The initial messages were polite and friendly, and he was staying at the most expensive hotel our city has to offer. He wasn’t as well presented as I had hoped, in his ripped Metallica T-shirt and five day growth, holding a cigarette lazily between his fingers. But whatever, he paid my fee as soon as I walked in the door and that in itself put me a bit more at ease.
“We’ve met a hundred times you and I.” his voice was hardened, he could have been out of the ‘Straight outta Compton’ film.
I rolled onto my side, propping myself up on an elbow, re-positioning myself so my breasts stuck out and my body was arched in a way that was second nature to me now. We had spent the last couple of hours listening to Disturbed and sharing stories, he couldn’t get an erection but wasn’t too bothered about it, thank god.
“What do you mean?” I giggled and tilted my head. He was a weird one.
“You’re the devil. I know you.”
The next thing I knew, he had grabbed me and was cradling me like a child. Despite his tough exterior, he had a gentle energy, so I stayed.
For the next few hours he began to slowly come out of his shell, his face and demeanor finally softening the more he opened up to me. He had just got out of prison, 6 years on drug charges back in Melbourne. And so the stories flowed; his face lighting up when he showed me his kids and his dog, his disbelief and excitement at all of the new technology that had come out in the time that he had been away.
He was obsessed with kissing my body. Not in a sleazy way, but certain places like the inside of my wrists, my sternum, my forehead.
“The rest of your body can be changed, surgery, makeup – whatever. But right here (he tapped in the middle of my chest), that can’t be changed. It’s who you are.”
I didn’t mind holding space for him to express himself, and after our time was up he thanked me for allowing him to ‘be human’ again. We parted ways and I wished him well on the next chapter of his life. I was smiling inwardly in the taxi all the way home.
$100 was missing out of my bag. Fuck.
I guess first impressions still count for something after all.
Artwork by Giles Vranckx