Hi. I’m Pinkie

I’m sitting on my bed in my room. Not my real room, but the one they assigned me. It’s not much different from the other rooms here, except that the shower curtain’s purple instead of blue like the rest, from which I figure that someone musta ripped the old one, whoever lived here last. That, and the paper by the door that’s got my name on it, Penelope O’Conner, in big, black letters.

I’ve been here three days now. Shit. Three days, and Jake’s gonna be coming to look for me, sure as heck. Last time I was gone this long, he beat the hell out of me.

I never expected I’d ever be in a treatment center for drugs. That was something that happened to other people, girls who got with the wrong guy and didn’t know well enough to get away. Sure, Jake hits me a lot, but he takes care of me, makes sure I’m safe. I don’t know where else I’d go without him.

He’s a good guy, really. I met him the summer before last, when I was out at a bar with some girlfriends. They ditched me pretty quick, but Jake stuck around all night. He was such a gentleman. Couldn’t stand the thought of me taking the bus by myself that late, let me stay the night at his place. I guess we’ve kinda been together ever since.

They tell me here at the Center that I gotta get some therapy for the drugs and stuff. I told them, it ain’t therapy’s gonna get me better. I just need to figure out a way I can support myself without Jake. I don’t do all that heroin cause I wanna; I just gotta have some way to get around the hard parts of living with Jake. When I’ve got that stuff, I don’t feel it quite as bad.

I try to remember sometimes, when things started going downhill like this. It was getting this way even before Jake came around. It’s been up and down since high school, really. I was working on my degree right after I graduated, thinking I was gonna be a respiratory therapist, but who was I kidding? I couldn’t hold down a job, not even waiting tables. I was drinking something awful, and getting into the heroin real bad. Ever since Mr. Jenkins forced me to have sex with him senior year, wasn’t much else could hold me together. I kept thinking, what if someone finds out? He said he’d destroy me, if I let anybody hear a word of what happened. I didn’t know for sure what he meant, but I know I’ve never been that terrified before in my life.

Somebody at the treatment center, here, talked about this sex program, Sanctuary for Change, I think is what she called it. It suppose to help people like me figure out how my life has gotten messed up and how I can feel better about myself and not worry about hanging out with guys like Jake that hurt me and take advantage of me. I don’t like feeling so alone and scared all of the time. I wanna be able to talk to other girls who have had a hard time with their guys. I wanna like myself and have someone who will take care of me and be good to me.

– Pinkie

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