I was with a prostitute tonight and it was a lot like visiting friends in the servant's courtiers of Downton Abbey.
Actually, I was with several prostitutes tonight and it was a lot like visiting friends in the servant's courtiers of Downton Abbey.
Allow me to explain...
Here I was, as part of my reaching out to the homeless and addicted men and women of Kensington, under a bridge with a sidewalk loaded with mattresses that these people call home. It was early evening and many but not all of the young ladies of the community were preparing themselves in dress and makeup for their income producing hours that lay ahead.
There was one, someone's daughter in her mid-twenties, who shared with me that another who had just walked past us had saved her life with a dose of Narcan and a round of CPR not long ago. I sat on one mattress that was neatly made up as a dignified bed as if expecting company while this young lady shared with me some of her personal stories. (These blogs are becoming a challenge to write in that I know I must maintain anonymity while being accurate in my "story" telling.)
As she shared some of her life story, she was having a terrible time staying awake. I suggested that she lay back and just close her eyes for the night. The fact that some unknown guy was already asleep on that same mattress was, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. "I can't." she stated... I need four to five hundred dollars a day to support my drug habit." She wobbled back and forth on the side of that sidewalk-bound mattress as she contemplated waking up enough to throw on some makeup and a dress and go allow herself to be bought for an hour (a few times over) by some "man" who doesn't give one iota about her as being the child of God that she is... "If you're going to be with us Chris, you've got to get used to this." she encouraged. Rather than debate the point, I decided to quietly get up from where I was sitting on the neighboring mattress in hopes that she would fade away into the night for some much-needed sleep.
Here's why I felt like I was visiting friends in the servant's courtiers of Downton Abbey. When someone hires a prostitute, in and of itself and setting aside the issues of morality for a moment, there is some degree of neatness, tidiness, cleanness, attractiveness, attributes that would entice the customer to buy the product or service. This is the upstairs areas of the Abbey. Seeing the "servant's courtiers" aspect of this was to see the women in their home environment, living and sleeping and eating under a railroad bridge, tending to discretely disguised or hidden wounds, injecting heroin to give them the boost they need to perform their sex acts while simultaneously deadening their emotions to the sadness and disgust that they feel for themselves as they perform those acts on men who don't give a rip about them as human beings.
Other aspects of the Servant's Courtiers...
I stepped over to a group of older men. One promised that he and his wife would be joining me for worship at Urban Hope. Others in this cluster of men expressed thankfulness that I had delivered water and sorrow that they missed the dinner provided by Urban Hope right outside the large bank building at the corner of Kensington and Allegheny Avenues.
Further up the line of mattresses that line this sidewalk, just north of the "No Shooting up under the bridge." sign, four women were preparing their syringes for their next round of heroin. Two didn't want to talk to me while two were open to conversation. I encouraged them to visit Urban Hope...
Oh dear... This story never really ends... It's 11:30 pm and I'll be back there in about nine hours... I better get some sleep.
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