Yay! This is my 100th post! It’s kind of cool that it coincides with Picture It & Write! Part of me wants to be really excited about it, but some of my posts aren’t stories, so I don’t know if that’s like a party dance yay or just a yay.
Leon relaxed his head into my tummy. Probably no other man on Earth would trust me to draw a razor upon his throat such. Probably no other man on Earth should. I love Leon dearly. He’s the only man who ever treats me like a person. He’s the only man I call my friend, as comfortable against my womb as the child it will never bear.
“No need to cut too close now, Miss Kate,” his handsome face flashed its quick smile.
“Shush your mouth while I’m workin,” I scolded. “Less you want more than your beard missin.”
Miss Kate is how he’s addressed me since I first came under Abbie’s employ. He addresses all of us with the same title of respect, but I know he means it with me. The other girls consider it unfashionable to openly show my fondness for him the way I do, being a man of color and all. But I don’t see as how it matters much what they or anyone else think.
The wind blew the strap down from my shoulder, but I paid it no mind. Leon’s no stranger to my skin. More than once he’s been called into my room to remove a customer who felt his dollars were of a higher worth than most. I’ve seen him glance my way. He’d have me if I asked. He would be so sweet. Abbie would have him lynched if she learned of it though. And I’d be on the street. Folks won’t pay for a girl’s been with a Negro.
I wonder how it would be to lay with a man who loves me the way Leon does. Judge Millen insists he’s bona fide, but lips tell lies that eyes can’t tell, and I’m sure he makes no such mention to his wife. I suppose after nine years of it, I should just be glad no one loves me the way my Daddy did. At least Judge is clean. But Leon’s clean, and he smells like a man, not like sour mash and the foul perfume of an aristocrat’s indigestion.
The scent of Leon’s sweat mixed with the dry grasses of the meadow. I pushed his head firmer against me, and imagined his smell embracing me now as I pulled the blade across his skin in gentle, even strokes. He would be sweet alright.
Leon held me once while I cried. I was fifteen when Daddy sold me to Abbie’s brothel so she could turn me as a virgin. My very first customer busted up my cheek over the pretense before Leon threw him out. It was Abbie’s rage, though, that left me in tears.
“God damn it, Kate! You tell them what they want to hear,” she screamed. “You think they’re comin back cause you’re pretty? No wonder your daddy wanted rid of you!”
It was Leon sneaked back into my room and held me until I was done sobbing. “You never her mind, Miss Kate,” he told me. “You’re as pretty as they come.”
They say you can’t lay with a man and still be his friend.
I drew the last cross against his strong, full lips, the only ones I ever dare dream of kissing. I trickled the water down on his cheeks while he watched up at me with his beautiful dark eyes. My hands stroked his face as I dried it, and then I buried it again in my womb.
“There now, you’re all smooth,” I said.
Whatever the smell of me means to him, I made him linger there to endure it. Perfectly smooth… like the baby I’ll never call my own. I love Leon dearly.
© 2012 Anne Schilde