in Tall Tales

In Memory of Her

I saw Trinity one last time before I left the city.
“My pimp’s in jail, eh.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“Yeah, another girl ran away again and this time when he caught her he cut off all her toes. He’s been put away for six years.”
“So you’re free from him?”
“Yeah, I’m working for the corporation now. Gone high-track. There’s a dress code.”
The only thing Trinity took from the clothing room was a beige jacket, I think it was actually made by Ralph Lauren or some big-name designer. It was a nice jacket. She left with it over her arm. I offered her another shirt and some nice shoes but she wouldn’t take them.
“You mean something less slutty?”
“No,” I really wasn’t saying that, “I was just thinking that it will be getting colder later tonight… At least take the shoes. Your feet look like they’re killing you.”
Trinity had come in wearing a bandanna as a top, a pair of stained white pants that looked painted on, and some pink high-heels that had sequin flowers on the strap. Her body was spilling out everywhere. Her hips, her breasts, her stomach, her calves. All this and more could be yours for the low, low price of… I spent a lot of time looking at those pink high-heels.
“No, I’ve got to wear these shoes, they’re part of the dress code.”
She kept up a constant dialogue while she was looking through the clothing room. Talking about finally being free of her pimp and admiring the clothes that are cute. Just briefly, and more to herself than to me she makes a comment, just one remark and then she’s off admiring another shirt.
“You know it’s not like I enjoy doing this. It’s not like I want to be this person.”
She’s still a slave. This time for a richer man who offers a better reward for a job well done. But chances are that his teeth are bigger. Low-track pimps are thugs, men who beat their girls with pipes, and put out cigarettes on their thighs… but they need to money every girl makes. High-track pimps are more organized. Not so desperate to take a girl back – more willing to make her disappear completely. That way the other girls are less likely to run away in the first place.
As we were walking back down the hall together we ran into a group of church leaders who were meeting with the shelter’s chaplain. I was slightly embarrassed. I had hesitated to take Trinity to the clothing room with me – it doesn’t look good to be alone on the second floor with an attractive (and hardly clothed) sex trader worker. Still, I figured it would be better than leaving her waiting at the front-desk where a constant stream of guys would be coming to look her up and down. Nobody tries to hide the fact that they’re checking her out and licking their chops… after all it’s not like she’s hiding much from their view.
As we passed the church group one of the men looked at her, then looked at me and gave me a wink and a knowing smile. I wanted to punch him in the teeth.

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  1. I meant the depiction was beautiful. The writing. It reminded me of Sonia Nazario’s “Orphans of Addiction,” which you would presumably find ugly as well. Too bad.

  2. I think there is something beautiful there.
    She’s definitely beautiful. Not just on the surface (although she is that too… despite the scars and track-marks) but deeper down as well.
    If the depiction can be called beautiful it is only because it was able to provide a hint of Trinity’s beauty. A beauty that still shines despite the brutality and ugliness that surround her.
    Of course, part of the tragedy is that she no longer recognizes this beauty in herself. Part of the tragedy is that she would probably also say, “No, there is no beauty here.”