his dog stood on two legs and clawed at your nylons when you walked into his house. Seven gold condom wrappers were strewn about the hardwood floor, some were hidden in jeans or shirts, three were torn open. His string of Hanukkah lights lining his headboard clicked against the brick wall. At one point you screamed for mercy. You tried to hide the rapture you felt but you couldn’t. You went out into the cold with him and smoked your cigarette. The only sound you heard was the snow melting. A man joined both of you. The man asked if he knew you. You denied it. Your heart clawed at your chest. Your stomach refused to abide by the law of gravity. You forced it back down. The dog lifted it’s leg and peed on your stiletto. You had just bought them two days earlier. You swore and kicked at the dog and headed back towards the door. You asked him to unlock it and he did. He asked you where you knew the man from. You told him you had fasted with him for Ramadan earlier that year. You wondered why he even cared to ask. He handed you the agreed amount and told you the cab was waiting. You put your coat on and walked out the door. You were made of plastic. You wanted to take a shower. You wondered what time it was. You forgot you had class in the morning. You don’t remember what color his eyes were.
I don’t know why I keep reciting this particular story in my head. It was the first time, but certainly not the last. The wad of cash from my last client is soft and damp in the pocket of my jeans. The burning whiteness of this room is making me chew the shit out of my nails. Something is trapped inside my gut and it’s beginning to climb up my throat. I’m trying so hard to appear calm and collected around these strangers. One girl is clinging to a man’s avocado cotton shirt, stained dark around where her face is hidden. Another girl is grabbing a little blond girl’s wrist and pulling it towards her as the little girl is sticking out her butt and leaning in the opposite direction. This reminds me of torture chamber dungeons and Monty Python. My arm is itching incessantly. The sole of my foot is tingling in one spot and it tickles but I can’t do anything about it. I’m checking the clock on my phone like a crack fiend. Every time that damn door opens I look up like a kid who just got offered to go out for ice cream after watching TV all day.
Her bronze name tag says Betty. What the fuck kind of name is Betty? No one’s name is Betty anymore. She’s glancing back at me and smiling as I’m being pulled behind her by some invisible leash. I just want to fucking go home. I’m wondering why she’s taking me to some room to do this instead of just handing me the god damn envelope. I’m sitting down on a chair facing Betty, there’s a desk in between her and I. Her eyes are trying to tell me something. She’s looking at me the same way my teacher from when I was in high school looked after she got the phone call about my father. I hate Betty’s eyes. I’m staring at her pen cup and imagining myself grabbing one and jumping over the desk and skewering her stupid eyes with it, one right after the other, real smooth. I’m holding down my insides and trying so hard to make my eyes look calm and dry. She’s reaching over to her file cabinet and pulling a pastel pink folder out and setting it in front of her where I can’t reach it. She’s thinking I’m going to grab it and run away, laughing hysterically. Her tongue is touching her manicured fingers and moving back towards the folder, opening it then pushing an envelope towards me. My hands are welded to my lap. I don’t want it. Betty is rambling some shit about treatments and therapy. I’m reaching to the envelope, Betty’s still rambling “…gone a long way…” I’m sliding my finger across the flap, “…possibility of cure…” I’m pulling the white S-folded paper out of it’s safe, “…financial needs…” I’m unfolding it. My eyes are hitting the first three letters and flooding. “Pos…”
-Karina Von Voigt