This is what I did to pay my bills, since my husband David worked to drink, and not to support our family. This was the outrageous ad-see title, posted on a free website, and all of the texts, phone calls and emails I received were men notifying me if I want work.
Eleven months ago I was diagnosed with Uterine, Cervical, and Breast Cancer. Along with a nice dose of Leukemia.
I couldn't stop this. As bad and as disgusting as this all seemed, I was still placing an ad practically begging for abuse. I didn't want the normal boring old-men patrons. I wanted the hot-blooded, the crude, and the violent. I wanted to see how far the other side went. I knew this was irresponsible, and I loved my family, but this behavior paid for my children's and my needs. As an added bonus, if I could call it that, was the risk factor. Playing chicken with fate. It was not healthy in any way. Was certainly not advisable, yet I kept looking farther and farther over the edge.
This was a typical day in my life.
Insomnia dominated all hours of the day, I would wake up anywhere from 1 to 5 a.m. There was no TV blaring. No loud wall shaking music coming down the street. The only sound was the dull buzz of the fans in my room, and the crickets and frog song out my windows. Bird song if I woke up after 4 a.m. My dog snored in the bed next to me. This was the best time to get any reading done. My tastes in reading varied widely, since I was in love with the act of reading, language, and heavily addicted to learning. Collecting data. Insatiable.
It was time for the daily five mile walk.
I pulled open my tin, and removed my blue-striped glass bowl. Packing it only halfway with weed, and firing it up. Held in the smoke as long as possible, and blew out a satisfying cloud. Fire, suck repeat. Two times. It felt safe to move my body afterward.
Hobbling a bit faster to the opposite side of the trailer, I knocked on Abby’s broken bedroom door.
“Hey, you wanna walk today?” Abby stirred, her sleeping baby face slightly twitching to life. Her eyelashes fluttered as her sleep addled brain took in the request. Her eyes opened finally as she turned her head to look at me.
“Yeah, I’ll go.” Abby didn’t move immediately, but she would be ready in a few minutes.
Going back to my room, I changed into compression gear and running shoes. This was the part where GaGa started jumping, pacing and whining by the back door. Hammy just stood in my way at every opportunity.
Hammy was a ten year old Black Lab-mix male, who weighed in at fifty- five pounds, he was especially attached to Abby. She was twelve years old, and if she wasn’t in school during this time, she usually accompanied us walking with Hammy. The second dog we had was a female Pit- Dachshund-mix named Lady Gaga, and she weighed about forty-five pounds. She was skinny, with huge muscles, and a golden blonde coat. Eyes like sparkling amber with chunks of gold, gray rings around her irises, and what looked like a perfect Cleopatra eyeliner job around both eyes. Lady Gaga was spunky, aggressive, loyal, and my best friend in the world.
I sat down and lit a cigarette. By the time I was half-way through Abby came in the room dressed and ready to go. Still looking half-asleep- she sat on the little black cube next to my bed. I smiled at her.
“Good morning. How did you sleep?” I asked her. Lady was still whining and twirling in circles next to the door. Hammy sat down hard with a disgruntled groan.
“I slept good.” She said with bright green eyes. Remembering just a few years ago I could get it together just as fast. “Mom, I had this dream, and Brandon was in it and so were you. We were riding down this road in a car, I don’t know whose it was. Then the car broke down, and we had to get out and walk. The longer we walked, the more the road cracked up. Then we were standing on the edge of this huge cliff,” her arms went up with her fingers spread out, “ and there was water below us, and all of a sudden the dogs were there, and they were trying to pull us all down, and then you woke me up.” Abby stopped for a breath, her eyebrows up in expectation. Abby, like me, had some of the most vivid dreams. For some reason she thought I could interpret them.
“Maybe you were dreaming about our walks? But because you were upset with Brandon it turned kinda scary? I tried to offer.
“I think it means going with Brandon would be a bad path for me.” She said with a certain finality. Tanya’s mind was made up. I don’t know why she wanted my opinion. But I liked her idea, so I went with it.
“I think that’s exactly what it means! That makes sense. I’m glad we figured it out.” I put my cigarette out and we got up. “It’s really nice today compared to how it’s been. The sun is warm, and the air is dry.” I walked to the back door just outside my bedroom door, and grabbed the dog’s leashes hanging there. GaGa danced into her pink choke chain.
“I’m glad to hear that. I’m so sick of the humidity. My hair poofs and frizzes so bad.” Tanya was putting the leash on Hammy. We both straightened up from leashing them and headed out. We didn’t really speak much during our walks. We had to keep our eyes on where our feet would step, since we covered a lot of rugged ground. We also had to pay attention to what the dogs were doing. There was always glass, poison, or some other potential danger on the path, and seeing a squirrel was the least of our worries.
We start from our trailer, and once we left the park, we were walking north on Telegraph Road for about a mile. This was the busy thoroughfare we lived on. At this point my left hip was throbbing. This deep, slicing pain radiated with each stride. Bones and muscles so swollen they rubbed and ground on each other in all of the wrong ways. Pulsing lava shot straight down my leg all the way down to my big toe. Once we passed a liquor store, a diner, a florist and an Italian restaurant, we turned down a road that was half residential, with crab-apple trees lining that side, and a long sheet metal fence that went down the other side of the road all the way into the woods. By this time, the pain was muted, replaced a bit, with a good tingling feeing- almost like healing. The pain wouldn't return in earnest until I cooled down- locking me in a vice that returned with a vengeance. But during that time, we were in our own private dream world. After leaving the noise and din of traffic, this place had a surreal fairyland quality to it. There we would reach a huge duck pond that we walked around. There were usually geese and ducks in the pond, and a beautiful huge white Crane we called Frank. The air was scented with wild flowers, and dragonflies, moths and butterflies all danced and swooned next to us as we walked past all of the landscape. After we walked around the perimeter of the pond, we went straight in to the woods for another mile and a half of trails there. This was our favorite part. Maple, Oak, and Locust trees reach as far as seventy feet in the air, anf made me feel so small I half expected to see a giant lumbering past. The air was sweet. We saw deer, rabbit, skunks, squirrels, and too many birds to name. The woods cleared out into the trailer park, and our trailer was right on that edge.
There were mis-matched, tiny, ancient mobile homes were all packed tightly together only fifteen feet apart from each other. Even worse were the huge gaping holes in the park, where no new trailers had been moved in- a reflection of our economy. There were much more open space than there were antique, rotten mobile homes. Electric and gas meters sticking up out of the otherwise undisturbed earth were a grim reminder. Crackheads and other derilect people were wandering, or worse, fighting. Loud music would’ve been blaring, even at this early hour, while groups of people sat out next to their trailers in the road; drinking, or smoking any kind of dope they could get their hands on. Loud vehicles were being worked on, some were racing up and down the small streets making it impossible for children to play.
Looking at my beautiful daughter next to me, I was thankful that we never allowed her to play with most of the kids here. As sick as I was, would she have been over there by the creek with that group of kids smoking cigarettes? Looking at their dirty faces and threadbare clothes I barely suppressed a shudder. And what If I got killed? Or if the Cancer did it first? Where would my children end up in such a place?
Due to the severe case of lymphadema diagnosed at the age of 13, Overtop the super developed muscles I've been working so hard on for the last 30 years, there were essentially sacs of stagnant lymphatic fluid that my body refused to drain out. The reason for the huge muscles was because exercise was the only effective way to move any of this filthy stuff. Exercising everyday actually filtered the fluid through the muscles. This took up anywhere from 2-5 hours a day in the gym or working out at home. Some days more, some days less, but I always had to hit the gym a lot.
If I refused to work out like this, I would develop what the doctor called 'Elephant legs'. The extra fluid would sink into my legs and feet below the knees, crushing all of the bones within. This would be more painful than the constant training by far.
We returned home. Finishing my workout with step aerobics, weight training, plyometrics or kickboxing, showered and got ready to do any work lined up for that particular day. Sometimes it was just some housework, sometimes meeting a man that day to pay me for some kind of sexual act. I usually have to go to the doctor, or the library for books or research. There was always the shopping, or taking one of the kids to the many places kids have go.