Lying in the queen-sized bed with Lorna, I feel like a child. Although at twenty-five, I’m an adult, right now, I’m not. I am a child and she’s touching me. It hurts. Is it my heart or my soul where I feel it? I can’t tell. I’m repulsed. Repulsed by what she’s doing. And repulsed that I’m not stopping her. I want to. But I can’t speak. I’m scared. I’m scarred too. She can’t see the marks though. They’re on the inside. This is what my past has created for my present.
Earlier, when I returned from the bathroom, I told her I wasn’t in the mood for sex. After falling asleep following another shot of heroin, she’s woken me – for sex. When will she stop? How can I stop her?
I open my mouth. I thought I did but it’s not open. I make a sound in my throat. I can hear it. Lorna moans. She must think I’m moaning too, in pleasure. My jaw is rigid. I try to raise my arm. It won’t move. I’m stuck here. I feel a tear roll across the side of my face and into my hair.
“Mummy, help me,” I hear the child inside my head speak. I know I didn’t say those words. My mouth can’t make a sound. He said to be quiet. I have to keep quiet. If I don’t, he’ll do the same to my younger sisters and brother. I have to protect them. It’s my responsibility. I’m the eldest. Mummy won’t believe me. He told me that. He knows. He’s a grown-up. This is what all babysitters do. It’s true. Most of them do this to me. It’s my fault I don’t like it. I’m not normal. They’re helping make me normal.
“Enough!” I hear myself shout. Finally, I’ve found my voice.
“What’s wrong?” Lorna stops. Her face between my legs, she looks up at me.
“I want you to have this.” I wiggle the Russian wedding ring off my middle finger. I take her ring finger and force it on.
“What’s that for?”
“I just want to say thank you for last night. That’s all.”
The light’s coming through the full-length, navy curtains. It’s last night now. I can call it that, can’t I? It can be over.
“Thank you, Nicole.” Lorna shuffles her body down the bed again.
I squeeze my thighs together, closing the gap. “I need to get ready.” I leap from the bed and sprint into the bathroom.
After I’ve showered and washed my hair, I feel like I’ve removed every trace of Lorna from my body. Not just the outside, the inside feels clean again too. Though I can still feel her mouth on my vagina, I know the sensation will disappear in a few days. I won’t think about last night like that again. It was a good night. That’s all I’ll remember. The details will fade into nothing. I won’t remember how she touched me – I won’t be re-feeling that feeling. It’ll be like it never happened. I have a skill. These things I can blank out. If I don’t like someone touching me then I don’t remember. I can do that. That’s another present created by my past.
Lorna’s chatting to me as I apply my make-up in the bathroom mirror. I’m not listening. I’m concentrating on concealing the blemishes that are covering my face. Someone meeting me now would never believe that people used to tell me I could be a model. I wonder if my looks will come back if I can stop using smack. It’s immaterial. Tonight has proven I can’t.
Dressed in my bikini and jean shorts, I pick up my Gucci bag from the chair by the bureau. I throw it over my shoulder then slip on my stilettos. I always wear high heels. Shelley used to slate me for never wearing flats. Even for a walk in the park, I’d be stilettos. She never knew, but the truth is I feel safer when I’m taller.
From my suite on the second floor, me and Lorna walk downstairs to the hotel lobby. We stop on the street. I say goodbye.
“I’ll see you back here at five,” Lorna says, walking away.
I don’t remember agreeing to that.