The Safe Place


She was from a town just 45 Miles outside of Louisville, Kentucky, a “rinky dink place” she said- her top lip always curled up a little when she said something she thought someone would like to hear- revealing a perfect set of teeth and a smile that just kinda made you feel at home. She came in broken.Nothing. Her flawless skin was tinged yellow from the untreated hep-c, her forearm sewn together from a staph infection as a result of using a dirty needle years before- so perfectly that surgery tore apart a tattoo of a sacred heart. Split that heart right down the middle- destroyed it. Such a strong sad piece of irony in her 26 year life. Nothing sacred left, simply nothing.

The first time she sold her body was for suboxone- just a strip. She told me it was going to be her “first and last time”. She told me it was easier than she thought it was going to be. She told me she knew the boy that bought her for those five mins; more convincing herself than me that it wasn’t as painful as she thought it would be, it didn’t bother her as much as she thought it would. I swear sometimes you can just hear your heartbreaking around here, a little more every day. “It just got easier from there” she’d tell me with sadness soaking up her green eyes. She looked like someone searching for an eternity for something they just ain’t never gonna find, someone who’s always been followed by a shadow- a sadness… “it just got easier from their” she’d tell me again with a little more confidence.

She didn’t stick around to long, 7 maybe 8 days. She didn’t understand why she was taken in for free; i suppose looking back on it she couldn’t really seem to understand just plain old decency, kindness but I also suppose a lot of people are thrown off by that nowadays. Decency, kindness.

Her mom named her Blue, she said a “bluejay landed on the hospital windowsill that day and my mama well, she knew it was a sign”. Her mama also left her in the hospital that day just a few hours later, never to see her again. She bounced from foster home to foster- molested and raped twice before her 18th birthday.

Blue left one night, around 11 pm. It was snowing. She left me a note saying “thank you, I love you” on my windshield. This may be the best someone ever has it I thought to myself, a thought that I had been having for years now. This may be the single best experience of someone’s life fucking rehab. This may be the first time someone cares and loves them or perhaps even the last. I’ll tell you this much though, and this old junkie never forgets that. Everyone I meet in these halls, rooms and behind these doors, I remember that this experience may be the best they ever have it- I want them to laugh, to smile. I want them to shine on…. So shine on you crazy diamonds…. Shine on.


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