By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
At the dinner table, it was torturous. To my left was Michael, my boyfriend and prospective husband. Across from me to my right was Michael's father, Don, an ex-client of mine with whom I slept for almost a year. Sitting next to him was his wife, a beautiful, sweet lady who by the looks of things adored her husband and doted upon her son. Looking around the table, I had in some way betrayed all of them.
Michael's mother was the first to notice my discomfort and she said, 'Are you okay dear? You look a bit distressed.' In my mind I wanted to answer and say, 'No! I'm not okay! I want to get out of this place right now! This is just too awkward for me and I wanna leave!' but instead I managed to nod and say 'Yes, I'm good thank you' and as if to reinforce my lie, I followed it up with, 'The food is really good by the way'
Michael's father's eyes kept shifting from Michael to me and I knew that he was quietly freaking out. 'My son is dating a prostitute?!' he was probably thinking.
I had met Michael's father about a year and a half ago. On Monday nights I used to work a shift on the street outside the Hilton Hotel. There were always three or four of us working that street and we would hide in the alley and if a car drove past and flashed its lights we would go out and the men would choose who they wanted to take.
On one particular Monday night, Michael's father came looking for a girl and he picked me. He took me to a motel and after our transaction he had wanted me to lie in bed with him and talk which was strange because usually my clients would want me out of the room as soon as the transaction was done. I told him that I would only stay if he paid me for it because I was on the clock and I needed to make some money. He agreed and I sat there and listened to him go on and on about his life and his family and as he spoke I agreed with everything he said and asked him questions when I felt he wanted me to. I figured he was paying for it so I might as well make the conversation half decent.
He asked me for my number and without fail, he would call every Monday and we would meet at the same motel, in the same room and the same thing would always happen: we would meet, transact, talk and then at around 2am he would leave and I would stay behind and then leave first thing the next morning. The problem was that he started getting obsessive and every Monday turned into every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I didn't mind because he paid really well but then he started telling me to stop working the streets and to make him my only client. I refused but then he said that if I didn't stop then he'd make sure that he would have me 'taken care of'. I got scared and I ran away. I moved to another part of town and stopped working the streets. I started picking out my clients from nightclubs and hadn't seen Michael's father ever since.
You can imagine then the shock and horror when he came downstairs to meet his son's new girlfriend only to find that his son's new girlfriend was his ex-whore who had run away from him a year ago. Throughout dinner he had been visibly anxious and I could tell that he was waiting for an opportunity to talk to me alone. For an hour and a half that opportunity didn't come until Michael's Mom said, 'Michael can you please come to the kitchen and help me with the dishes?' As soon as they were both out of the room, Michael's father reached out to me and said, 'What the hell are you doing here? Is this some sick joke pretending to be with my son? I know you and I had our differences but this is just taking it to a whole new level!' I looked at him and I said, 'No Don. This isn't a joke. I'm in love with Michael.' He stood up suddenly and trying to keep his voice down he said, 'What?! The hell you are!'
Michael then came back in the room, oblivious of what was going on and said, 'Hi guys. Is everything ok here?' and his father replied, 'Yes son. In fact, I was just about to take Christina to the study to show her some of your baby pictures.' And Michael said, 'Ok then. I'll just go back to the kitchen and help out Mom with the dishes. Take it easy on her Pops. I don't want you scaring her away. I really like this one' giving his father a small nudge and a smile, and then went back to the kitchen.
Michael's father then motioned me to the study and said, 'Come! Follow me!' I followed him to the study, my heart beating fast; when we got to the study he grabbed my face and pushed me against the wall and said, 'Why did you run away Christina?! Why did you leave? After all I did for you, you just left! Why?' He then grabbed my face and forced a kiss on me. I tried to push him away but he only became more forceful.
'Tonight we're going to be together just like old times. You ran away from me before but I'm not going to let you get away from me again.' I looked at him and said, 'What?! Are you crazy? I'm in love with your son! How can you say that when you know I'm dating your son?' He smiled and said, 'The choice is yours princess. Stay the night and sleep with me one more time or I'll tell your little boyfriend about us.' I walked up to him and said, 'You wouldn't dare!' and he said, 'Of course I would. I'll tell him it was a mistake and I was drunk. He'll be upset with me for a while but he will hate you forever. I know what you're doing. It's all about the money for you. You want to marry my son so that you can be a rich housewife for the rest of your life. Well, if you want that to happen then give me one more night and we'll call it even. Hell, I'll even pay for your wedding with my son!' He started laughing hysterically and he said, 'So, what's it gonna be?' I looked at him and in that moment I didn't know whether to say yes or no and he took my lack of response as a yes.
We then left the study and he went to the kitchen where Michael and his wife were and he said, 'Mike, it's getting late. I think you and Christina should sleep over and then leave tomorrow. The roads aren't safe at this time. I won't take no for an answer' then he started walking out of the kitchen. As he got to the door he said, 'Oh and by the way you and Christina have to sleep in separate rooms. You know the rules in this house.' Michael came and kissed me on the forehead and said, 'Christina is that ok with you hun?'
'Yes' I replied, knowing fully well what I had just agreed to.
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