Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects. – Will Smith
Three years has since passed and l am nowhere near transforming into a phoenix. Reselling proved to be difficult in an economy were money was in short supply. People struggled to pay and the little business l had started took a nose dive. Rent had to be paid and food to be bought l became what married woman despised and what respectable mothers encouraged their daughters not to become. A prostitute a commercial sex worker and other derogatory words one can come up with.
“Don’t worry Rachel it will get easier. Give it time okay” Belinda advised as she held me the first time l went out with a customer. Not wanting people to readily identify me l went by my middle name instead.
That day was the longest night of my night. Didn’t matter if l lay there like a frozen chicken it didn’t stop him. The whole day l couldn’t stop bathing trying to wash away his scent my shame and my guilt.
What else was there for me when the world had closed all of its doors? For a while l couldn’t sleep or look at myself in the mirror. Belinda promised it will get better but with the type of men l met it never did.
To make it another day before depression killed me l had grown a second skin created another more resilient Rachel with a sturdier mind. Sensitive Rachel took a back seat every time l stepped into that club and Ruby took over.
The first years went by so slowly but l saved enough to move out of Belinda’s flat and into my own space which happened to be a bedroom at the back of this widow’s house.
The place was small in a noisy neighbourhood and very bare but l didn’t care. It made me so proud every time l bought a piece of furniture. To know l didn’t wait around for life to defeat me and faced it head on gave me some sense of peace and control.
My mother had taught me to pray and never to forget that the Almighty looked after His own children. Say what you will but l wholeheartedly believed that He did look out me. I wasn’t living on the streets but this ‘work’ had its own dangers.
“What are you wearing tonight?” Belinda asked. Our favourite jazz musician was having a show in town tonight and she had shown up so we could dress up together. There was no way we were missing that.
“I have no idea but was thinking we stay simple. It’s not like we are there to work right
“We might not be working but this is the first time we will be looking hot for ourselves Rachel. There is no way l will go out in jeans.” Yeah Belinda can be diva sometimes.
“Seriously you want to be in heels the whole night?” Heels today and heels the entire weekend at work!? Hell no! I’m okay with sneakers.
“Okay not heels but it doesn’t stop me wait us from looking good. Please Rachel you know l can’t be looking good and you looking like you are confused about your sexuality.”
“Haa Belinda I’m gay now? Really?” l frowned at her. It’s hard to believe Belinda is three years older than me sometimes. She can be so childish. Guess comes with skipping childhood altogether.
Belinda always says my clothes make me look like lm a boy. Maybe jeans and huge t-shirts were not flattering but they were very comfortable when l didn’t need to be flattering.
“Yes Rachel so what will you wear?” she insisted.
“I don’t know maybe that dress you like so much.”
The dress in question is one l designed a black lace tube top held up by colourless straps with a flared skirt and a gold African print that reached my knees. My love for designing always gave my mind a distraction. Looking at the dress I’m contemplating wearing my black wedges with gold glitter on the toes.
“That dress that giant height and amazing body will have you looking like a model Rachel seriously.”
Yeah right not with these curves.
As much as l wanted to feel confident in this dress it still was ingrained in me to feel dirty low class. A beautiful dress could not hide what l was.
“What do you think l should wear?” she asked excitedly. I should have known this was the real reason she wanted to come here. In my spare time l would make clothes for both of us. And since we were almost the same size she had a tendency to raid my closet.
Belinda doesn’t even wait for my ideas and proceeds to lay waste to my clothes in my tiny wardrobe. She finally settles on an off shoulder long white dress with beautiful black embroidery on the waist.
I had initially bought the dress in a thrift shop to get do some alterations l imagined. Now too gorgeous on Belinda to even consider butchering it l figured it was the perfect birthday gift for her.
Living on a budget we couldn’t afford fancy hairstyles. We would always go for braids because they were easier to maintain and restyle. Wearing minimal make up and jewellery we were ready for the night.