I live in an unusual neighbourhood. I’m a five minute drive from the most expensive real estate in town and I’m a ten minute walk from one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods with the most vulnerable people. As someone who claims to care for all of our brothers and sisters, I know I’m hypocritical when I wish our liquor store was in the good neighbourhood. But it’s not and I’m aware of my hypocrisy.
I was riding my bike in the bad neighbourhood and I saw a prostitute. She was half a block off the main strip. It was raining lightly. She was very pretty. She seemed to be from a Caribbean country. I was drawn to her immediately, but not in any sexual way. I was worried for her.
My first question was, Are you safe? Do you feel safe? Her answers were vague. I asked her if she had someone that kept her safe. Again, vague.
She actually expressed satisfaction in her job though I’d guess there’s an immeasurable amount of psychological trauma surrounding her line of work. I asked her what she liked about it. It wasn’t sex. It was being in cars. She liked being in cars. Fuck.
She asked me what I would like. I told her I was unemployed and that I spend most of my money at the liquor store. She asked me how old I was. She guessed ten years younger than I am. There ya go. Me riding through a shitty neighbourhood on my bike, with a paper bag of vodka in a light rain and I felt uplifted by a prostitute who thought I looked younger than I am. Or said as much.
But I’m glad I spoke with her. She is no less important a person than you or me. She’s simply taken some wrong roads. Or has been directed toward some wrong roads. I hope she has a safe place to sleep tonight. And maybe tomorrow, rather than some dorky guy coming from the liquor store, she meets some one who changes her life. Who saves her. Or helps her save herself. Because I know, I know, in the five minutes I spoke with her, she is worth saving. We’re all worth saving. We are all worth saving.