Friday, November 6, 2009

To the young woman I met across the street from the library at the corner of Laura and Monroe who referred to herself as a whore

To the young woman I met across the street from the main public library at the corner of Laura and Monroe who referred to herself as a whore:

First of all, thank you for taking time out of your day to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me, but most of all, thank you for sharing your narrative with me.

Allow me to clear something up, though. When you first approached me, I knew exactly what you were and why you were there. And even with the wig and through the garish make-up, I could tell you were a lot younger than you claimed to be. Also, within minutes of speaking with you, I also realized that you might be wrestling with an addiction of some kind.

But as you told me, looks can sometimes be deceiving. Despite my appearance, despite my deportment, I am not as naïve as you believe me to be. Green was the word you used, wasn’t it? However, if I appeared to recoil just a bit, if I appeared stunned, it was because never have I witnessed someone speak of themselves with such derision, with such contempt. What is it you called yourself? A whore?

But I must ask you a question that has vexed me to no end this evening. Why did you agree to sit with me? Why me? Why did you not just walk away once you realized that I was not in the market for what you were selling? Why, in the middle of the afternoon, did you feel the need to announce what you perceive yourself to be?

Why could we not have continued our conversation, continued to talk, to laugh, to just enjoy the company of another human being without you ever telling me? More than anything, it sounded like a confession. Why?

And certainly, why did you, why would you, tell me those things you told me about yourself, your history, your life. Perfect strangers usually do not reveal so much about themselves so quickly.

But in response to your question, I have no earthly idea why people treat one another the way they do. I do not know how a father could take such liberty with his daughter, and I certainly do not know how a mother could then turn that daughter out into the street.

Additionally, I do not know why people are so keen to take advantage of the most vulnerable, those most in need of help, of comfort. It is all unfathomable to me.

Yet, I could see how this might tear a person apart. I can see how this might make one feel utterly worthless, how it might cause one to abuse themselves, to abase themselves over and over again, until they no longer know or recognize themselves.

I can see how it could make one pour out their heart to a perfect stranger who offers you only a smile and a kind word and a cup of coffee outside at sidewalk café.

But I wish I could get you to see what I saw; I wish I could find the words to say or the magic button to push that might help you realize that you are worth much more than the 20 dollars or the 50 dollars or the 100 dollars or however much you receive for selling your soul and sanity bit by bit in tiny increments.

I wish I knew how to convince you to love yourself and allow yourself to be loved; however, it suddenly dawns on me after contemplating your narrative that perhaps, just perhaps, you have never actually known love or felt love and probably would not recognize love because you have no frame of reference.

But you have my business card, so call me. You have my cell number, my office number, my home number, so call me. If you need someone to talk to or have coffee with, call me. If you are hungry or have no place to stay, call me.

If you are frightened, if you feel so frustrated, so utterly defeated that you would like to beat your fists against the wall until they bleed or pull your hair out by the roots, if you get tired of the life you are leading, call me, call me, please call me. I would like to be your friend.

If you do not call me for your sake, call me for my own; until I know that you are somewhere safe, that you are off the street, that you believe yourself to be something besides a whore, I will be besides myself with worry.

I am thinking of you, and my family is praying for you. And most of all, I wish you heaven.

Max

13 comments:

curlykidz said...

request for diverse Children’s Books: http://wp.me/p4dnb-EV

curlykidz said...

Max, I commented on this earlier... but this is not what I commented... ?!?!?!

*MaRiNa* said...

Wow..you have, I don't know how to say this, an interesting soul?

msladydeborah said...

People often tell their stories to strangers because it is easy to unload the burden for the moment. In reality, you may see that person again-but in many cases, you probably won't.

I have had people share their stories with me. When we have parted company, I have wondered why was I the one at that moment? The only answer that I've every come up with was this: I was in the moment and it was meant to happen that way.

I hope that this young woman has an opportunity to see herself in a different light. Maybe she will call you-maybe she won't. Only time will tell.

Toya said...

You have such a wonderful heart...there needs to be more caring people like you Max..you always see the individual and not the circumstance. That's a gift! You are a fine example for men and for your children. I hope you are always that way.

Lyn Marie said...

Your post is a reminder that it only takes a moment and open heart and mind to recognize the humanity in all of us. It's so easy to pass judgment on people and their choices, all the while forgetting how human we all our.

It was a blessing to read this. Thank you.

vincee101 said...

Max, I think that young woman saw you for what you are. She needed a respite from what her life is right now and there you were.

Think of the number of people she'll come across in a day who'll partake of her services and go on their merry way. Never considering the continued damage to her humanity.

She spotted you because she read you from a distance. You were right where you needed to be for her at that moment.

Many talk a good game only to falter when it's time to deliver. You obeyed the call. Which is all you could do right then.

The rest is up to her.

RiPPa said...

C'mon dawg, you know she was sizing you up! She spoke to you as long as she did because she knew deep in her heart that for a brother like you that's what it takes.

Now see? She has your number and alladat, so don't say anything when she continues the sales pitch.

LOL!

Kim said...

LOL @ Rippa...and I mean real loud!

FreeMan said...

I once coaxed a stray cat out from under a car when I was a kid. Everyone tried to get it out but it would hiss and scratch at it. I just crawled under and put my hand out and it came to me. It started licking my neck but I was a kid so I gave it some hotdogs and bologna.

I went inside and asked my mother why did the cat come to me and my mother said "even scared and fearsome looking animals are looking for someone who genuinely wants to help"

Whether it was a con or she was reaching out you were there to offer comfort and treat her like a woman. Offering her coffee and talking and respecting her like a human. While the world takes advantage of her you were the hope that it doesn't have to be this way. So whether she calls or not at that moment you maybe the only thing she remembers as bright spot in a overall shitty life when she decides to get out!

The Seeker said...

Hello Max, Bloghopping and landed here. felt good reading this.. it is a reminder, a re-assurance of love. And you're a wonderful person

Reggie said...

Max you're not only one helluva human being; but you're an excellent blogologist as well!!!

This is disturbing and thought provoking all at the same time, excellent post!!!

md20737 said...

You have a huge huge heart.. Im not a big TP fan but this story reminds of the movie that Derrik Luke and Keshia Knicht Pulliam were in. This is how it started he found her on the streets and helped to rehabilitate her and her show her love.

If we all could open our hearts more often like you did to this young woman the relationships between the black man and woman would be stronger. It would make it harder to break down our family structures and we have less "whores". Thanks for sharing this.

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