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Courtesy of the artist. My senior year of high school I worked in a coffee shop. I was 16 when we met; he was I was 18 when he took me to his place after work one night, poured us rum and Cokes until the stars spun above the roof where we sat, and then picked me up and carried me down to his bedroom. A few months later, I moved into his apartment.
It was next to the airport, and the planes flew so low it seemed like we could touch them from the rooftop at night. It was , and my plan was to take the money and go to New York. Mike was always broke. I loved him or I thought I did. He knew more than me or I thought he did. I still believed there was a scarcity of it.
He needed fifty bucks and I gave it to him. He needed a hundred. Then a little more. Soon I had given him all my money. It happened so easily. One day I realized it was all gone. I sat on the floor and cried. I was afraid that he would leave me, and I was afraid that I would never leave. Not long after that, we were in bed together in the afternoon.
I was naked, on top of him. The friend and another man would pick me up, bring me somewhere, and we would take some pictures. I needed to. Recognizing one lie would mean recognizing all his lies. If that happened I would have nothing left. Another way to tell the story is this: I was 19 and I was in love with Rosa. Rosa had been a dancer. But it seemed like she loved the job.
She told me that when she got up onstage she could be anybody. Her eyes shone. I wanted to kiss her almost as badly as I wanted to leave town. I did kiss her, and I did leave town. I paid my way to San Francisco with the money I made from the shoot Mike set me up with. It was a move that, eventually, saved my life. Feminists stood on both sides of the debate. Liberal feminists and human rights organizations pushed to maintain a legal divide between voluntary and involuntary sex work.