“Find the girl with a broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay awhile…and she will belong to you….”
It hits me differently sitting surrounded by men who have done just that to women residing in a city to try to provide for hurting families in the countryside.
Haunting lyrics. Maybe they were intended to be, but this context colors my view anew.
My dear sweet friends, who cuddle my children while snacking together enjoying the company of the few who treat them with humanity.
I see their eyes. I know their broken smiles.
I know their stories.
Stories flood me . . . (mixed and tweaked to respect those who shared)
Of arranged marriages to abusive men.
Of how running meant leaving her babies forever.
Of her dilemma in having hid her children from her suitor who now wants to whisk her off to his land
Of those clients who pressure for a condom-less night, risking both her health and livelihood
Of managing several paying clients each deceived and believing he is her one and only
Of the humility of her partner’s cheating and the powerlessness from her own shame in knowing she was once ‘one of those’ he used
Of the sheer loneliness of being partnered with a man who pays her rent and visits full of entitlements
Of the racism towards her child due to harbored jealousy at her good fortune in conceiving with a foreign man.
I hurt for everyone. He & She.
Some women find miracles. It is a grace that defies our natural way.
Others don’t. Miracles aren’t the norm. More often, she continues sifting through the drunks to find a man with enough character to pay her retirement. Some clients like the charade of a mutual relationship. They play along, until vacation is over and real life pressures them away.
Abandoned again. She sits back up. Washes off her pain and re-hopes. She dresses herself in those items that dehumanize, enters the bar prepared to find Mr. Right this time. Hoping against the odds that this is the last time she will shut out her heartbreak to continue on.