“The Whore I Didn’t Become” by laura k kerr

Sure, a lot happened, and some of it still seers with shame. But when I survey those lonely lost years, I sigh relief that I didn’t move into an apartment west of the Galleria Mall, as some girls I knew did, and become the mistress of an oil man. At best, I would have landed someone in middle management, because my breasts weren’t large enough to trap a tycoon. But the middle management guy would have been a step up from life as a runaway living on the streets, who I also had the good fortune not to become. The first time I ran away on a still humid night, walking barefoot in tight short two miles along Katy Freeway to Tina’s house, I got lucky to pick the one evening in perhaps a decade—if not since the last apparition of Haley’s Comet—when a truck full of drunks with nothing better to do than gang bang a fourteen-year-old girl didn’t drive by. I also got lucky the second time I ran away that my mom didn’t test my luck. Before I could reach the front of our apartment complex an officer picked me up and gracefully refrained from lecturing me as I sobbed the entire drive home. For if I had been gang banged, or landed on Houston’s streets, I would have known nothing of myself except the whore and “bubblehead” my molester needed me to be. And should I have been so lucky to have then clutched the middle management guy, I would have wanted more, and would have gone for the boob job that the man who used to troll around the dry cleaners where I once worked told me would be my ticket to becoming a famous model. And if I had gotten that breast augmentation, and the tycoon, and he then took me shopping in one of those expensive jewelry stores in the Galleria, then I might have cracked seeing former classmates in the same fancy shop buying engagement rings instead of a diamond drop, the length strategically chosen to show off the expensive cleavage my oil tycoon bought me. And although I might believe I never would hit a woman, I would strike the salesgirl when I caught the smirk on her face in response to seeing the envy on my face of the fresh-faced lovers as I hung onto an arm covered in liver spots. And although I would have known to bless the day the tycoon advanced me from middle management, and to stay happily ensconced in the apartment he gave me, my only responsibility pumping vodka into his glass and excitement into his bed the three times a week he could steal away from his big house on Memorial Drive, I would not be able to hold onto that luck. Something deep in me would keep hearing “bubble head,” and I would make my way to the local community college and write my story, and of course, the tycoon would show up on quite a few pages.