It’s late (11:00pm) and I just got home from school. My eyes are tired and I’m a little sad. I found out that one of the teachers for the Electrician Program passed away today. He had a heart attack a few months ago and has been out healing from surgery. He’s been my smoking buddy since the beginning of my program. He was the sort of man that had a lot of years on him and a ton of knowledge. He was a great and inspiring individual who brought me joy and encouragement. I was looking forward to seeing him again before my program ends in a few weeks, but now I won’t and I feel that I didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye. He will be missed and remembered fondly because he was just that sort of guy who everyone adored.
My husband has had a difficult time reading the blog. He’s always known about my past in the life, and he’s always chosen to have as little details as possible. Basically if it isn’t relevant: he doesn’t need to know. We’ve both always been ok with this. When I started talking out loud about my experiences it was never to him or around him. I suppose I’ve chosen to shield him from the truth because I always figured it would bother him. And it does. And I understand. It’s not easy to hear details about anyone going through what I’ve gone through, but especially knowing it’s about your spouse is difficult. You then allow your imagination to go places it never wanted to go.
When I allow my imagination to go back I choose to shield myself from certain memories because they’re NOT easy to deal with and it’s easier for me to cope by just blocking them out. The more I talk about them, the more comes back to me and I remember things I’ve long forgotten.
The night Angelo* took me to DC, I got out of the car after he filled me in. I was wearing a really cute sweat suit with numbers on the ass. The jacket was small and mostly unzipped to show of the bra I was wearing underneath. I put this on entirely for Angelo never imagining that it would further produce the results he really wanted. I think back to how ironic it was that I wore something so revealing. Why was it that I found every guy who just knew what I was? I THOUGHT my evening was a date with Angelo*. What was it within me that ensured I landed with every pimp out there? When I look back now I realize that I didn't have the knowledge of the world to spot them a mile away. Now that I am older, a bit more educated and a whole lot more mature (both physically and mentally) I know. And it haunts me. I see every guy on the street and qualify them: Pimp or John. So, why was it this way back then? Logically I know it was because I was just a child and someone needed to teach me these things, guide me and protect me from the predators I had met. In my mind and emotions? “Self inflicted injury gets no sympathy.” It was my fault.
Within minutes of walking down the street I was approached. The john was a 30 something business man, as most of them were. I can’t remember all the specific details of that encounter I know I was taken to an apartment and I remember the Peruvian art on the walls and the handmade poncho that was artfully laid over an easy chair. I remember him attempting to be gentle, and I remember him being nervous. I think I was still so shocked by Angelo's betrayal that whatever occurred is insignificant in my mind.
In the days that followed, Angelo and I stayed in various motels surround the DC area, some in Silver Spring, some in Crystal City Virginia, and sometimes at his friend’s various apartments in DC or his grandmother’s in Silver Spring. It depended entirely on how much money I brought back. The amount of money I returned to him was usually a huge deciding factor on how he treated me. If I was able to turn tricks all night, we got to stay in a clean motel room and he was extremely affectionate. If I brought nothing “home” then we stayed somewhere dirty and he treated me like shit. And it hurt, because I thought I was in love. I thought that this was just a pit stop, that no one starts at the top, everyone had to earn it. I never knew luxury, but I imagined what it looked like-I saw it in apartments like that John's up there-and if I had Angelo* with me? Every moment would be worth it. I didn't know that this wasn't love or even semi close to normal. No one taught me these things or protected me from these guys.
Days after we’d be began Angelo* took me shopping. He bought me some dresses, lingerie, stilettos, and some jewelry. He took me to Regis (O-Em-Gee!!) to get my hair done then the nail salon next door to get acrylics and a pedicure. He bought us cheap ass walkie talkies because we couldn’t even afford prepaid cell phones and he didn’t trust them. Alarm bells??? Now, yes. Then? BRILLIANT! After all the shopping was over and I was done getting pampered…I had to get back on “the track.” At least now I wouldn’t look like a hood rat amongst all the “vets” who’s “Daddies” had them hooked up.
Trying to remember experiences is hard, like I’ve mentioned, but there’s always a few that I’ve never managed to get out. There are experiences I connect to other senses like smells. Whenever I smell certain scents I remember an event and I feel shaken. If I smell a floral scented cleaner used in a public place it takes me back to a certain motel room. The smell of incense takes me back to a certain John. The smell of a specific perfume takes me back to getting ready to get back out on “the track.” And there’s nothing I can do to stop them from flooding in. Usually I’m really good at letting it flood in, shock me, and continue moving like nothing happened. Once in a very great while I stop breathing and start shaking and I cry afterwards.
The worst memories are the violent ones, or the ones where I felt the control being taken from me. Usually I felt in control with the johns because I made the rules. I collected the cash. But once in a while things would happen and there’d be nothing I could do to prevent it. Being raped as a prostitute is so fucked up. You never think for one moment about going to the police because they’re going to assume the trick just didn’t pay you. Worse than that is going home empty handed and having to explain why.
In that moment I wanted to die.
In the most literal sense. I just wanted someone to come along and kill me, take me out of this shit, because the fear inside of me over the thought of having to explain why I had no money was more terrifying than death itself.