Memories from a sex trafficked youth

I know it felt like I was the only one. Like somehow, our paths crossed like the wind blowing without direction. Now, I know better.
Memories come back to me without asking permission. They come in pieces, I have to put them together again. Many times, the whole remains incomplete. Part of me wonders what I’m missing, part of me thanks God I forgot.
My body never forgets. The hands that touched, pulled, and went inside me. My body recoils at the intimacy of my husband. The body lacks the thinking capacity of the brain to distinguish hurt from pleasure, safety from danger. It only remembers what it feels like to be invaded, conquered, ruptured.
Sometimes it comes and overshadows me completely. I see my body being used while I stared with empty sunken eyes at the mirror placed on the ceiling of some godforsaken room.
I see faces leering at me. Towering buildings in cities that were never my home. I see alleyways littered with discarded soda bottles and other trash, I tried to focus on them instead of the stranger inside me.
I remember how I felt so sure of my ability to protect myself. I was on an adventure, I could handle my own. Only, I couldn’t. I remember how I felt the crushing weight of the shame and embarrassment. I choose to continue rather than go home, because how could I face anyone again?
They broke me. And they did it on purpose. It was business. Nothing personal. I didn’t matter as a person. It could be me or 500 other girls. I was worth money, it was that simple.
So my kicking and screaming were met with threats. I wouldn’t walk to the bedroom, so I was dragged. His body blocked the door, and I did what I was told. Defeated.
I had some fight left in me when all those men attacked me in the stairwell. I kept escaping, only to be met with greater evil. The devil you know…
But by the time the old man picked me up that night, I knew it was over. So when he stripped me naked I didn’t protest. I didn’t cry. Or scream. Or drag my body weight across the floor. Or say that utterly useless word, “no”.
Instead, I hung my head and said “please, wear a condom”.
He congratulated me on being safe, and told me I reminded him of his daughter.

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