Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Keep me strong, I’m not done yet!

It is a very wintry night; she is cold, her legs are looking purple and her whole body is shaking. She needs to pretend, to look as attractive as possible and hide the sadness of her heart with a forced smile. Everybody is hurrying home; the pedestrians hardly notice her standing there hour after hour. This is her place; she has been working on the same spot for the last five years, after being dismissed from the private club. At the beginning it was very tough but then she became at ease with it. Some people stare at her with antipathy, judging, assuming, but she is immune to them. Before it used to get under her skin and made her cry for the injustice committed, but not anymore. With bitterness she says to herself: “They need more than this to put me down, I’m a fighter, I do not give up that easily!”

In cold nights like this one, she likes to recapture the memory of her first love as this warms her heart and eases her sorrows. The musing lights her face up, disguising the early wrinkles, flushing her pale skin and bringing her to life. This is most likely the only happy reminiscence she has; it is her secret, her treasure, her hope and faith.
“Angie you are beautiful, I love you and will always do”, he used to say every morning before leaving for work. She was his world, life, his everything! But she was young, beautiful and naive. Everybody kept telling her that she deserved better and was wasting her time with a guy like him. One day a good looking man approached her and introduced himself as the owner of a very important modeling agency. She felt thrilled when he said that he was in the middle of a casting searching for the next “super model” and that he believed she could make it. He talked for a very long time, filling her head with promises of an exciting life far, far away…
Angie forces herself to stop recalling the past; there is no point in going through everything again. But despite her efforts the memories pull her back. She remembers how they took her passport and the money, then the rape and the pictures taken… She couldn’t escape and became a sexual slave of one of the private clubs. Now she is working the streets for one of the local pimps, since she is too old and ugly for the club; years of drugs, alcohol and physical abuse had taken a toll on her…
“Good morning Sister Mary, it is time for the prayers, hurry up please” she is softly awakened by someone… Angie looks around trying to see where she is, then smiles while realizing she is in her room; at once dismisses her dreams and asks God: “Why do you keep bringing them back to me, as if I need to be reminded? Do not worry; I will not let any of us down!” Saying that, she starts heading to the Chapel...
While walking fast she is thinking that today is going to be another long day; ten new young girls were brought by the police the day before. She must assign them some duties to keep their minds busy, and then they will all go to group therapy and so on… Mary knows very well the whole process but still gets excited and is never tired or has the intention of giving up. The success rate is not as high as she wishes but it is getting better and better.
The end result is still on the hands of the young girls and boys; it is up to them to take the chance and accept the helping hand. Change came late into Mary’s life, but it came! She still remembers very well the day she decided to take the risk and change things around, aware that it was time to stop feeling sorry for herself and do something about it. She could use her struggle, pain, and knowledge of the human trafficking system to fight it back and help its victims. She knew she could not stop it, but she also knew that change must start somewhere.
That day, instead of walking to her working spot, she took the bus to the small town nearby. She walked with decision to the Convent and met the Sister in charge; after a long talk she joined the congregation to be close to God and changed her name to Mary.
It took her a while to gain the strength to go to the police and begin her fight, knowing that many of the police members were involved. Then with the help of a local NGO she finally found her way, she knew how the system worked, names and places and used all that to fight them back.
Sister Mary is very happy and thankful for all her blessings; she is in the right path and fulfilling her life purpose. Thanks to her past she can now help others. Every soul saved, every criminal behind bars fills her heart with joy. She has been fighting for over 20 years and helped to rescue hundreds of young girls and boys. She is aware that the road ahead is still long and rough…
Mary pauses before walking into the Chapel, she looks at Virgin Mary’s statue and in silent prays: “Keep me strong, I’m not done yet!”

© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author

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Anonymous said...

Gabby, you amaze me with your thought stories full of insight. Thank God that it was a dream and now she is reformed.

I like it so much


Tazilinda said...

This is a very touching story, i was at a convent for most of my school years and there were always rumours that the nuns were former prostitues, divorcees or widows.
What i've realised is that it doesn't matter where they came from, they're human and they were given a second chance at life to be better people who contributed greatly to my life and the lives of most of my school mates.
Its great that you brought out this issue and I hope many more people can see that life doesn't always have to continue along a negative can always start afresh and save many more lives!

Maria José Centeno said...

No hay mas cruda vida..y sus diferentes caras..depende claro que cara queremos dar!Me gusta...besos

Gabriela Abalo said...

@ Antony,
thank you very much for your comment and usual support.

Gabriela Abalo said...

@ Tazi
Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.

There are many Angie and Mary in this world, we shall embrace all of them.
In this story I wanted to show the other side of the coin, one of the possible reasons behind prostitution – human trafficking. This is happening every day and we should all do something about it.


Gabriela Abalo said...

@ Maria José

Muchas gracias por tu soporte, aquí seguiremos con muchas más historias, aun queda mucho por contar.


Sherry Bakhtian said...

I love your stories, I never know where they are going and I like that! They keep me coming back for more.


Gabriela Abalo said...

Glad to hear that dear Sherry! Please keep coming for more.