I’ve written about Melissa here before. In an odd kind of way, we’ve become friends. I know what she does for a living and very often, I feel scared for her and what she’s doing. Melissa is a prostitute in Covington, Kentucky.
On this Monday morning two weeks ago, she was sitting on one of the bus benches in front of Walgreens on Madison Avenue. She smiled when she saw me.
“You gotta an extra cigarette?” she asked. “I can get you back later.”
I sit down beside her and gave her the smoke knowing she would indeed pay me back later. Melissa has never lied to me.
“I got a mean toothache going on this morning,” she said. “I got some pain pills but I don’t wanta take any. I can sell them later if I have to.”
I watched her smoke and I listened to her talk. She said she’s been off the crack for three full days. I could tell she was proud of that.
Melissa asked about my kids. She’s seen both of them as she used to live in the same apartment building as me with her mother. She told me I have good looking children.
“You got any kids?” I asked.
“I got eight kids,” she replied.
“Yeah, eight of them,” she said. “I’ve never been married, don’t see them much anymore.”
Melissa looks like a kid herself but I believed what she was telling me. Again, she doesn’t lie.
I watched her eyes water up in tears. At first I thought maybe it was memories about her children but it was something else.
“Man, this tooth!” she said. “I can hardly stand it.”
“Come with me,” I said, getting up from the bus bench. “I got some Tylenol back at my place. I’ll give you some for your tooth.”
We made the short walk back to my apartment. Melissa was still in tears because of the pain in her tooth. We both walked as fast as we could.
We entered my apartment and I went to my bathroom to get the Tylenol bottle.
“I’m going to give you three of them,” I said, walking over to Melissa who was standing in the kitchen. “These are extra strength, so you should probably only take one at a time.”
I reached into my refrigerator and handed her a bottle of water along with the three Tylenols. Melissa put all three of them in her mouth and washed them down with the water.
She thanked me and then said, “I gotta go. Time is money.” I knew exactly what she meant.
And I haven’t seen Melissa since. Whenever I go up to that Walgreens on Madison Avenue, I look for her but she’s not around. I’ve asked some of the other ladies in the same line of work if they know where she is. They haven’t seen her either. I no longer know where your mother lives.
There isn’t much I can do about this except keep looking for her as best I can and hope she’s all right. I feel frustrated about her life and what she’s doing. Really, I barely know her at all, but I worry.
I find myself thinking about her kids. I wonder what their names are.
(Image found on Google)