“Bree! Bree! Wake Up! You’re going to be late for school again!” Abbey, one of my “wifies”* is violently shaking me awake. I am so tired. So, so tired. I roll onto my side and rub my eyes as I try to focus on the time. 8 am. Yup, definitely going to be late again. Fuck. I force my body out of bed. I step over girls who are asleep everywhere. Passed out on couches, and chairs and the floor. A very familiar scene.
I walk in a daze to the bathroom, peaking into my pimp’s room as I go by. Asleep as usual. Half smoked blunt of weed in the ashtray next to him. I snatch it from the ashtray and put it in my pocket. When I get to the bathroom I grab a washcloth. As I let the water pour over it and onto my hands, I ask myself why I bother still going to school. Most everyone around me has dropped out. The balance of schoolwork and tricking is too much to handle. I ignore the thought as usual and begin to wipe smeared mascara off my cheeks. I wince a little when I go over fresh bruises on my left eye, cheek, and jaw. It hurts more than I thought it was going to.
After making a failed attempt to cover my bruises with makeup I take a look in the mirror. Hair is a little messy, but good enough. Clothes probably won’t pass school dress code but I am already late and too tired to change. I grab my bag and leave the stable*.
I have a mile and a half walk to school. I light to half blunt of weed and begin to puff myself into sanity before attempting to show face in the real world. The walk to slow and steady. The weed makes me feel a little better, but stings the inside of my cheek. I bit the inside of my cheek after taking a round house kick to left side of my face. It doesn’t look normal, aside from the half-covered bruises, it’s pretty swollen and a little hard to talk. That’s okay though. I have one rule for going to school. No words. Complete silence.
After finishing the blunt, the high is just enough to make it through the next few hours. Being stoned is just the escape I need to deal with whatever bullshit is about to lie ahead. I am starting to approach school now, so I light a cigarette. The closer I get, the more anxiety levels rise. My stomach turns into knots. I hate school. I used to have friends. I used to be really popular. But peers don’t take well to their enslaved, prostituted counterparts. They don’t understand it could as easily been them…but it’s whatever, I have dealt with this for far to long to give a fuck.
First period is ending. The bell rings and kids file into the courtyard chatting and laughing and getting to their next class. I sneak onto campus like I have been there the whole time. The kids stare. They always notice the bruises. They yell their typical slurs…slut, whore, they call me. No one ever asks if I am okay. As they stare and pin me like a cork board in their minds, I drop my books and trip. I pick them up as if no one noticed and proceed to U.S. History. I sit in the back.
The teacher hands out a paper to every student and I don’t read it. I slide it to the corner of my desk. My teacher is lucky enough that I showed up. He looks at my swollen face and shakes his head. He won’t report it though. They never do. As he begins to lecture, I fall asleep. My teacher doesn’t care. He doesn’t know about me, but he knows something is wrong and he allows me to rest.
When class is over my teacher wakes me. He slips a domestic violence paper at me as he sends me to my next class. I shove it in the mess of other papers I will never look at again. I don’t go to my next class. I go into the bathroom instead. I sit in the bathroom stall and just relax. When I know the next class has started I pull out a box cutter. I put the razor to my wrists and drag it across slowly. My silver savior. The pain takes me to a place that I know. Dark red blood bubbles up and spills to the cement floor and I do a few more. I tear up a little. I can’t handle this anymore. As I finish my mini mental break, I feel better. I knew within a few days these cuts will begin to heal and fade into a mess of the other cuts on my arm. I decide not to go back to class. I call my pimp to pick me up.
As I wait I try to cover my wrists. Anything the compromises my beauty is a huge no-no. As we ride back to the stable, I don’t talk. He tries to make conversation but I’m not in it. I am the master of disassociation. I am 16 years old. I have been in this game for two years now. I know how to separate myself from the world now, and it makes things a lot easier.
At home, most of the girls are already hard at work. My pimp tells me to go clean myself up. He can tell I am already done with today and it hasn’t even started. I jump in the shower and turn the water up hot. It is burning my skin but cleansing my soul. The water makes me feel new again, cleansing away the dirty feeling from the four? five? maybe six people I was made to fuck the night before.
I get out of my shower. It is time to get escort beautiful. It’s not the same as just getting ready. 6 inch heels, short skirt, perfect make-up…no half covered bruises this time. And beyond perfect hair. I am ready.
I daze into the living room and sit around the girls. I am in the circle now. Time to work. Someone hands me more weed to smoke, and I indulge. My pimp call me to his room. He wants to have sex. I am stripped down and he puts himself inside of me. It is not pleasant, but a pounding I have come accustomed to. When he is finished, I smoke another cigarette. He tells me I am great. And then he sees my cuts.
He starts screaming and yelling. He slaps me across my face, the same spot that I was kicked just the night before. It stings. I cannot move my mouth. I try to drag my cigarette but the pain is unbearable and I give up. I am given my first assignment.He was a young military boy. After him was an exceptionally old carpenter. Then a lawyer of some sort. I take the three dates back to back. Faking smiles and laughs. Bullshitting conversation. Thank God I am a good actor, because most importantly I must pretend I want to have sex with every one of them.
Finally, I have one more date. My goal should be met. He comes and goes as quickly as the other four. When he leaves, I try to go join the other girls but I am dizzy. It’s unusually hot and I feel like passing out. I sit on the bed for a few minutes until I can make to to the bathroom. Bad idea…I fall to my knees. It’s so hot that I feel like I am dying. I yell for help and someone brings me water. I try to drink it, but I start puking instead. Suddenly I feel slightly better. Usually I get breaks in between meeting men, but this is part of my punishment for the cuts. No breaks.
After fucking for people and throwing up, my pimp decides I can be done for the day. I have a migraine and my face is pulsating in pain. The weed gives little relief. I go into my room, where a few other girls are chilling. They have finished their $1000 target for the days as well. The are drinking Crown Royal.
I lay down and take a shot as well. I cannot talk, it hurts to much. I listen to the girls talk about their dates. I don’t remember their names, or faces. I never do. I just remember the way they screw me, and if I was good at pretending I wanted it. Sometimes it is easier than others but I am not in this today. I take another shot. And another. And another. I wonder what my family is doing. If they miss me. If they wish I was there. I know they do.
I feel drunk and I don’t like it. My body is tired and achy. My face hurts. My mind is lost somewhere between hating myself and hating this lifestyle. I can’t decide which is worse. I want to go home. I wonder if I will ever get out. It doesn’t seem like I will. I have watched my best friend die, endured beatings, watched girls get bought and resold between pimps. I know no one who has really gotten out. There is no end to this nightmare. I know the best ways to combat this life though. Be the best. Make the most money, prove your loyalty. If you are truly devoted you help find new girls. Be the best, cut, drink and smoke. Someone you will make it out okay, baby girl. That is what I tell myself. Don’t think too much…not about friends or family or Church. That equals pain. But the thoughts come every night anyway. The thought’s of the outside world that I so long to get back to. I reach in my back pocket for my silver savior again. I hide under the sheets and cut myself one more time. The pain in my wrists distracts me from other other pain…in my body, my head and my heart. The blood rushes out a little faster than usual and I feel faint. I start to pass out and between the cutting and the alcohol, I can drift into sleep. I better fall asleep soon because I have to wake up and find a means to handle it all again tomorrow. It’s just the way things are for us. This is a day in the life…for a child prostitute, that is.