“And Lord knows she’s beautiful. Lord knows the usual leaving her body sore.” –Kendrick Lamar, “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)”
She stood on the corner, patiently waiting for the next customer to arrive. She tried not to think about the things she had to do for money. She tried not to think about the sacrifices she had to make to help put food on the table. Her mother tried her best to provide her with everything she needed, but she always came up short. In reality, her mother could never have prevented her fate. Life just wasn’t fair enough.
Her figure and her clothes made her look like a full grown woman, but in reality, she was only sixteen. Sixteen with the soul of someone older. A soul that didn’t belong with this time—in this situation. She leaned up against the wall of a building. Her dress clinging tightly to her body. Her heels six-inches-tall. She ran her fingers through her hair as she popped on her gum.
While she waited for her next customer, she thought about her life. She thought about this country. Her mother moved her from Mexico to the States: “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” She never knew her father, although, she often used the word papi. She found it ironic that they moved to another country just to struggle. Not all Americans live the American dream, so why did her mother think that foreigners could?
Her next customer rolled up. She popped on her gum and gave him a smile.
“Looking to have some fun papi?” she asked, laying the accent on strong. She seemed more “exotic” that way.
He gave her that familiar smile. That smile that said yes.
She’s never really there when it’s time for her to perform her duties. Physically, yes. She did her same routine. Did certain things at the appropriate time. Said lines at the right moment. But her mind was always elsewhere. She thought about life. She thought about the cruelty of the world.
While her customer sweated away on top of her, she thought about the white woman she saw at a store a few days ago. She was speaking to a fellow countryman in her native tongue when the white woman looked over and sneered at them.
“Bunch of damn wetbacks sneaking into our country.”
She let out a moan, but in her mind she was laughing. She loved a good irony and she found the term “wetbacks” to be kind of ironic. Ironic because, apart from the Natives of this land, the ancestors of Americans all traveled by water—by boat. And if she remembered correctly, they didn’t have permission to enter this country either.
This time she smiled. Her customer may have thought that it was because of how “good” he was, but she was coming to the best part of the irony. In the end, this country is the children of wetbacks. And besides, white men didn’t mind her when she was lying on her back.
She stuffed the money in her bra as she walked back to her corner. She hummed the hook part to Kendrick Lamar’s “Keisha’s Song.” She smiled a little. She knew that she was going to die in these streets, that was a fact, but she hoped that her little sister didn’t follow in her footsteps. Her hummed turned into a whistle as she leaned up against a wall.
Her sister was still young, still innocent. She still had hope to obtain the American Dream. She just prayed that the cruelty of this world wouldn’t taint her sister like it did her. She looked over the neighborhood. It consisted of nothing but impoverished Blacks and Hispanics. She popped on her gum and shook her head. She found it ironic that people sneak over just to struggle in a foreign land.