the other woman


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August 2011 

I discovered Joy on Facebook.  One of the women of my husbands sex-cation.  The result of years of porn and entitlement.  I found myself writing her a letter.  A twisted kind of love letter.  I wrote the letter in her language.

Dear Joy,
Hindi ko mapoot ka...
(I don't hate you...)

She lives across the sea, in a country a million miles away.  A country where rice and fish are the daily menu.  I lived in this country for over a year.  I know it's smells, it's customs and the way the a single motorcycle can be piled, teetering with 12 passengers and a box of chickens. It's a place I love with people I adore.

You see, his betrayal hurts more than just me. It's not just a mutual choice between consenting adults.

Joy is the epicenter, the eye of the hurricane, the individual personification of every women my husband used and discarded.  Thoughtlessly abused.  I hurt for them.

I'd seen Joy's picture, studied her smile.  I knew her face and her body.  I'd read her profile.  I knew she liked to read the Bible, spend time with her family and hoped to go to college someday.  I knew she'd just celebrated her 24th birthday.

Prostitution wasn't on her life list.

Why do I care?  Mr. Scabs and I are separated.  I'm preparing for divorce, about to leave his ugliness behind, start a fresh life.  I am fully detached so why do my thoughts linger on these women?

My heart steps into her shoes.  How would it feel to be her...

Each morning, after passing some cash to my landlord, buying some rice and one cigarette,  I wash my body.  The cool water rinses the sticky filth from the night.  I crawl my sore body onto a handmade grass mat.  It takes seconds to shut down and sleep, my mind removed from each nights work.   
How did I get here?  How many years has this been my life?  How many years do I have left?
New men each night.  Some are ruddy, overweight, sweaty and speak languages I don't understand.  Sign language is universal.  Others are lean, awkward and simple to please.  Some are angry, brutal and hurtful.  Some are handsome.  Some are rich and important.  Some are married and some are not.  Some are curious and some are lonely.   
I smile, giggle and put on a show.  Sex is mechanical.  Sometimes I'm afraid, degraded, other times they pretend to be my lover, but mostly it's empty. I do not know the genuine love of a man.

How would it feel to be them?  To have no safe place?  To be less than human, a commodity?   Her worth only has good as her blow job?

My heart cannot believe that any prostitute really wants to be there, whether by choice or by force.

I write Joy this twisted love letter because we are the same creature.  I am them and they are me.