One Word

Sometimes it takes one word.

I’m not sure who was more surprised when I poked my head through the door. She’s been gone for years. I’d heard she was back but I hadn’t seen her since my return from Canada, and I’d pretty much forgotten she was supposed to be here.

We’ve known her for years. We know her sisters. We’ve played with her kids. We’ve enjoyed parties with her parents. It’s a lot to know about a person and still not know what’s really going on in their heart and mind. She’s a mystery.

Today the word was “sweetheart.”

It was just such surprise/shock to see her.


And the tears started. Not a delicate trickle, but the big globby kind you can’t control. Heartbroken tears. Ugly crying.

We stood in the doorway for a little too long. Eventually she had to close the door to compose herself and fix her soggy makeup.

And once again I’m at a loss for words.

She hates it here, but she comes back. She’s disgusted with herself and with her clients, but she hopes, one day, she’ll meet a good man here. (FYI, good men don’t buy women). She’s stunningly beautiful but she hides her face under a mask of clownish makeup. She believes this place is her only hope…her destiny.

She believes so many terrible, powerful lies.

We’re waiting for her to ask for help to get out. It’s been years of waiting while she’s watched others escape and succeed.

We wait, but she’s not ready.

We wait, and she’s probably still crying.