Monday, June 22, 2015

Prose, Poem, Prostitute

Based on her true story.


I.

She was a minor when the raid happened. Videotaped dancing naked onstage. On national TV news with her soon-to-be-lady parts pixelated along with her face. The raid, led by an international-something agency, was conducted to rescue them and arrest the perpetrators of a major offense. 

Brought with the other victims to a facility of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), she was the most defiant and engaged the department secretary in a shouting match. Innocent and ignorant perhaps of her own exploited innocence and underagedness -- and all its criminal implications and liabilities -- she demanded tearfully for her immediate freedom to work for food as she knew how.

II.

Under the government agency's custody, she -- they -- soon found out she was pregnant with her then-lover's child. They advised her to sue him: statutory rape. She refused; he was her lover.

She threatened abortion, giving them more reason to keep and watch over her.

She seriously considered adoption, till she gave birth and saw the face of her firstborn and decided to keep and raise her baby daughter.

III.

They were protected, trained in livelihood skills, and rehabilitated.

Upon her release, she soon found out that he was immigrating somewhere to North America.

Upon her release, she worked at various odd jobs, barely supporting herself and her daughter (whom she sent off to live with her family somewhere in Southern Philippines).

Months after her release, she was back in the oldest profession. Anyway, she would soon be of major age.

IV.

She prefers it here in a provincial city, where the bar owner gives her, them, the option to refuse takeout service. She prefers it here in a provincial city, unlike in Metro Manila where the bar owners compel her, them, to render takeout service. (Who knows what lurking monster or monsters will end up with her, alone in a secret den.)

She worked in one of the classier and higher paying joints in the big city, though. But she wouldn't go back there as it is humiliating: It is always assumed that those who left that high-end brothel "successfully" married their rich customers, or "progressed" into kept women. 

V.

She tried her hand in swine raising, in her home city, but found it difficult to earn only every three months, when the hogs are grown and ready for sale. (She had, and has, full-grown pigs for company every night. One of which was 66 years old, and it just didn't stand a chance.)

VI.

Her breasts and nipples caressed, to check if they've grown numb after all the hands and tongues that have lain on them. Each tip pinched hard, and she whimpered each time. She said she'd kiss only when drunk, but obliged and her kisses were sweet enough pre-drunk. Twenty-four years old and still beautiful. She wants out before she reaches and looks 30, when demand in their industry slows down inevitably, significantly.

Back in Metro Manila, the DSWD gathered homeless street dwellers off the streets; among them where the apartment she rented, stood. And she had opened her gate to a fleeing mother and child, every time, to spare them from measly meals served at the government facility. 

VII.

There are months when she could afford a vacation, and lives in her home city with her mother and now six-year-old daughter. There she mostly stays at home, in plain shirt and pants. There in their poor neighborhood, she knows women who are regularly fetched by the mayor's aides. She refuses to be one of them.

She doesn't want her daughter to think that she's that kind of woman.

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This work is republished at Pacifiqa as a photo essay (with beautiful photos!), and retitled as She doesn't want her daughter to think she's that kind of woman.

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