In response to the Daily Post writing prompt The Road Less Travelled
Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.
“Are you sure? There are other ways.”
Tara chuckled. There were no other ways. She sniffed, the powder rushing through her nostrils and directly into her blood stream, into her brain. She sighed, as she laid back on the sofa, her eyes rolling into their sockets. She could almost visualize it: the white powder travelling through her breathing passage into her lungs and then being pumped everywhere. She giggled. The hands on her body tickled her, until they didn’t. Her response was always the same. That was the reason for the drugs. She couldn’t do it otherwise. But she needed the money; she needed it for the drugs. And the drugs made it possible to get the money. It was an endless cycle. It looped around itself.
Thoughts scattered with the sensations the hands created. She was touch and desire; it didn’t matter that she didn’t remember what her client looked like. He might have been the ugliest or the most handsome man, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that – thanks to the drugs – she could only feel. Every sensation was multiplied. That allowed pleasure and pleasure gave release. And in the release, she found that one moment in time. And every time she made the same choice. Somehow though not that time.
She’d loved Greg; he was the one guy who could make her do anything he wanted. She’d first skipped class because he wanted to get out of there and hang out. She’d smoked her first cigarette with him, because he thought it was sexy. And then her first joint. And the pot hit her like a ton of brick; she’d been thirsty and horny. She’d slept with him; every time they were together they’d smoke and she would go deeper. She’d discovered her kinks with him; and she’d enjoyed it. And then there was that night when she became what she was today. She’d tried cocaine, and was hooked. The sensations had been so intense, so… mind blowing. She’d become the whore to his pimp that night. She’d embraced it. Every time before, she’d enjoyed the memory: that was what she was. His whore. But it was different this time.
Instead of being completely stone on the couch, lounging and not realizing that two guys had entered his house without so much as a knock, she turned to him, to see that he wasn’t at all stone like he pretended to be. His eyes held something manipulative, calculating.
“What the hell Greg? Who are those guys? I thought it was you and me.”
“Calm down honey. They’re here for some fun. I asked them to bring me some new trip. You’re going to love it.”
They set up some bags of powder on the table: cocaine. She hesitated. She never felt in control with Greg around; more often than not she enjoyed relinquishing control. She didn’t have to think with him around. But there was something she feared in the presence of these men. If she stayed, she would change forever. Somehow she felt it deeply.
“No. Greg; I can’t. The pot, yes, the mushrooms fine. LSD was a trip but it was almost too much. There’s got to be more to life than this. I’m going home.”
She stood up, slightly dizzy, grabbed her coat.
“If you leave,” Greg said in a tone she’d never heard him use with her – it was venomous – “Don’t expect to be welcome back.”
That hurt. A lot. But she knew she had to go. She knew that staying would be worse.
“If that’s what you want.”
She left. And returned home, walking the mile that separated his house from hers. Everything was blurred. Was she crying? Probably. She loved Greg more than life; and she essentially just got dumped. She was a mess. She must look awful. When she opened the door, her father called.
“Tara, is that you?”
Her father came into the entrance, as if he’d heard the despair in her voice. He paled when he saw her.
“Honey? What happened?”
“Greg and I are broken up.”
Something like relief passed in her father’s eyes and then sorrow.
“I’m sorry honey.”
And he hugged her, as she started crying. He held her close for a long time. When Jenny came in, they were still kneeling in the entrance. She must have made a face for her father answered.
“She and Greg broke up.”
“Good.” Her sister said. What a cold bitch! “He was going to turn her into a junkie. Probably pimping her out to make money too.”
“What?” Jenny knelt and hugged her too. “I know it’s hard Tara, but that guy’s bad news. He was going to hurt you, make you into something you’re not.”
She didn’t believe her but that was ok. But over the following weeks, going through withdrawal symptoms, she came to understand she might have been wrong about Greg. First, he replaced her within a week: she wasn’t that surprised, he was after all very good looking. Second, within a month, while Tara was slowly catching up with her courses and grades, the girl, Heather, – who’d never missed school – started skipping classes, just like she had. Then, while Tara’s mind seemed to emerge from its long sleep and she was able to grab a scholarship for Yale, Heather was seen smoking on the parking lot and in clothes that even Tara hadn’t worn at school, though she did when with Greg. Then just after graduation, she heard the girl overdosed at a party where she’d been having sex with multiple partners.
Tara watched, as her dream self went on to be valedictorian of her law program and become a talented lawyer helping drug addicts get out of the system, get help instead of jail time. And then watched as her dream Tara helped prosecute and sentence Gregory Stomper, alias the “Stud”, head of a drug and prostitution ring. As police officers came to arrest him, he turned to her with a wicked smile.
“You’d have been my finest whore if you hadn’t left that night. Mine forever.”
As she came down from her peak, Tara looked down at the man who was now putting on his clothes. He’d spent inside her, something Greg demanded she accept. Only she, of all his girls, had to do it. She was the first. But somehow it tasted bitter in her mouth today. Could she truly have walked away? Could she have changed her fate in that one moment in time? She doubted it. She kept the smile on her face; she knew he was watching, filming probably. She was always the one he used for especially rich clients. She was the best. Because he’d trained her. It came to her, a sudden insight: he’d broken her, made her into his willing tool with the drugs. The man looked at her, and he seemed so sad. She accompanied him to the door and there, as he bent to kiss her, he whispered.
“Your father and sister miss you Tara. Ten years is a long time. There’s a way out.”
He placed some money in her bra, but within it was a business card.
She bit her lips. And laughed throatily – she had her back to the camera but the mic would pick it up. He laughed too, understanding showing in his eyes. And she whispered.
“I’m not sure I can. I’ll try.”
He nodded. And left. She returned to the table… lit up a cigarette and smoked, while she made a show of counting the money he’d left. Once she memorized the name and number – something she was lucky to still be able to do – she went to the bathroom and flushed the card down the toilet. She’d leave tonight after Greg fell asleep.