The man sitting alone at the end of the bar doesn’t remind me of anyone I know, it’s important he’s a stranger, he had been staring for a while, sent a drink over. His pale skin gives him away as a foreigner, I wonder what he’s searching for, what he had to leave to find it. I walk to take a seat beside him, place my glass on the counter, lean in and whisper “Look at this body, it’s for sale”
He furrows his brow, looks down at my lap, rests his eyes on my breasts. He reaches for my waist, wedding band gleaming, right hand never leaving the liquor, eyes never meeting mine “How much?”
“It depends on the day, some days for a message, some days the rent”
He pauses, his gaze meets mine and he laughs “What kind of message?”
All kinds. Somedays it helps not to think about it, other days it’s reminder that I’m reckless and nothing matters, or just my faith in strangers being better than a home.
He takes a swig, “I’d rather pay the rent. You’re a strange salesperson”
“I’m not working today, just hate drinking alone”
“You talk too much for this business”
I laugh “I’ve been told”
He’s back to staring me in the eyes “I can ask you anything”
“How long have you been doing this”
“Went full-time a couple of months back, but somehow my whole life”
“In a way we’re all in this business, going full time taught me it’s never truly a one-sided exchange, even when I get the money. Sometimes the buyer sells much more to me; fidelity, loneliness, grief, guilt, loss, heavy stuff.”
“You’re fucking with me” he leans forward, hand on my neck, placing his lips on mine.
I don’t stop him.