I stand in line to make my purchase and exchange currency for goods. I see him, the beginning of this story, did he know what he did, does he understood what he stole? He doesn’t, nobody really does. I complete my purchase and I walk towards him, eyes locked, I know, he knows and the story begins. Currency.
So much of my life was exchanged for guilt, shame, fear, remorse. All I wanted was to feel close, to feel loved, to feel seen and I believe it started with him, but then again who knows what memories are locked away. Why? Why did I feel I was worth so little? Does a twelve year old girl really know? When a man pays attention to you, listens to you rattle on every tiny detail of your day and your imaginary adventures, it feels nice, it felt nice. I was a girl who always felt alone, was bullied , right outside of all the fun and he paid me attention. His attention was out on loan but an exchange would be made soon, payment with interest.
I can’t remember all the times but I remember him being close, it felt nice, it felt safe but the touching and kisses on my neck were uncomfortable. He smells odd, can’t explain it, that smell stays with me, turns my stomach when I remember it. It felt nice to be wanted, to be safe in his embrace, well worth the payment I was making, just stay still and soon enough it will be over and you can continue just being close. I gave up so much. I didn’t even know the withdrawals that were being made. Currency.
In time I broke away, I was ready to date boys my own age, what fun was a relationship that I couldn’t share with anyone. I didn’t know what I had literally given away to feel safe and loved but really all I felt was anxiety, fear of what would come next. Currency.
It was odd that other boys weren’t as eager to do the things he did. Did they not love me the way he did, was I not attractive to them? What’s wrong with me? Do I need to give more? Do I need to dress differently or like the things he likes? What do I like anyways? Having him near feels better than nothing at all. Then it happens, the first time. it wasn’t all that great but when he was near me and I could feel his warmth it didn’t matter what I lost what I had to give. Currency.
As they came and went there wasn’t much time in between but there weren’t many either, always willing to compromise myself, negotiate the terms, literally give myself away for free. But it wasn’t free I gave away pieces of myself for his love. There were no loans payable to me only me giving of myself so that I could feel a moment of security, of warmth, of comfort. Currency.
Till now I was giving pieces of myself away without a tangible trade but he wanted more. He expected to turn a profit. What exactly did that mean? The man I felt I truly loved left and I was alone and cold, no warmth, no comfort. Was he asking too much? I really had no more to give but that’s all I ever did and there was nothing left of me so an arrangement was made. Up to this point it was intellectual currency not actual dollars or favors, this was physical currency. I just wanted to feel safe and I was not worthy of love so if he is willing to give it to me at a price what am I to do? I really don’t want to do this, I never really want to do any of it. Am I currency? I think I am but this time but I’m not giving it away freely, he’s taking it from me. I have no choice. Who am I to fight? Who will believe me? I am merely currency and he is out to make a profit. Currency.
The flashes, they come and go and I know that I am not for sale, I am not on loan, I am not Currency. There will be no terms, there will be no sale. Hear my voice now, look me in my eyes, I am not Currency. It ends here.