There But for the Grace of God…

Last Monday night

Two girls at bus stop on Westheimer, one Black, the other White. I knew from their mannerisms that they were young but they looked older, not only because of the makeup caked onto their faces, but the tiredness in their eyes, the blankness of their glances at each other, and at me as I sat down next to them… I know that look all too well. I could tell they were not waiting for a bus…they were waiting for someONE…someone who would take them to a dark parking lot, or, if they were “lucky”, find an anonymous hourly motel to take one of them to…to satisfy his need for a quick nut, and her need for a quick buck.

“Your perfume smells really good”, the White one said to me. I thanked her and reached into my purse and offered to spray some on her wrist. She looked at me, nodded, and held out her wrist. After I spritzed it onto her, she held her wrist to her nose and inhaled, then thrust her arm under her friend’s nose, who smiled and nodded as if to say that it did indeed smell very good. I offered the bottle to her friend, but she declined, saying that she didn’t want it to mix with what she was already wearing. I understood.

The Black girl then got up and looked down Westheimer…I saw how short her dress was, how high her heels were, and how thoroughly uncomfortable she looked. Less than a minute later, a guy walked across the street from Slick Willie’s, a popular pool hall. He looked at the three of us and I looked away from him and asked the other girl if the bus had passed, loud enough so the guy would know I wasn’t there for what the other girls were there for. She said that one had just come by about 5 minutes before I’d sat down, then turned her attention towards the young man.

He was young, handsome enough, and, as he pointed out, “drove the white Jaguar parked right there” in front of the pool hall. I watched the girls out of the corner of my eye and practically saw the dollar signs light up in their eyes. He knew what they were there for, and they knew that he knew. He told them he was from out of town but was staying in a hotel down the street and wanted some company.

“The both of us?” The White girl asked. “I don’t go anywhere without my friend,” she added.

“Smart girl”, I thought.

“Stand up and let me look at you,” he said to the White girl, who was still seated next to me. She stood, he gave her the once-over, and told her she could come along, too. I looked at them and opened my mouth to speak, but thought better of it and kept my mouth shut. The three of them turned and started to head across the street to the parking lot of the pool hall. “Be careful,” I said, not loud, but loud enough for the White girl to hear. She turned to me and nodded, then crossed the street and ran to catch up with the guy and her friend.

I don’t know why those girls were selling their bodies…the first assumption that most people make is that they’re on drugs…while that is usually true, it is not always the case. For me, it was because I was homeless and naïve…I knew what I was getting into but at the time had felt like that was the best option because I damn sure didn’t want to be on the streets again. It appeared to be a good situation on the outset, but after the first couple of nights, I wanted out. There but for the grace of God, there’s no telling what had happened to me if He hadn’t sent someone to “rescue” me from my situation. I got out before I ended up in jail, beat up (again), raped or dead. There are so many who weren’t so lucky.

For some reason it’s easier for me to be open about my past drug use than it is about the fact that I used to be a prostitute, and no, they aren’t related. The drugs came way later, after the hurt and pain of my past came bubbling up from under the lid that I’d placed on that pot of bullshit. It amazes me how easily we remember the things we try so hard to forget. These past couple of years have literally been composed of me re-living things from my past life and instead of snorting or drinking those memories away, I’ve had to deal with them head-on. It’s not been easy, but I take comfort in knowing that maybe we have to experience certain things so that, instead of looking upon people with judgment in our eyes, we can look upon them with compassion and understanding.


2 thoughts on “There But for the Grace of God…

  1. Yes indeed… I commend you always… No matter what you’ve been thru, for keepin it real mostly..and for being the strong woman that you have grown to be. Hope God shows the same for those two young ladies as well… We never know the story unless it is told. May God CONTINUE to bless you Zan

  2. Wow!!! Speechless Zan…

    Thank you for your honesty and your transparency. This story is a testimony!

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