I’ll admit it. My last blog novella wasn’t “sticky.” The story wasn’t that riveting and frankly, there are enough writing sites to teach all the techniques there are to learn. You don’t need another one. So I’m going back to my original concept – making Irving’s Journey a personal experience by exploring our hearts and souls, wants, needs and fears.
Consequently, for this third series, I put myself into the mind of a twenty-one year-old college girl named Jennifer Baylin, and then asked the question, could I ever become a prostitute?
If it happened, what would motivate me to do that? How would I rationalize it? Would it change me for forever? And if it did, what would I become? Would I end up being a “bad” girl? Would I then care anymore?
And what about you? (And this goes for guys as well.) Can you imagine yourself asking a fee for your time in bed?
I couldn’t. Not at first. So I thought about it for a long time, and then I set up the conditions where I was forced to cross the line. I started with a simple premise: someone I loved and loved me needed a lot of money, immediately, and that I had no other way to raise it quickly.
A story gelled and I constructed an outline. Then the magic happened. The characters became alive. As I watched them play out their scenes, a few encounters became sexually explicit. One even showed me a glimpse of bizarre human nature. But that’s what happens when you break your own rules, cross boundaries, and take money for sex. Your world accommodates your needs. And it writes itself.
This is a story about a “good” girl turning “bad.”
But IS she? YOU decide.
So here we go: a contemporary story titled, “BAD.”
LOVING SEX, cigarettes, and your older brother [Part 1 of 14]
“Oh Trent! Yes… Yes! Oh God! Uhhh…”
That was my number two. Trent should be a porn stud, ‘cause he’s keeps me popping.
I love orgasms. I love affection. I love giving affection. I love a warm and tingly tongue wetting my body. And I love using my own as well. Because when I’m deep in sex, I forget about everything, feeling things in the raw, eyes closed, letting it all happen.
“Oh God… Yes! Yes!” He’s pounding again, like a bull. It’s the way we do it – from gentle to not so gentle. But it’s safe, ‘cause when he takes charge, he breaks down my world into tiny blocks of time, each exuding a benevolent tease of pleasure. Then everything else melts away and I can forget. He decides. I follow.
Trent’s mature in that way. He watches me, cares for me. And he knows when to hold back, saving his own boom for later, which is something most guys his age don’t care about. He’s twenty-one, like me, but a manly twenty-one. We met in journalism class. We’ve been a couple for three semesters. And it’s tight.
I open my eyes. He’s looking at me, three inches over my head. “You okay?”
I nod. He always asks that when he shifts to tiger mode. He makes sure I’m wanting it. Before Trent, I didn’t. Before Trent, sex scared me.
It’s cliché to tell the story, so I don’t. Lots of girls have been abused at a young age. Sometimes it fucks them up. Sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t for me. It just slowed me down with getting my trust in place – of boys, of myself, of the boundaries I had to set. For years I felt like a bad girl, a dirty girl, and boys wanted to make me dirtier. So I held back, but played it all out in my mind. Not anymore. Not with Trent. Now it’s a total mind/body thing, exposed. And I think I love him. After college our futures are headed in separate directions. But maybe not. I’m hoping not. We need to talk about it.
Trent’s ready now. I can always tell. I reach down to his balls. They’re tightening, like two guns cocked to fire. Just the thought of it makes me hot.
RING…RING… Damn! What a time for a phone call. I’m letting it go, and now so is Trent. All of it, inside me, warming me. Filling me. Thank God they invented the pill.
RING… RING… CLICK. The answer mode clicks to ready, Trent quivers, the machine squawks, “Hi, it’s Jen. Leave a message.” BEEEEEEP. “Hello. This is Mass General ER for Jennifer Baylen.”
My eyes shift to the phone. So do Trent’s, as his sweat drops to my face. “We have a patient here named Dixon Baylen.” My arm swings to the night stand. In seconds the phone’s to my ear.
“This is Jen. What happened to my brother?”
“We’re treating him for a heroin overdose. He asked that we call you.”
“Jesus! How is he?”
“His respiration’s back to 98 but we’re moving him to the floor. We’re running a blood panel.”
“Okay. I’ll be there in twenty.” And with that my hand drops to the mattress. “Fuck! Not again!”
Trent pulls out of me, which I sense but don’t feel. He rolls to his side, and I know what he’s about to say. He says it. “How many times has it been?”
“He’s my only brother. He has no one else.”
“And as long as you keep thinking that, he’ll use you.”
Trent can’t understand about Dix and me. And I don’t bother explaining.
Still, my boyfriend’s right. I can’t keep running to Mass General. Dixon should be dealing with his shit. This is the last time. THE last time! Tough love from here on out. If he sinks, he sinks!
I wish I had a cigarette. I quit two months ago. My third try. Problem is, all my roommates smoke, they’re generous with their cigs, and Dix keeps fucking up. Then I bum Kents and Marlboros and throw up.
This hospital is fucking massive! Which way now? I’ve reached a dead end wall with arrows pointing in both directions. Five thousands numbers to the left, another four thousand to the right. What was his room? 3121? That would be left, for another mile of corridors. This is worse than an airport.
Oh fuck. Another dead end and all the doors going each way start at 3200. I must have passed his room. And I passed it because I don’t want to go in it. I am not his mom! I do not have this unconditional love thing going. He O.D.’ed again and he’s making everyone miserable. What an irresponsible jerk! And yet, once he was five, and a little boy of hugs, kisses and jubilant laughter. I have to remember that. Dix didn’t start out this way. He was happy once. The funnest big brother anyone would want. And kind to me when I was little. And when I got older too. I needed him then. He needs me now.
Oh…there it is. Room 3121. Relax Jennifer. He can’t help the way he is. He’s hurting. And there he is in the bed, looking pasty and pale and in need of a shower and shave. Dix can be so cute when he’s cleaned up. Handsome, even.
My footsteps cue the turn of his head. “Jen, please don’t be mad,” His voice is hoarse. “I know I messed up,” he gurgles. “And I promised I wouldn’t.”
I reach his bed, glancing down at the IV stuck into the back of his hand and his joyride needle marks in his other. My gaze lifts to his eyes. “How many times are you going to tell me that?”
“This is the last time.”
“You’ve said that too.”
He sighs. “Does Dad know?”
“Why would I tell him.”
“I don’t know. To vent maybe.”
“Throwing more heartache on Dad would not make me feel any better. What happened this time?”
“Just felt really down. Couldn’t deal.”
“We all feel down sometimes. But we don’t fuck ourselves up.”
“I know one woman who does.”
“Sure. Let’s blame Mom again.”
KNOCK-KNOCK. I turn to the door behind me. A woman, maybe forty, wearing glasses and hair pinned back into a bun, is standing in the doorway holding a clipboard and an hospital ID fastened to her blouse. She steps in. “Are you Jennifer Baylin?” she asks me, as I check out her badge.
“Yes, I am.”
“I’m Molly Connor from Social Services. Mr. Baylin and I have had a previous discussion and he understands the ramifications of why he is here.” She darts a glance to my brother in bed. He’s rolling his eyes. Her focus returns to her clipboard as she lifts a page. “I see that Mr. Baylin has been admitted to this hospital February twelfth of last year. For heroin overdose as well.”
“Mr Baylin informed me that he has no means to pay for his medical expenses.”
“Dix is a waiter, with no insurance. He doesn’t even own a car.”
“I understand that. The state again is going to pick up the bill for saving your brother’s life.”
I look at Dix. He turns away. Back to Ms. Connor. “He was that whacked?”
“His friends brought him in. Your brother was practically unconscious. He stopped breathing on the gurney.”
“Oh God…” My hand lifts to my face.
“Well he was here and that was the good part.” She turns to Dixon. “But Mr. Baylin, your binge almost took your life this time. You are an addict. You can’t stop using. Another overdose might end it forever.”
Dix sits up. “I told you. It won’t happen again. I’m sorry!”
“Being sorry won’t break your addiction, Mr. Baylin. You need help. You cannot reach sobriety alone.”
“I’ve got friends.”
“Who are not qualified to help. You need medical attention.” She turns to me. “Ms. Baylin, are you willing to help your brother?”
“Of course I am.”
“Are you willing to tell him the truth how you feel about him? How much pain he has brought you and your family?”
Dix fumes. “I know, Goddamn it! I know! I’m not a fucking five year-old!”
Ms. Connor pivots to my brother. “Then will you enter a program?”
“I tried that!”
“NA didn’t work. You need one-on-one.”
“I can do it this time! I’ve learned my lesson. I know I fucked up. I know I’ve been making mistakes. But I can change. I will!”
Ms. Connor turns back to me. “How do you feel about that, Ms. Baylin?”
I find my brother’s eyes. “Dix, you need help. You can’t do it alone. You tried that.”
“You’re making me a failure.”
“You already are. Dad threw you out. I’ll be next if you don’t detox.”
“No Dix. That’s love. You’re killing me as you kill yourself. I can’t bare to watch it anymore.”
I start to cry. Damn it! I didn’t want to do that! Fuck! And now he’s looking at me, like it’s my fault he’s in here.
“OKAY!! Okay!” he shouts. “I’ll fucking do rehab. But I don’t know where the money’s coming from.” He fires a glare to Ms. Connor, as if it’s her turn for blame. But that’s what junkies do; make their shit everyone else’s fault.
She steps closer to me. “Ms. Baylin, could we talk outside?”
Dix throws up his arms. “Oh great! The parents don’t wanna talk in front of the kid.”
That did it. “Shut-the-fuck-up, Dix!”
He shuts-the-fuck-up, retreating back into his pillow.
I follow Molly into the hall. She lowers her voice as she pivots to me. “We need to get your brother into another program, right away, before he changes his mind.”
“What kind would it be?”
“A thirty-day inpatient detox. I know finances are an issue. There are state funded programs, but the wait time is a minimum of two months. I’ll put him on the list.”
“But you said he couldn’t wait.”
“In my professional opinion, your brother needs immediate psychological help. He’s got a history of depression, which means he has a dual diagnosis condition.”
“So what are the options?”
“I’ll try to get him to the head of the line for funding, but I don’t see a real chance with that. Or, we could look for a non-profit. And then there’s all-day outpatient programs, with methadone treatment. They’re less expensive.”
“Thirty days will cost about eight thousand dollars. Low-end inpatient programs start at fourteen a month.”
“Jesus! I can’t afford that!”
“There are Christian-based programs, and the Salvation Army.”
“Right. My brother’s an atheist. And he steers clear of Christmas bell-ringers.”
“Then that pretty much cuts down your choices.”
I’m back at Dixon’s bedside, holding twenty sheets of social services information. “They’re discharging you today,” I tell him. “Ms. Connor feels you should get into detoxification very soon.”
“I don’t know. I have to see what I can do.”
“What does that mean?”
“I-don’t-know, Dix! But if you fuck it up again, it’s over!” I drop ten of my papers and brochures onto his lap, his set of options for the rest of his life. “Read those. I’ll be back later to drive you home.”
I stride toward the door hearing Dix call my name. I stop. Turn. He looks sad now, like the big brother I remember when I was eight and he was ten.
“Why are you doing this?” he asks, with a tremor squeezing his words.
It’s a dumb question. But he needs to hear the answer. “I guess I still love you.”
I flashback to a scary night in my bedroom one winter night. I’m five or six, and I’m so, so scared. But Dix is holding me, hugging me, as I bawl with each scream from Mommy and each shout from Daddy. They’re in the living room fighting again. They throw things, and break things that make really loud sounds when crashing on the floor.
But Dix is with me, holding me tight, saying it’s going to be over soon, as it always is when Dad tells us to go to our rooms. Then Mommy leaves the house. I don’t know where she goes. And when that happens, Dix makes me my cereal the next morning before Daddy comes downstairs.
It’s my big brother who fixes me hot chocolate with the marshmallows and calls up to Dad that we’re going to be late for school. It’s Dix that finds my parka and puts it on me, and ties my boots. I love my brother. And he loves me.
So there you have it: codependency built through years of love and mutual trust. But as I think about it, I realize this sister-brother loyalty isn’t any different than my devotion to my wife? “T” has supported me in my times of need and I have done the same. And I will again. The question is: if it came to the ultimate test of love, what would I be willing to do, what would I sacrifice to support her? And what would my wife do for me?
This is Jennifer’s dilemma – what will she have to do to save her brother’s life?
What would YOU do in a case like this?
Part 2 publication date: 12/02/11