I open my eyes. I’m in a blue bedroom, ocean colour blue. Pink Floyd posters line the wall opposite me. I’m lying in a double bed. I lift up the duvet, peering underneath. I’m completely naked – no knickers, nothing.
Whose bedroom is this? Did I sleep here alone? I slide my fingers between my legs. I rub myself. Bringing my hand up under my nose, I sniff my fingers. I smell of sex. I feel sick in my stomach. I feel sick in my throat. I’m going to throw up.
Rolling out the bed, I look on the carpet for my clothes. They’re not there. I run out the bedroom, naked. This landing is not the landing I saw last night at the party. The bathroom door is open. I throw myself on the white floor tiles. On my knees, head over the toilet, I vomit.
I wipe my eyes with toilet paper. I blow my nose. I rinse my mouth with water from the sink. I run the shower. I need to feel clean. I’ve had sex and I don’t know who’s fucked me. Did they use a condom? I might have caught a disease. I’m sure they’ll find something when I get checked at the clinic, if not from using Lorna’s syringe the other night then from this.
I doubt I’ve been paid, but maybe I was. While I’m waiting for the shower to run hot, I return to the bedroom. My hobo bag is on a wooden chair. I check my purse. There’s four hundred and twenty dollars inside. I’m sure that’s what I had in there yesterday. I haven’t been paid. I’ve had sex with a man for free. Perhaps it wasn’t a man. It could’ve been a woman. That won’t be so bad but it isn’t as likely. Most women wouldn’t have sex with someone as drunk as I was last night.
Back on the landing, I can hear voices coming from downstairs. I’m going to have to go down at some point. I can’t stay up here forever. I tiptoe into the bathroom. I step into the bath and get under the shower. I turn up the heat. The water has to be as hot as I can take it. It’s the only way.
There’s a sponge on the side of the bath. It doesn’t look clean. How can I scrub myself? Tears are making their way into my eyes. I need to scrub my body. I have to scrub it. Ten or so times, I wash the sponge with shower gel under the scorching water. It’s not as clean as I want it to be but it’ll have to do.
I wash my hair three times then finish with conditioner. While the conditioner’s working, I scrub my body thoroughly and rinse. I rinse my hair. Then I scrub my body again. I rinse. I do it again, and rinse. I do it again, and again, and again, until my skin feels raw and I can’t bear the heat and the rawness any longer. I don’t even know who I’ve been washing off me. I don’t feel clean. I need to know who it was and what happened. That should help. Knowing should help. I hope it does.
I sniff the towels that are lying over the bathroom radiator. The black one doesn’t smell of anyone. It smells of fabric conditioner. Wrapped in the towel, I sneak out of the bathroom onto the landing and back inside the blue bedroom. With the door shut, I look around for my clothes. There’s a pile of clothes in the corner by the window. I rummage around and find my underwear and my black skirt and purple top in amongst them.
Before stepping into my knickers, I sniff them. I don’t want to wear them if they smell of sex. Thankfully, they smell clean. Fully dressed, I rub my hair with the towel. I slip on my six-inch heels then return to the bathroom. I replace the towel over the radiator.
Standing in front of the mirror, I open my handbag. I have mascara with me because last night Lorna wouldn’t wait for me to finish my make up before we left my hotel. I apply my mascara then dig in my bag for a lip gloss. I sweep the pale pink shimmer across my lips. I don’t look too bad, though concealer to cover the trademark smackhead spots on my face would have been ideal if I had it in my possession.
With my hobo bag over my shoulder, I wait on the landing. I hear the voices again. There’s at least one woman and two men. I can’t make out exactly what they’re saying. It’s too distant. Do they even know I’m up here? The person who had sex with me might not even be here now.
I will not be ashamed. These things happen. Holding my head high, I walk down the stairs.