Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir

What could be more strange or fantastical than fiction?

Reality.

My first love in writing was creative non-fiction. I was and am, very gonzo-ish, if you're familiar with Hunter S. Thompson. Minus the drugs and havoc at this point.

But what remains true, is my desire and willingness to throw myself into reality and report out through lived experience, especially parts of our world, subcultures, locales, etc, that the mainstream has forgotten. Shunned. Feared.

Sex work. Kink. Karen resistance fighters in Burma. Queer road travels through Macon, Georgia, through white supremacist-Christian-gun-totin' bunker folks in Idaho. You name it, I'll probably go there.

And write all about it. And tell not just my story, but theirs. Whoever they may be.

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Sacred Depravity
(Creative Non-Fictional Memoir Excerpt/Vignette)

When an old man is satisfied, I won’t die. Or at least that was true when I was 11.

So you can hopefully understand why it’s both the easiest and the hardest thing to prepare for a new sex work client. The specter of this one, moments away from arriving, dueling with my rumination. But it isn’t like you think. It isn’t about the client. Or my past for that matter.

It’s about my partner’s resentment next door. 

My heart pounds through my chest, commanding an answer yet again to, Do I save my relationship, or do I pay our rent?

In all honesty though, it’s probably not that serious. But the tightness in my solar plexus insists otherwise.

History, insists otherwise. It too duels—the prize being some semblance of accuracy on the present.

Let me back up though. My frequent fears in relationship—disapproval, conflict, inevitable abandonment (you know, the usual suspects)—are only colonizing the back of my skull right now. They’re whispers, situationally screeching. But they don’t just apply to my partner.

The front of my brain simultaneously whispers—in so many words—“Will this stranger approve of me?” Which would mean that I have worth.

Old stories. They die hard.

I have a confession.

My name is Riley Delacroix and I’m a recovering attention whore. Or rather, somewhat more compassionately, I house a neglected and abused inner child who seeks external validation. Especially through sexualized attention.

I know this about myself. I’ve done my therapy. I’ve read The Body Keeps the Score. Gabor Maté. Peter Levine. Pick your trauma recovery flavor.

Despite that knowledge though, and whether I want it to be or not, sexual attention is like mainlining self-worth for me. It has that kind of pull. The heroin of PTSD.

But like any drug, it doesn’t last. And it has its consequences.

Like my scramble for validation and attention, leading to a fuming partner next door.

All I can seem to do about it right now is take another drink.

But hear me out. As a trans person, I struggled to own myself even before I became a sex worker. Struggled to own my body: its beauty, its novelty, its offering of healing.

And of course, its value. Material, value.

Cameron, my partner, was the first to truly help me see all that. More on this later, but what’s ironic is that her help has led to the release inside of me of what seems like a ravenous attention-seeking entity.

A hungry ghost.

What’s funny though (funny sad, not funny haha), is that despite the hype and the stigma out there about sex work, it has only mattered in the slightest how many men have worshipped me through word, touch, or cash. It hasn’t satiated that part of me

Nothing can. And this is even after a decade of zen practice.

I figured sex work would be a productive, even lucrative, outlet for the need, the wound. A container—compartmentalized affection, plus some financial appreciation.

And I got both those things.

But still, being both an attention and professional whore have turned out to be not so easy on others.

My worries about Cameron’s justified anger are interrupted by our three kids thundering down the hallways next door of our shotgun house. “Next door,” being a relative term in our home—used interchangeably for the side where we conduct our sex work, and the side in which we actually live. Our work and our home—two units side by side in the same building, are separated by walls seemingly as thin as a Japanese shoji screen.

Fantasy, debauchery, illicit sexual activities, and queer orgies on one side—a nuclear-ish queer poly family of five on the other. 

By the way, they’re called shotgun houses for a reason. Walk up and through the front door, you see a long hallway extended from the front of the house to the back. But it’s not a hallway—it’s just one room after another, no doors. You stand at the front door and shoot a shotgun, and it goes all the way through out the back.

I mean, if one was so inclined. Obviously someone had to test this theory at some point.

The kids’ rumble of bum bang boom goes back the other direction away from the front of the house where I’m about to receive this new client.

I just hope Cameron can get them to settle down before this session starts, I fret. Anyone who’s been a parent knows that getting kids to do something specific is often Herculean, chimeran. Especially at this stage in their lives—when we can’t tell them why we need it to seem like we have no children.

So instead I’m looking around, moving small things about frenetically to make sure everything’s in place. For the third time.

The easy physical movement between our worlds, between home and work, has its perks.

And yet, the mental toggling between, well, it’s fucking hard just before go-time. Just before I have to channel a cold dominatrix, the sweet girl next door, or some slutty submissive, whatever the scene may be. Whatever tightly held fantasy these Southern gentlemen (said always with that twang in my head) can’t live out in their lives.

Or for which they won’t take the risk.

They’ll risk getting caught by the police, or caught by their wife if she discovers the ATM withdrawal. But they won’t risk speaking their genuine sexual needs and truths. Each of their stories is different of course, and it’s not all their fault.

But each of the stories is basically the same, too. Trust me—I’ve heard enough of them to fill field research journals.

And you’ve probably heard that the South is all about appearances. Don’t let them fool you. The truth is always underneath, and there’s a greater presence and pressure of that which decent folk don’t talk about, much less partake in. 

Openly at least.

This makes for an ironic marriage, kinda like trying to push a beachball underwater. That thing, that need, well, the harder you push it down, the harder it’s coming (pun intended) up inevitably. 

And when it does, workers like me and Cameron are there.

Like the client who’s about to walk through the door.

***

 

They’re always lawyers it seems. The clients. I don’t need to explain the irony to you.

I’ve personally been waiting for the off-duty, non-vice cop but haven’t gotten to live that fantasy yet even though I know they see sex workers.

Clients being lawyers helps. Known mutual skin in the game. Never know when you might need a favor too.

This lawyer is 70-something, divorced, probably pays more in alimony than he makes still working. By his account, I’ll be his “first trans".

Oof, the microaggressions.

I gotta say though, that I make for a great bucket list item for these guys.

Being a transgender sex worker has been fairly profitable in New Orleans as a result. There’s not many of us trans folx “out” there in civilian life. And for good reason. It’s still the South, no matter how much New Orleanians argue it’s difference.

Not like I can drive outside the city limits before I start to hear figurative banjos playing. People think New Orleans is a dangerous city; those folks have never been trans in Covington or anywhere on the North Shore. As such, it’s not like these men can just go meet a tranny at a bar and have the date they’re looking for.

But still, there are all these men with these unrequited needs and fantasies, and they get to an age where they finally ask themselves, What the fuck am I waiting for?

I guess I can thank porn too, in spite of its misogynistic misrepresentations of people like me. You know the narrative—the shemale, the tranny who “surprises” the unsuspecting innocent man with something extra.

The tranny who forces themselves on others—dangerous, deceitful. Those poor boys who in spite of their “surprise," seem all too eager to suck cock.

Eye rolls for days.

This long media history of pathological depiction—just service to men not having to or being able to own their queerness. I know you’d never call it that but to be real dudes, thanks for making me the object of your internalized homophobia.

But, that being said, four hundred an hour is pretty good. Though it often isn’t enough to be your flesh and blood confessional booth.

Your fetishized tool for personal liberation.

You’re welcome.

But I digress. Like the South, kink too, is all about appearances with the true wound to be healed underneath. In order to shepherd someone like this new client to that place, I need to be in the right headspace. And yet, in spite of knowing that my familiar crippling, initial anxiety dissolves into divine inspiration once a client arrives, I’m still drinking.

You’ve made it this far, so I’ll tell you a secret—I do love me a newbie. They’re malleable, full of potential. There’s a clear power dynamic that makes domme-ing simple and delectable. Their desperation from years of sexual anorexia, for release…it’s a delicious honor to slowly pull that out.

Like spiritual honey.

But still, it’s hard to savor when your life and work partner next door is stewing over both justified resentment and misperceived harm.

And you’re the object.

It’s obvious. She has a terrible poker face. And that cold silence. Even if she still does my hair or fixes my makeup, there’s no eye contact. A thousand meter stare. The iciness of it makes me shiver even in the tropics.

I respect her femme tenacity so hard every time she still helps me get ready for work, despite being justifiably livid. I’m finally able to concede that much of it I’ve certainly earned through my imperfections.

 

My persistent flaws. My coping strategies.

 

My frien-emies.

Just before I leave each time, we sit together. This time we sit in pregnant silence, smoking cigarettes and drinking Truly (doesn’t make your breath smell like booze—sex worker secret, on the house). The booze eases the nervousness I feel.

Ten minutes before client time I have to go around the back (yard) so any early-arriving client doesn’t make the connection between the sides.

I excuse myself amidst her silence. Once inside, I look at the massive clock on the wall (large enough so I can see its hands during sessions with glasses). They don’t always fit the fantasy, of course.

Looking up I mild-panic. T-minus 5 until dude arrives. I can feel the anticipation in my chest, zap—all the way to my fingers.

I’m not ready yet.

And I don’t want drink more. I don’t wanna get messy.

I look around the room, orienting myself, trying to ground—it’s an inner sanctum so to speak though we’d never in our right proletariat minds ever call it something that fancy.

There’s the squeaky bed with gold and chartreuse highlights, made to be tasteful, having been commandeered from our landlord’s former airbnb bachelor pad.

You can thank Cameron’s Libran aesthetic penchant for that.

You’d be surprised how with a little bit of drywall, Mardi Gras fabric, free-pile furniture, and some vision plus elbow grease, that you can have yourself a DIY dungeon and escort receiving room in just a few days. We made ours in the dank heat of August, covered in asbestos most likely.

Reverentially, there’s the blessed window AC unit that keeps these rooms of the “work side” barely cool enough for tolerating sessions through the summer up until after Halloween.

The rest of the house becomes a beignet oven.

Opposite the window is the antique curio that—like, a good mistress—demanded many hours of devotion as she watched us clean her in the oppressive sauna that is August here. We bleached it, again and again, trying to get rid of the mold—black and green, like the nearby swamp waters—less from the latitude, and more from Katrina.

Hopefully it’s not from one of the homes with a number other than “0” at the bottom of FEMA’s Xs, written on the outside of buildings—the space reserved for the number of bodies found there, if you didn’t know.

Everyone here knows. No one can forget. It’s still written on some houses in our neighborhood. Boarded up. Families unable to get get back to NOLA from Houston, Birmingham, wherever they ended up in the evacuation.

But with most things post-Katrina New Orleans, there’s no way to know.

But the curio has a new life now, witnessing pleasure, pain, and transformation. The parts of our work that most people in our lives will never understand. It ought to have a name. Madame Testimonium, or something. It’s never bored and if it wasn’t so pedestrian I’d say if walls could talk.

But really, if walls could. Or if beds could. If tarps for messy scenes could.

In my last minute I playfully open one of the curio doors ever so slightly, admiring what they obscure: dildos, sex toys, ropes, enough lube for an orgy. An array of salacious and esoteric instrumentation.

Tools of the trade. Things you wouldn’t expect from the two sweet minivan home schooling parents next door. Seriously, my inner punk rock middle schooler is screeching in horror at the fact that I have a minivan.

But really, they’re just so damn convenient…

To the side of the curio, my eyes stare back at me through the mirror that takes up the deep green wall, facing me from some sacred direction. It’s hard to know which in the Crescent City. The Mississippi snaking about just blocks down the road playfully fools even locals.

On the mirror’s corner hangs our landlord’s childhood crucifix rosary. 

Delightful. Left behind when he vacated. Well, functionally abandoned is more like it—his childhood home of which he became the reluctant absentee caretaker. Serendipitously, we swooped in the day he evicted the meth head former tenants. Total god-shot.

We’re actually great tenants, leaving places better than we find them. That being said, homing our three unschooled kiddos with our next door brothel-by-two might checker that claim in some’s eyes.

As we signed the lease for both units, he said in his local NOLA drawl, “to be honest witcha both, if y’all just pay the rent, I hope never to have to see you again. No offense, or anything”.

None taken. In fact, ideal.

But besides the privacy, the crucifix was my favorite little bonus for a number of reasons. Having not suffered growing up Catholic, I get to find it pretty sexy rather than triggering. And ironic, given a lot of the genuine local clients. A friend once called New Orleans or better yet, greater Louisiana, aptly, the ancient corrupt Papal swamp.

Plenty of recovering Catholics here needing guidance in their sexual authenticity and subversion, and Cameron and I happily claim our roles as the faces of temptation they might need to uncover their actual god-given desires.

Nothing turns me on more than some sacred depravity.

Those clients often enjoy viewing our time together through that mirror, rather than through their eyes. That’s really why they come to Cameron and I—to be able to be seen. See themselves, ultimately.

As I drink in the mirror, the concerns external to these two rooms—the one in which we receive clients in the front, and the one I stand in, separated by two large wooden double doors—start to dissolve.

I close the heavy, solid door that stands open, rolling it on its wheels and railings, latching the two from the inside. Ku-klunk. Shortly enough I’ll hear the creeeek opening of the front door, the shuffle of the client as he slips in from the street of our residential neighborhood.

They always fear that someone will know why they’re here, as if anyone else gave two shits even if they did. This is New Orleans.

He will remove his clothes as per my instructions, and then he will sit naked in the gold and orange armchair, facing away from the double doors.

All after submitting his “donation” to the golden plate upon our altar, of course, surrounded by bones, incense, spells of eros. Reminders that part of them comes here to die. And part visits to come alive.

And he’ll will wait. He’ll breathe.

Until he hears the click-clack of my stilettos walking towards him on the hardwood floor from behind the doors.

 

***

 

Fuck.

The client texts me a deferential notice that he’ll be slightly late; the false start pisses me off given all the build up. In spite of my alcoholic attempts, my anxiety and concern about next door continue to snake into my mind.

Fuck you, inherited codependency.

It’s near impossible for me to settle into seeing a client knowing that Cameron is mad. Mad at me. Mad at society. Mad at life.

All her anger is justified, it’s just hard for me to differentiate who’s the culprit this time.

Sex work was her idea first, and I probably wouldn’t have become a worker if not for her. The upended, societal unfairness that is the South, I am more marketable as a trans woman than she is.

Meanwhile, she has to stay home with the kids alone. Unmanifested. Historical wounds. That I’ve at times done less than I could to try to balance and even things out in terms of the balance of work between us.

More historical wounds. All of these things are true—some have been in my control, some outside of it.

My anxiety in the moment—it’s not like this is the first time we’ve had conflict just as one of us had to suit up literally and figuratively for a client.

But it’s been happening consistently enough lately that, well, who knows. We, the two of us, and “We,” the collective “Us," can only ever take so much. Relational stress on top of the unreliable boom-bust revenue rollercoaster that is sex work hasn’t been easy on our life together. Or the seeming impasses in our emotional dilemmas.

But I can’t think of this right now.

I need a stronger approach to focus on the task at hand, the client who’s annoyingly late. And I don’t mean a stiffer drink.

Ironically, it’s easier than you think. To ground, that is.

You plant your feet, feeling the cool hardwood beneath your soles and through that the land itself. You sense the graveyard built like a city a few blocks away. 

This Southern queen (fag type) spirit worker acquaintance of mine proclaims that New Orleans is the city built on the dead. Historically accurate. That’s the vibration you feel if you’re tuned in, when you return after being away for a while.

And that’s the stickiness too. Said over a double bourbon at 11AM on a weekday at the Red Lantern—a French Quarter gay bar—while she’s working my tarot reading, my worker says through her sips, “this city, she shows you what you haven’t worked through yet. And you either turn and face it, or it consumes you”.

Truth.

And I know I’ve been skirtin’ the line between facing and being consumed for some time now.

But I digress. The cold wood under you, you invoke ancestors, spirits, guides, holy whores. Mary Magdalene. Storyville. Others, known and unknown.

Give thanks, ask for guidance, and for the inspiration of what a client might need that you, or I, as individual humans might miss.

After this, you bring your attention more fully to the sacred container we’ve constructed. If it were me, this would be the point I’d also feel the music I play as a scaffolding confidence.

The music initiating my transformation into my role.

Marilyn Manson’s cover of Cash’s, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” is a first go-to. “What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light”. How appropo given all the stigma and criminalization around sex work. Around kink.

Anyways, that one is for when I’m feeling anxiously small and need to get bigger. It works magic when needing to conjure up an energy of domination, to hold space. Clients often expect a monolith of mastery, of control, and they deserve that expertise and attention.

At this point, minutes before the beginning of the session, my consciousness narrows and the flow of emergent, spontaneous guidance courses through my nerves like rushing water.

But it never divulges its plans preemptively. I’ve always worked (lived?) this way—the correct actions only showing themselves in and through my body in the moment they are needed.

At any rate, this way of feeling and working, you could call it shooting from the hip. Or you could get fancy and call it being in communion with spirit. Maybe they’re just monikers for the same thing. In any case, I find myself becoming possessed, abandoning myself to the imminent needs of the moment.

And in this way, I will generate healing through pleasure, or through pain—for them, and in subtler ways, for me. 

I hear the click of the front door and the client slips in.

 

***

Through the tiny crack between the large double doors, he shuffles across the floor—nude, ass cheeks sagging, snow colored hair, faceless. I feel a strange sensation for which I don’t have a word.

Anticipation? Excitement?

His back remains to me, he sits in the chair facing away as per my instructions. But not immediately, however. He drags it out, but I can’t see how.

Him in the chair, me on the bed, both trying to not breathe too heavily. I close my eyes, breathe, silently pray. Then I stand awkwardly in my stilettos—I was a late bloomer for learning heels. 

I just hope he doesn’t notice. Doesn’t hear the deafening critiques in my mind that surely leak from my ears in the language of: Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

I heavily unlatch the doors separating us, ku-klunk, and enter the receiving room.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

You don’t know what you’re doing. He’s never going to go for this. Shut up!

I’m not schizophrenic. I just have PTSD.

Taking time between each step, walking as if he could see me, I watch for any movement—his scalp, sides of his face, shoulders. A quiver perhaps. Tension. My limbic system, sharp as a samurai blade, perceives nothing.

How strange.

I stand upright behind him. Moments of hot, anticipatory silence.

I place my palms on both sides of his chest from behind. The skin is loose. My mouth caresses his left ear ember-close. While seducing his ear, I blindfold him. I move a palm to his sternum, holding his heart through his ribcage.

Lub lub. Lub lub. The pace mildly quickens. I continue to breathe in his ear, slowly, faintly, warm, and wet—more fecund silence.

Lub lub. Lub lub.

“Hello, Albert.”

“Hello, Mistress”. He doesn’t skip a beat. In name, or in heart.

To give you some context, not all BDSM clients drop into role so readily.

I stay in place, allowing my breathing to speak first still. I bend over, playing erotic with myself, introducing my being to his limbic system with my presence—the sound of my voice, the rhythm of my breathing, the warmth of my breath, my lips on his tragus.

“At long last,” I say, applying deeper pressure to his heart place.

“Yes, finally…” he says with a strangely confident and playful inflection. Seemingly unintimidated. Uncharacteristic for someone’s first time.

To be honest, I’m unprepared for this.

I usually dominate through sensuality, through closeness, through tease, without giving much of myself physically until later—when it suits my needs and pleasure, to which submissives are often honored to indulge.

I’m not your average domme. I’m sensual, not cold or hard, and somewhat—how could I put this most honestly—greedy? For affection.

That attention whore thing, remember?

An aside, it’s not all pleasure like I’m making it out to be. It’s still work.

Or in the words of our performance artist Nanny, “wait, you two, you write the script, set the stage, act the parts, direct, and improvise…”

“For every session,” we remind her.

“And all of that in an hour,” we playfully retort as well while “out back,” on her probably rodent-infested couch.

“Damn! You guys are performance artists, for real!” she says.

“We know,” Cameron and I say simultaneously, relieved and annoyed at the same time that someone finally gets it.

But the work, all of it, is for making sure our three kids have a roof, squares, and more, hopefully. Get above the stress each month of, “are we gonna be able to make rent doing this?”

We always have made it, but our adrenals can’t handle this much longer.

Not knowing what each union-by-the-hour will mean for that person, and for me, is also hard on the adrenals.

And that’s what’s disturbing me now.

That Albert, whom I’ve never met before, is causing me to feel uneasy, rookie even. I am not used to not feeling in control in domme space.

It’s not simply that he’s deferential, or confident in his sub space. Rightly giving one’s self over in a first appointment is uncommon; it usually takes men sessions to truly allow themselves to go let go in the way they profess to desire.

Many never get there. Some blame us as providers for their own inability to succumb, to be vulnerable.

But not Albert.

I slowly walk around the chair and face him. I tie his hands leaving a length of rope with which to lead him. And then I do something very uncharacteristic.

I remove his blindfold.

“Hello, Albert,” I whisper with an unwavering gaze.

“Hello, Mistress,” he says almost melodically, with the slightest side grin.

His eyes are piercing in a way that says, “this isn’t my first rodeo,” to most anything in life. Even if it is. And I find that power in his ice-blue irises…sexy?

Sexy?!

I’m baffled. And even more grateful for the poker face I learned from my card shark Granny growing up.

I’m anxious. Thoughts rapid fire across my synapses: What does this mean? What will Cameron think? Can I tell her?

Before getting into sex work together, we discussed what being attracted to a client would mean and how we would keep work and home separate. We acknowledged the possibility. Perhaps the inevitability.

But what will she think about this? A 70+ year old? Someone resembling my seminal trauma?

I don’t know. I just know I have a session to run, and that I’m more of an “ask for forgiveness,” than an, “ask for permission,” kind of gal.

So, fuck it. If curiosity and pleasure are our guides like my online ad proclaims, then so be it. May those principles equally apply to me. I choose my in-the-moment’s authenticity over codependent fear.

I give him the consent run-down. Then I lead him by the rope through the double doors, to the room watched by the curio.

The room with the bed.

***

 

Albert comes. Hard. And audibly.

Or cums, if you’re twelve years old and and sexting for the first time. Most don’t realize that we’re actually talking about coming to orgasm, about coming to grace. 

He’s breathless.

The eleven year old inside me can take a breath finally, too. S/he/it feels safest when the other is satiated and approving. I can feel in my solar plexus, in my gut. My inner child slowly backing into its cave somewhere in the ether of my woundedness. Watching ever vigilantly.

But, strangely, I’m satiated too. The adult me, I mean.

I look over the still hot, straight lined welts from my cane on Albert’s ass. I take pictures to admire later. His silver hair slightly covers the throat collar I made him buy and bring to our session to symbolize and somaticize his submission. My ownership over him.

“While you have this on, you are mine,” I had said.

“Yes, Mistress.”

I’m still an artist despite being what I call a, “member of team good enough”. I remember him turned over moments ago. I replay in my mind introducing him to his prostate. Giving him an orgasm at 70-ish that he didn’t know existed or that money could buy.

A reasonable retirement investment, I’d say.

Everyone has their orgasm noises. His I’d say, were the embodiment of the surprise that can only come from someone who’s thought they could afford and/or had seen everything.

Dudes no matter what age, are always surprised when you’ve got something on ‘em.

I look back at him. The welts from the cane earlier, they’re hot to the touch. I rub my hands across the hilly landscape of his ass, blowing cool air and watching him quiver.

Finally. I get the reaction I searched for when walking up to him after he arrived.

He recovers, comes back to earth, sits up. I offer him water. After a moment he stands, a different man than he was moments before. In more ways than one.

 

It’s a strange space, between the end of a scene until clients exit the door. The putting on of the clothes, the half eye contact.

The small talk is the weirdest.

“When will we see one another again?” I inquire seductively, still in role. -ish.

“Oh, soon. I have this case, and these bastards on the other side are tryin’ to pull some backdoor bullshit on it. I never though I’d still be puttin’ up with this shit at 73,” he laments as he  slips his socked foot into his old man clog thing.

Nothing as sobering as that. As seeing the person for who they are in the vanilla civilian world. Nothing as sobering as knowing that you just created magic, and it’s time to return to mundanity. To reality. That they make more money that you and you’re struggling, but you’re the only one that can help make them truly free.

It’s a little enraging. Welcome to femme and queer power. And resentment.

Albert-something-esquire, leaves.

I lock the door quietly behind him. I sit on the front room couch, mildly quivering myself, body shaking out of intensity from the scene.

But also from confusion.

I stand, walking back to the mirror, looking deep into the depth of my pupils.

 

What just happened?

Going “out back,” going home, is imminent. Cameron and I, we have this ritual. Upon locking the door on a client on the way out, we first text “ASP” to the other:

“Alive, Safe, Paid”.

Then we shower, consummating the transition back to “normal life”. Cleansing. Literal. Figurative.

Then we meet one other in the backyard. Camping chair, Truly cans on the pavement under the banana tree leaves, cigarette butts.

Lately it’s been black American Spirits—hearty, from Louisiana tobacco, purportedly.

I shower, reflecting on the scene. My confusion.

And my fear.

My fear to face Cameron in whatever state I find her. My fear to face her feelings. Or what I think her feelings will be. My trauma brain debates whether I should be fully forthcoming about my experience right now. Or later.

Later, when we’re both less sauced? When?

The questions make my heart and thoughts race. If thoughts could be tasted, they’re metallic. They taste like rationalization. Remember, I know myself pretty good. Doesn’t always mean though, that I can act rightly on it.

I take another drink.

***