One morning last week, I was up early. It was one of those warm days and I had some running around to do. I figured if I got this stuff done early, I wouldn’t have to be outside when the temperature would be approaching 100 degrees.
Walking down Madison Avenue in Covington, I walked by the Madison Theatre. Someone yelled “Hey Larry” from behind me.
I turned around. It was Melissa. I’ve written about her here before. If you read this blog, you know that. You also know she’s a prostitute here in Covington and I’ve been worried about her. I haven’t seen her in days.
“Where have you been?” I asked. “I thought something had happened to you.” Actually I felt like giving her a hug but I didn’t.
“I moved to Newport,” Melissa said.
“You could have told me,” I replied.
“I’m still over here a lot,” she said. “My regulars are still here.”
I smiled at her not knowing what to say next.
“Hey, you got a cigarette?” she asked. Like always, I reached into my shirt pocket and gave her one.
“I gotta go,” Melissa said. “I’ll catch up with you later.”
Catching up later was the next afternoon. I was at the bus stop across the street from Walgreens. I was heading across the river to Cincinnati to go to CityBeat to pick up a book I’m reading and reviewing. I saw Melissa coming out of the store. She saw me and walked across the street.
Melissa was wearing super short shorts and a tight white T-shirt. I may be old but I’m not blind. She wasn’t wearing a bra. She was giving me an eyeful.
“Got a cigarette?” she wanted to know. Like always, I gave her one, but in the past, Melissa would always return the favor and pay me back on the smokes. Now I was giving more than I was receiving.
She touched my shoulder. “Feel like being friendly this afternoon?” she said. I just looked at her.
“We could get out of this heat, go to your apartment and have a little fun.”
“Melissa, we’re friends.”
“I know, but with this hot, shitty weather, I ain’t getting much business,” she said. “Come on, I’ll give you a friendly discount.”
“No, Melissa,” I said. “I want to keep things the way they are.”
“You got a couple bucks I could borrow?” Right then, I knew this was about money and not much else.
“I have bus fare,” I said. “That’s all I have.”
I could see the bus coming. So could Melissa. She gave me a kiss on the forehead and walked away.
Now, some days later, I’m still thinking of Melissa. I’m wishing I had never run into her in front of the Madison Theatre or the next day at the bus stop. I’m wishing things could go back to the way it was before that last exchange with her.
I thought we were friends. I don’t want to be one of her “Johns.”
I feel like she sucked me in, and then thought she could use me. Of course, if we had gone back to my apartment, I would really be using her. Why would she think I would want to do that?
I lied to her that afternoon when she asked for a couple dollars. I had some extra money, but right after she “approached” me, I felt my walls going up.
I know what some of you are thinking. I don’t know her. That’s true—but I wanted to trust her. Yep, I wanted to trust a prostitute. Now, I don’t.
Changes are, I’ll be seeing her again soon and I don’t know what I’ll say or do. All I know right now is I’m disappointed and that the friendship I had with her was mostly in my head.
(Photo from theuntz.com)