I have attempted not to make this too graphic, but this is not a pleasant story. If you’re offended by scenes of drug-taking, violence against women or prostitution please do not read this post. If you start reading please read to the end. Thank you.
The blunt needle barged its way through the scar tissue on the wall of the vein in her arm. The syringe flushed briefly red as the plunger was drawn back, before forcing its payload of opiate-oblivion into her bruised arm. The precision guided delivery system fell into the grimy basin in front of her.
She looked into the broken mirror, now seeing past the dark rings around her eyes, the years falling from her face as the familiar golden brown warmth enveloped her. To a casual observer she appeared to be in her mid twenties, but with a blotchy pallid complexion. After a few moments she saw herself at her true age, 18 and already submerged in the one profession that her straight A’ grades would never have hinted at only two years before.
She turned towards the bed, smiling, cloudy-eyed and limp limbed. He was staggering out of his clothes, cheap scotch and sweat oozing from every pore. “How much for bare-back?” he grunted.
Reality pricked her protective cocoon just long enough for her to say, “I don’ do that.”. She threw a handful of condoms at him. Grudgingly he fumbled a prophylactic onto his penis.
She lay back on the bare mattress and drifted off into her usual retreat, before he hand lumbered into position on top of her and forced his eager member between her legs.
It was summer, or at least she always remembered it as such. He was tall and slim with a kind laugh that made him the object of every senior girl’s nocturnal fantasies. She was ordinary, but despite being the least remarkable girl in her year he had asked her out on a picnic. Her mother approved, probably because the concept of a picnic was so old-fashioned. “He seems like a nice boy, very polite.” …
A honey-lit day, fragranced by flowers and mown grass ensued. She held herself there, remembering their laughter, the gentle inadvertent touch of his hand on her arm as he reached for a sandwich. Then he made his uncertain play for a kiss, awkward and charmingly naÃ¯ve. His lips lingered on hers for a moment before he pulled away to gauge her reaction.
She wanted more, and late in the afternoon she found herself in his arms, tongues writhing tenderly in one mouth then the other. She felt his excitement against her leg, but he did not seek to pursue it on this, their first date, despite the involuntary thrust of his pelvis against her.
She tried to loop the memories for as long as she could, wrapping herself in their protective embrace. But he was taking too long. She became aware of the stinking client on top of her. As she rose out of the sea of heroin he became her father.
She had returned home that evening walking on air, feeling blessed and special. When she walked through the door she knew something was wrong. Her mother was crying in a way she had never seen before, desolately, with a hopeless look in her eyes.
He took her by the wrist, twisting it viciously, calling her a tart, whore, harlot. His hand smote her face with a blow that would keep her away from school for a fortnight because of the bruising, and even then “How clumsy of her, walking into a door …”
Then she was dragged to her bedroom, HER BEDROOM. Her sanctuary. She could feel him now, telling her that boys were after one thing and he wasn’t going to let them take it from her. So he took it instead, and with the gift that should be given freely and can only be given once he stole something else too. Her dignity.
It was like the opening of a floodgate, every night he would enter her room, shutting the door to keep out the sound of her mother’s tears. At first her mother argued with him but after a week or so her protestations stopped and she simply whimpered her resigned misery.
Decades of loathing for himself and women flooded, until she felt she had only two exits. She hovered at the first one afternoon. She had ducked out of class and filled a bath full of hot water to numb the pain. But as the steel touched her marble skin she knew this was not her way out.
Instead she had arrived by a route of tortuous complexity and hideously bad fate to this squalid bed-sit. This hell-on-earth existence that she called living.
Mercifully he grunted his climax and rolled off her immobile form.
He threw twenty pounds between her open legs. “That’s all I have”. Ten less than they agreed, but she was too tired to argue. He picked up his coat from the floor and left. At the front door of the flats he slipped into the coat as the November air cut through him. As he did the hypodermic needle that had lodged in the sleeve skewered his wrist. He swore and pulled it out, throwing it into the gutter.
The speck of dried blood lingered on the wall of the capillary it had insinuated for just a moment before being swept along his blood vessels. It left a delicate stream of polyhedral virus particles in its wake.
Thank you for reading this post. If you want to do something about the sort of horror that domestic violence and abuse can cause please visit this site.