As I lied on my back, the sound of the screeching noises from the springs in my bed grew louder with every thrust of his member. The revolting smell of sweat and grime filled the room. The sun was settled and glared at me through the lace curtains. I wondered if even the sun looked upon me with shame and disgust.
With every visit from a gentleman, I fell in a trance and recapped my childhood, the reason I ended up in this way of life. My parents weren’t the best example of teaching their children how to love or be loved. My daddy was the town Sheriff who I’m sure treated himself to a poke from the local whore on occasion. My mother was raised by an abusive grandmother who taught her that love came from a switch across the legs even if she felt the child looked at her in the wrong way. Daddy was killed in a bank brawl trying to save the teller from a gang of robbers when I was eight. Mother raised my brother and me as best she could by selling vegetables raised on what little soil she didn’t have to sell. When I turned thirteen Mother made me a dress for my birthday. Beautiful long white dress trimmed in lace. The bodice was a little big, if only I had breasts to fill it out. I remember feeling so pretty and proud that the hard hearted woman could actually do something so nice for me. She sat me down at the kitchen table and curled my blonde shoulder length hair and covered my face with blush and lipstick. I never stopped smiling back at her stone face for making me feel so special. There weren’t many moments like this to cherish with her and at that time I knew that I would never forget that moment. She sprayed her cheap perfume twice on my neck and spun me around to have a look at me. I had flutters in my stomach from the excitement; I couldn’t wait for my friends to see me like this. Their mothers were all so loving and had them dolled up everyday for school. There were embarrassing times I had to wear my brother’s clothes when mother couldn’t get the wash done. She sold the vegetables during the day and would go out late nearly every night after dinner. She made us stay in the house, so my brother and I never knew what she was doing. We agreed on the same conclusion that she had taken a job that required her time at night.
I twirled around the room and watched the hem of my dress form a bell and would stop to watch it twist around my legs one way and then the other. A knock at the door startled me at first but then had me so excited that someone was about to see me so pretty. Mother answered it to find a tall strange scruffy man standing there on the other side. He looked at me as though to say “you’re beautiful”. I remember smiling so big I could see the blush on my cheeks out of the corner of my eyes. Mother never said a word to the man and turned to inform me that I was going with him. She left the room and he took me by the arm and led me to his wagon. I still felt excited about going out and showing off my new makeover, but the thought of leaving with a stranger caused an uneasy feeling in my gut. The man took me to a small cottage outside of town and persuaded me to drink a glass of tea that almost made me sick to my stomach. After a few minutes, I felt dizzy and lied on his bed. I don’t remember going to sleep but I do remember waking up and feeling the most excruciating pain. He told me to lie back and relax and it wouldn’t hurt as bad. The tears formed a puddle between the bedding and my cheek. The burning felt like he was cutting me with a knife, it would take my breath every time he moved. I think I must have fainted. He woke me up by pulling me off the bed. When my feet hit the floor, blood poured from me. Tears welled in my eyes as the man told me it was natural for me to bleed but I knew even at thirteen that this was not natural. I hid my tears behind my now matted hair as we walked to the wagon. On the way home he placed a quarter in my hand and asked me not to tell mother about it. When he pulled up to the house my stomach tightened. I don’t know if it was me being so glad to be home or if it was the fact that I had to face people after what just happened. I sobbed out loud as he helped off the wagon. I tried to refrain from crying but the pain inside overtook me. As I stepped off I ripped my beautiful dress on a rusty nail that stuck out of an old board at the bottom of the wagon. He walked me to the door where mother met him outside. She gave me a quick glance and accepted dollar bills from the man. I waited inside for her to come in and hold me in a blanket of security and tell me she was sorry for sending me away with him but she passed me by without saying a word. The loft was empty as I lay in my bed. I could feel the pain between my legs and my head hurt from the uncontrollable cries.
Mother didn’t send me to school the next day, she allowed me to stay home and remain in bed for most of the day. It wasn’t because she cared what I was going through but probably thought I would tell someone, she never said.
A few weeks passed and she did it again, dolled me up in a new dress and painted my face to make me look pretty. This time wasn’t as easy for her because I would cry and the tears would stream through my blush. She used her switch on me a few times but I don’t remember feeling any pain from it.
A different man came to the door that time, but everything was the same as the first. I didn’t bleed as much but it hurt just as much.
This was the beginning of the rest of my life. Thirteen years old, my mama sold me to men so that we would have enough money to survive.
Mama died with Cancer when I was barely sixteen. She had a short agonizing time left on this Earth, but even though I took care of her I can’t say that neither her pain nor her death affected me very much. I continued to do what was normal to me so that my brother and I could keep the house. By this time I was able to tolerate the visits and the shame. I picked up a few more regulars and made enough money to replace my dresses and make-up.
My brother left town a few years later with a gang of bank robbers. He was killed and buried somewhere out west. I think about him often. I am really glad he was born a boy and didn’t have to go through what I went through. His tragic life was to water the horses and clean out the barn, and to him that really was a tragic life!
With a hard thrust and the annoying groan of relief, I was back in reality at the ripe age of twenty-four, with no better life in sight for me. The piano was playing downstairs and the sound of men engaged in a poker hand. The sweaty gentleman lay next to me with a cigarette hanging from his lips when a gunshot startled both of us. It came from outside the window where the sun was on its last judging stare for the evening. A voice rang up “we have you surrounded”. He jumped from the bed and threw me my dress, yelling at me to get dressed. He got his foot caught in his pant leg and fell to the floor. I knew it was my chance to reach for his gun, and I thought about it but never had the courage to be that brave. He grabbed his gun from the holster and grabbed me around the neck. We stumbled down the stairs to find silence in the bar. He dragged me right through the crowd in the Saloon while no one attempted to help me. I was just the whore they could replace tomorrow. No one would risk their life to save a whore. He leaned against the wall nearest the front door and began to shoot toward the crowd of men. One of them yelled “You will pay for killing my brother you son-of-a-bitch, he was a good Sheriff and saved a lot of folks from heatherns like you!” For a brief moment my heart sank as I thought about how strange it was that life was just one big circle. A man threw a torched log threw the window and everyone screamed and ran for the saloon doors. He made sure I stayed with him by grabbing my hair and throwing me to the floor. The men kept shooting toward the Saloon, breaking all the glass behind the bar. One shot hit him in the shoulder and he went to his knees where his eyes met mine. I was hoping he would feel my fear and release me but as soon as the pain settled in his arm he grabbed me around the neck and pulled me to my feet. The fire inside had reached the liquor and the Saloon was in flames. We had no chance to get out of there alive.
I am scared of death but wondering if it’s my only hope to get out of this life. I pray to God to take my soul and forgive me of my sins. Running out of the Saloon his gun clicks blanks. I rip my dress on a rusty nail peaking out of an old board sticking out of an outside wall. Crying, I try to get behind the gentleman but he throws me in front of him to catch the bullets. A throbbing pain hits my leg near my groin and I start bleeding. Another throbbing pain hits me in the heart. It feels like knives cutting me. I have no strength to hold my body up, I have to lie down. The tears form a puddle between the ground and my cheek. My breathing is fading away and I feel like I am going to sleep.