was humorous for him and his friends. After I’d gotten back to my mother’s house, my willingness to have sex with Michael had changed and soon that seemed to be what our “relationship” revolved around. I always felt after the first time Michael and I had sex, was the first time for me at all because I wanted to forget about Phil. And eventually sex became normal, and fun, and every time he and I fought I started becoming vindictive and sleeping with his friends.
After about a year, I’d slept with everyone we knew. I stopped caring about people’s perception of me. And when I’d run out of people within our won social group, I found other groups. Sex became a completely normal thing, and everyone knew me and what I was willing to do. There was no one stopping me anymore, my own mother was far too invested in her own relationships to care about what I was doing, so long as it didn’t affect her directly.
After a while I started hanging out with a small group of girls including Natalie* and Lisa* and all we did was party and smoke and drink and walk. Both of them had moved in with me and my mom because my house was the “cool” house where there was never any adult supervision and we could run shit like we owned it. One night Natalie, Lisa and I were walking through our neighborhood and we stopped at the gas station near our house and as per usual, we met a stranger and decided to join him and his friends for a party. This stranger was a man named Tyrone* and he had two younger girls with him. They were staying in a hotel room across the street and we followed him and his friends over there. After spending a few hours drinking and doing a sickly amount of cocaine, Tyrone propositioned us about joining his business. He was a pimp, and the girls were his prostitutes. My friends were obviously skeptical but I was intrigued. I had lost my damn mind, and between the drugs and the abuse I was committing to my own body, I thought “Why the hell not?? Get paid for something I know I’m good at.” And that was how it all started the first time.