A Voice For Those Who Can't Speak
A Voice For Those Who Can’t Speak
Someone once said that life is like a box of chocolates, every chocolate a different time in your life, you’re a different person, you have a different mindset, you experience new things. However, my life was not so sweet. My life was like a pack of cigarettes, every cigarette a different person, a different experience. Every time I took a drag out of one, they slowly burnt out and died down to nothing but ashes. That was my life, a cigarette, and as every day that passed, it slowly burnt out and ashes slowly fell.
I never had a great life. There was always something happening, be it either great or horrible; everyday was a new story.
I was born and grew up with my mother Rose, in England. I barely knew my father Gaelan, he had left my mother and I when I was one. She used to always tell me horrifying stories about him, the kind of things he did, and the person he was. Of course, I never believed her, as a child I always used to think my father left because he was a king in search of an evil dragon, and my mother was the beautiful queen awaiting him with their little princess. Or he was a secret spy on a mission to save humanity. An undercover trying to stop the world’s most notorious criminal. All those thoughts, all my fantasies about my father were lies, rubbish, every single one of them.
My mother would always have different men over to help look after me and her finances. She used to call them my uncles and they were like periods, when one month ended, another began.
During the nights, she would leave and come home early in the morning wearing revealing outfits. I did not know what she was doing at the time, of course I do now. Many say I was just like my mother; grew up to be just like her as well. Sad thing to say, that it was true.
My childhood home wasn’t a home to begin with. It was more like a hole in the wall, with nice curtains, a fridge, stove, one bedroom and two beds to sleep on. When my mother got into the business she was in, that was when the walk-in closet became my room. I mean, no one wanted a child to be there as they were trying to get off. Anyway, eventually, I moved out of that shit-hole and made my way to America, where I met the man I call my father.
My mother was killed in a car accident the day before my sixteenth birthday. No one knows what happened, or who the other driver was. I was told my whole life that a sweet sixteen was supposed to be a grand party, with friends, and cake, and presents. My sweet sixteen was the opposite. I planned my mother’s funeral. It was a crummy day, cold, and raining. I was alone standing by her coffin, watching as they lowered her into the ground. No one came to show their condolences. My mother lived as she died, alone. I too felt alone, I knew I had to leave that place, but whom was I supposed to live with was the question. That night I walked home in the rain. I had no idea what my life was going to entail. I thought I should just leave right then and there, never to look back. However, I had no money, not a dime to my name. The rain was cold and stung every time it hit my skin. I felt lost and empty. My mother had just died and left me nothing.
When I finally reached my home, I stood out front, frozen like a statue, as the rain fell on my face. The lights were off and even the home felt empty. Memories of my mother weren’t the happiest of memories, but memories all the same. I couldn’t help but stare at her window and see her walking past it, singing Amazing Grace as she always did every Sunday. Happy and smiling. Sundays were my favourite days. We’d wake up early and make pancakes from scratch, or we used to until I was around eight or nine years old when money started to become an issue, waking up early those Sunday mornings, also took a turn for the worst, but my mother always sang Amazing Grace, no matter if we had food on the table or not. Though the second Monday hit, my mother was back to her miserable, angry self.
I searched the house and found as much money as I possibly could. She used to hide money in places around the house because she never believed in banks. She always said: “if you give them your money, they own a part of you.” There wasn’t as much money as I expected hidden, though I kept looking, sometimes checking certain places more than once just to be sure. As I entered her room, I opened the drawer to her dresser, and found an envelope with my name on it. I froze. “To My Dearest Lylie,” was written in red ink. I cried for the first time. I knew my mother was gone, but in that moment, reality struck. She was not the best mother, but she was a mother all the same, and she was gone.
I was sitting on her bed for what seemed like forever, staring at her writing. The way she wrote my name always made me smile. While I was younger, she used to leave me little notes in my lunch box. They weren’t always on pieces of paper, sometimes they were on my banana, or an orange, anything to put a smile on my face and make it seem like things weren’t as bad as they were. When I hit high-school, that was when the notes had stopped. She wasn’t the same person. She became cold and angry, unlike the woman I loved, the one I looked up to. Sunday’s disappeared and every day overlapped onto the next.
Staring at that letter, I wasn’t sure if I should open it. The pain and the realization that she was actually gone, was too much for me to bear. I too, was finally alone, with no one to lean on, no one to guide me. My grandparents were long gone many years ago. My mother had no family aside from them and the many men that revisited her on occasion. I didn’t have many friends either, not by choice really, they just all didn’t want to be associated with the town’s tramp.
I moved my finger tips over the writing as a tear fell onto it. I finally opened the envelope, but there was no letter, just money, an address, and a number. I wasn’t sure what to do with any of it. I was staring at the address and I knew in that moment, that was my father’s. It had to be. Fear rushed over me. I didn’t want to call that man, though I knew I would. I dreamt of the day I would run to him and he would hug me tightly. But I was scared and really didn’t picture meeting him under these circumstances. What if my mother was right all these years and that man was nothing but a monster? Then again, why would she give me that envelope?
I woke up the next morning in my mother’s bed, in whatever remains were there from nights prior, with all the money I found surrounding me. I felt as though the walls were closing in on me, I cried as I lied there, cried until there was nothing left. I was not only scared because I could be put into foster care, but scared at not wanting to be alone. I knew that one phone call would change all of that and I wouldn’t have to be. But what if he was the monster my mother warned me about? What if he was going to threaten to kill me like he did my mother? She had disagreed with him and wanted to stop working for him because of me and didn’t want me to see the criminal activity. Yet, what I saw practically every night in that home, was much worse than what I would have seen in New York. It was clear that my mother was frightened by Gaelan and that was why she brought me to England, however, if Gaelan was truly going to kill her for leaving the business, then how come he hadn’t done it? Or maybe he did, maybe what had happened was Gaelan’s revenge. I held the piece of paper in my hands and moved my fingers over the numbers one last time.
I decided to do it, I decided to call Gaelan. I had no place to go and I didn’t want to go back to school with people to judge me and counsellors forcing me to talk to them. Leaving was my only option.
Gaelan wasn’t even happy to hear my voice, let alone to hear from me and here I thought he didn’t know I even existed. He didn’t even bother to care that my mother just died. He told me if I wanted, I could fly to New York to meet him, he’d get me a job so that I’d have money to make it out there in the world. God was I scared. Butterflies flew in my stomach for days before I finally decided to pack a bag and walk out the front door. A huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders when I stepped out of the house and onto the street. I wasn’t sad to leave, I was actually excited that I was going to be venturing on a new adventure in my life, a new experience. I took my first taxi ever to the airport, I felt like one of those girls from Sex and The City, living my life, my way, without someone to control it. I took the red eye that night, New York City was just a few hours away. The different smells, the people, I was happy in that moment, but the butterflies reminded me of what was to come.
Landing in New York, single bag in hand, I searched around the airport for something that resembled the man my mother described. I felt like a fish in a fish tank, everyone staring at me, tapping on the glass. People were staring at me like they’ve never seen an English girl before. I mean, it’s not like I was dressed fancy or anything either. A simple knit sweater, loose jeans, converse, my dark hair was in a messy bun. My large blue eyes searched the area, I decided to just walk around aimlessly. The people around me were very different from the people in Britain. So many shapes and sizes, many of them still had their teeth too; though a stereotype, all the people I met and knew in my home country, had horrible teeth, especially my mother Rose.
“Lylie?” a voice came from behind me. As I turned, I knew in that instant he had to have been my father. That day was one of the biggest regrets of my life. I smiled, unable to say anything. He took my hand and led me to his limo. There was no talking on the way over, that city was bland and grey. It did seem a lot like home. I looked over, Gaelan had the window cracked a little and was puffing on a cigar. His hair was dark brown, with hints of white in it. I always thought he would be a great man, a prized possession in Brooklyn, but he seemed like an ordinary, plump one.
We made our way up the drive and the house appeared over the hill. That gorgeous house, big enough to house my entire class, and then some. The yard was large, a few of dogs were running around in the distance, there was water at the back of the house, and a willow tree hung over it.
“This is your home now kid,” Gaelan finally broke the silence. “I promise I won’t ask you to do much. Don’t wanna go to school, frankly I don’t give a fuck. Do your chores around the house, help my Stacy with whatever the fuck she does. When you turn eighteen, this is when I’ll get you the job I promised you. Understand me?”
“Um, yes. Perfectly clear,” I said as I nodded. I couldn’t leave, wasn’t legally allowed to live on my own. I couldn’t speak to anyone besides his wife Stacy, his right-hand man Francois, and himself, as if he would ever listen. He would rarely let me leave the house without someone coming with me. It was as if he didn’t trust me or something. I knew he hated my mother, for what reason, I vaguely knew, aside from what I was told; yet there seemed to be pieces missing from that puzzle. That was no way to treat his child.
My mother and that father of mine met in Chicago, when she had a job at the local newspaper. Gaelan was constantly on business trips, leaving my mother alone to care for me, I’m guessing her situation was not as different as mine was. My grandparents lived in a small town outside of London, and that was where my mother escaped to, I was barely able to walk at the time. My mother was exactly the way she was in Britain as she was in New York. She did work for Gaelan and when she left for Britain, she took her work with her. I sometimes wonder if that man was even my real father, I mean, all the sleazy men that she had to lie with; any one of them could be my father; but that’s a whole different story.
Two years later, Gaelan let me in on his work.
“Lylie, I have a proposition for you. You’re gonna do it rather you like it or not anyway.” He took a bite out of a piece of lobster and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “You have to be prepared to give your body to men and be ready to wear shit you wouldn’t normally wear. So, stay in shape, get on the fucking pill. Take that box on the table in front of you, put on what’s inside, and go to this address tomorrow.” He put a piece of paper on his desk, I stood up, and took the address, placing it on the box. “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”
I didn’t know what to do. I took the box and went to my room. I sat on my bed and opened it, a red corset was inside, with black boots, and tights. I started crying. No man has ever touched me and I was supposed to give my innocence to a man I didn’t even know. I never told my father I was a virgin, let alone tell him that I never even kissed a man.
My only friends were the house keeper’s son Damon, who was a couple of years younger than I was, as well as the cook’s daughters, who didn’t like me as much as I wanted them too. Gaelan never let me leave the house, so I had to make friends with the helpers. I knew that the address I was to go to and the man I was supposed to please, would not be happy if he knew Gaelan had sent him an unexperienced child. I sat on my windowsill for the rest of the day, staring at the water. The way the willow tree moved in the wind and how it’s leaves cast a shadow over the area made me feel trapped, stuck, alone. That night, I snuck downstairs to Damon’s room. I was wearing nothing but my robe. I quietly knocked on his door and opened it. Damon was sitting on his bed playing a video game. I shut the door behind me and locked it. Damon put the game down and was about to say something when I opened the robe and let it fall to the ground. Damon studied every inch of my body, every curve and crevasse. He got out of bed and walked over to me. I could see his man hood rise from his pyjama pants. We didn’t say a word and kissed me. Damon led me to his bed and lay on top of me. He tried to be gentle with me, but it hurt like hell.
He fell asleep shortly after, and I snuck out and went to my room, where I showered and cried. Cried because I couldn’t believe that I just gave away my innocence to someone I didn’t even love, someone I didn’t even care for. I gave up my innocence to please another man who I didn’t even know just so that Gaelan’s business deals went the way he wanted. I cried because I was finally lost.
The next night was my first job. It was fairly simple, I was to go to that man’s house, and let him do to me what he pleased. He led me to a room at the back of his house where he told me to get on my knees. He was a partner of Gaelan’s and they were doing a business deal with some man in Los Angeles. I was not allowed to know any more than I needed to, according to my father. That man was no older than thirty, fit, but not attractive. He pushed my back down so that I was on all fours on the bed, he ripped off my undergarments and had his way with me, if I said no, then he had authorization to kill me. After a couple of hours, the man handed me an envelope to give to Gaelan, as well as an envelope for myself. When I arrived at home, I threw everything in the trash, except the boots and the envelopes. I immediately turned the shower on and sat in it, scrubbing myself clean. I was crying at what I’d just done, and what I was becoming. Whenever a job of his when awry, it was I who went in to make it right and try to fix things or get his deals done. Also, if he didn’t trust the person he was working with, he made me get answers out of them.
I was slowly becoming the side of my mother I hated, the whore.