• What difference was there for her then? She had been ‘serving’ her partner all those years just like she was serving now—only the names given to the same task were different

Dec 13, 2014-

Everyone will look down on me,” she thought.

“Why am I even doing this?” she tried to ask herself, hoping desperately for a valid reason. She just knew it didn’t feel ‘bad’.

She had just received a text from the site confirming her ‘appointment’. This would be her first-hand experience of being an escort. She gasped and sighed. She knew she had to remain sane. She knew her abusive and controlling partner made her feel worthless and she was going insane. She needed to regain that confidence in herself. She still couldn’t justify how adultery could redeem her snatch at life. She only knew she couldn’t engage in an emotional exhaustion of the guilt of adultery and hence the journey fitted in perfectly with her need to detach herself from her current extenuating circumstances.

She was secretly hoping she would get caught by her partner and that it would finally lead to the much-needed break-away. Money was another lure. She hardly had access to their joint account and was living off on the bare minimum. This was her opportunity to settle her debts too.

She looked up in the visor above her head whilst in the cab. She dabbed on some powder, put on the lip gloss. The cab driver gave her a cheeky wink. She froze. Could he sense what she was up to? How do call girls get dressed up and dolled up? Do they have to wear provocative clothes? She checked herself in the mirror again… ugh, she was definitely overdressed for the occasion. She cleared her throat and looked away. She got another text just as she was getting out of the cab. Getting nervous about how she was going to carry out the ‘job’, she scurried towards the intersection. When she was near the set of lights, she looked around, took out her oversized sunnies, buried her face in those larger-than-her-face shades and waited for her client.

What would happen? How was she meant to start? Would she even have a conversation with the person? What did he look like? Did that even matter? What if he was a rapist? Was she meant to seduce or was she meant to just ‘do it’? Many questions remained unanswered and gnawed at her inner core. She had spent the night watching some porn videos to help her prepare for the job. She had no lingerie, though. She felt a bit sick in her stomach. Her mind flitted between anticipation of her new ‘role’ and how far she had come along in her battle to survive emotionally and mentally.

She had been madly in love with her partner when they first met. She was 16; he was 28. They got hitched after two dates. She thought that was the best thing that ever happened to her. Two days into her conjugal life and she came to a crushing realisation they were worlds apart. He was cold and unromantic; she was burning with passion and desire. He would detach himself from her in public; she longed for that mushy open display of love. He was controlling her, down to what she could wear or what she should cook; she was a free spirit. He had no ambition in life; she had many aspirations and dreams. He ‘allocated’ time for her; she craved more closeness and intimacy. His time with her was spent pouncing on her for physical fulfilment; she yearned for romance and foreplay to heighten her desires. He was there, he existed in her life, but was he really there for her? He was everyone’s favourite in the family and friends’ circle; he fulfilled his duties and responsibilities as a son, as a brother, as a neighbour, as a friend, as an employer; he channelled all his energy and emotions to please everybody around him; she was left with whatever he couldn’t spare on others—his ugly dark physical prowess.

She had tried very hard to remain ‘in love’ with him. She had tried explaining to herself that it was a normal part of a lifelong partnership. However, there was no partnership between them; it was a one-way governance: he ruled her. Ten years of incessant attempts to save her partnership, 10 yrs of neglected emotions, 10 years of draining convenience; she had burnt out physically, mentally and emotionally. She had also been aware of his cheating habits; it was there, in the back burner, subconsciously reminding her that she was a hopeless spouse. He had managed to convince her it was somehow her fault. His cajoling words implying how her undying libido contributed to his wanting ‘it’ all the time and that he had to make do with whoever was available at the time to satiate his needs when she wasn’t around. She wasn’t that dumb not to decipher his sexual obsession, but then again, she wasn’t comfortable and confident in her own appearance to argue otherwise. Last week had been the last straw for her.

She had found him engrossed in porntube, and upon seeing her he had demanded she ‘perform’. She was disconcerted but mustered enough courage to refuse. His audacity to suggest ‘swinging partners’ had left her stunned. Her outright refusal infuriated him and he had ordered her to sleep ‘separately’. There and then she had decided she was done with him. She had calmly voiced her opinion to him that she would finally part ways, which he had downright refused. He refused to ‘let go’; after all she was his last resort: his home garbage to dump things in as he wished. Her heart had finally shunned him that day. Her heart turned cold that day. She had no emotions left for him anymore. She could not carry on anymore.

“Hi there!” she got startled by the deep voice bringing her back to current time from the agonising trip down memory lane. She found herself staring at a handsome chiselled face. He was smiling at her and looking her squarely in the eye.

“Oh, hi,” she muttered. Pleasantries were exchanged, regarding which she was quite surprised, considering the nature of the job. They exchanged the verbal password to confirm they were the right ‘parties’. Then he led the way to his hotel. She obediently followed him, not knowing what else to do.

In the elevator, he held her hand, pulled her closer, removed her sunnies, and planted a soft kiss on her lips. She froze. She didn’t know if there were any rules to be set out beforehand in the ‘job’. She wasn’t working for anyone to have gone through the ‘orientation’ or the ‘checklist’. She just decided to go with the flow. Soft kisses quickly turned into hardcore smooches. She started enjoying it just because he was treating her as a ‘person’ and not an object. She had not expected such respect in this job at all.

She pulled away from him once the elevator door swung open. She followed him into his room. He offered her a drink, and yet again she was pleasantly surprised at how her perception of the ‘dirty work’ was gradually fading and reforming into the notion that this was all about ‘being appreciated for the service provision’. She declined the drink offer partly because she wanted the job to be over and done with and mostly because of the fear of being gang raped in case the drink was spiked. He was a stranger after all, however nice he seemed.

It was a journey of forbidden pleasure and exploration thereafter. She had never imagined that she could possibly enjoy a total stranger, with no inhibitions; she had never imagined that such ‘dirty work’ could be this fulfilling; she had never imagined that she would be treated this well. All her guilt, fears and reservations towards the lowly job dissipated that night.

All her life, until that very experience, she had always harboured resentment for prostitution. Until now, she had failed to comprehend why people ever chose this path. She had tried to reason all her life about what situations could lead to such encounters for people; she had tried to understand why anyone would bring shame upon themselves when there were many avenues available to make a living in this world. She knew many were financially crippled and that was their only means of income. She had never failed to be intrigued by how those in high society viewed such trysts. She had always secretly cursed those insatiable high-class bitches who seemed to seek such adventures to satiate their physical hunger. That was her perception of such encounters until now anyway. Little had she known then that emotional needs and the need to rise above abusive setbacks could have played a pivotal role for those high-end rendezvous. Then she pictured herself: she did not fit the criteria according to her old perception or by the standards set by society for such encounters. She wasn’t living below the poverty line exactly; she wasn’t illiterate; and she wasn’t filthy rich! Here she was, a middle-class working woman who was well-educated, who had passions and desires and ambitions, who had tried so hard to preserve her dignity and her long-term relationship, where, she then realised, she had been treated as a whore more than a partner. What difference was there for her then? She had been ‘serving’ her partner all those years just like she was serving now—only the names given to the same task were different.

Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined herself as a prostitute. And here she was, totally shocked by her own shattering of  the definition society assigns to a prostitute, and how estranged from reality that definition actually was. Here she stood, in the middle of nowhere, feeling liberated from her burden to carry on, feeling cleansed and purified for the first time in her life from the ‘dirty work’.

Ushma Rayamajhi

Published: 14-12-2014 09:45

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