Crack Track Blues
At 9:30 this morning there was an old white woman sitting on my doorstep, weeping in anguish and ringing my doorbell over and over again, wanting money for her “medicine,” as she has before. She never brings me a receipt because this medicine is crack. She always tells me she lost the receipt. She’s a retired hooker a few years younger than me. I’ve known her for 20 years. She is called Mom on the streets because she is kind to other homeless people, particularly those who are old and frail.
She rings my doorbell over and over again, “Please, Miss Arupa, please, please, please,” through her sobs.
I know the details and I know the generalities. Ninety-percent of all prostitutes were the victim of long-term sexual abuse in childhood. Hookers are controlled by pimps who feed them drugs, beat them, and take their money. I know this woman’s innocence and know what her life has been. There is not, within reason, a damn thing I can do for her.
I still feel like Simon Legree.