Lady of the Night
xcuse me, Sir," I heard somebody say. I turned to see who was speaking. I was taken by surprise. A young, reasonably attractive woman was standing behind me.
She paused a moment, just long enough to get my attention, and continued, "Would you like some female company?"
I'd flown into town and had been waiting for a couple of hours in the lobby of a large Eastern motel to meet an old friend from college days. Suddenly I was awakened out of my day-dreaming. Would I like some female company? An interesting question, to say the least, I mused to myself and then repeated the question out loud to the young woman looking at me.
I was somewhat taken aback by this confrontation. However, it didn't take too much insight to realize that this woman of the day happened to be a "woman of the night."
But somehow I sensed as I looked into her eyes a feeling of sadness … in spite of the brave front. Surprisingly, though, there wasn't a hardness that my preconceived notion had regarding this type of a woman; that is, a woman of this profession. Had there been, I probably would have turned away with nothing but a cold, "No thanks."
In fact, the opposite was true. Instead I introduced myself and asked her for her name. She said it was Toni. I knew that here was a young woman who was undoubtedly hurting in one way or another. So I began to ask Toni some questions. "Why are you in this business?" I queried.
"Because I need the money," she replied.
I felt sure that her reply was a poor attempt to try and justify to herself what she was doing. I didn't disagree.
"Well, tell me about yourself," I continued. "Do you have brothers and sisters? What do they do? Do you still live at home? What does your father do? And what about your mother?"
By the way, who are you?
What do you do?
Toni began to open up and we were having an interesting conversation when suddenly she stopped, as if suspicion had caused an instant freeze on her flow of words. She blurted out, "Hey, Dick, wait a minute. Nobody in my whole life has ever talked to me like this before. By the way, who are you? What do you do?"
Oh, no, I thought to myself, if I tell her who I am and what I do, she'll go for her life and that'll be the end of our conversation."
I didn't want to answer her question so I stood there and grinned rather foolishly—which I sometimes do when I feel cornered. I learned that technique by the time I was five to try to out-manipulate my mother. This time it wasn't working. I decided to tell Toni the truth.
"You'll never believe me," I finally replied, "but I'm a minister of religion", to which I fully expected her to clam up and go for her life.
But Toni never batted an eyelid. As quick as a flash she responded, "You mean you believe in the Lord?"
"Yes," I said rather relieved.
"So do I," she said positively, and continued, "I often pray in the shower and ask God to forgive my sins."
Interesting, I thought to myself. That's pretty common. Like Pilate of old who had Jesus crucified, people still try to wash away their guilt—which neither water nor the symbolic act of washing can do. Only God can take our guilt away."
But Toni didn't give me a chance to reply again. She just opened up to me. She told me all about her family and her work, how much she despised what she was doing, how unhappy she had always been, how she felt that her father had rejected and deserted her and moved a thousand miles away. She hadn't seen him since she was a little girl. She had been deeply hurt by him. She also told me in no uncertain terms how much she hated her mother.
Continued on Page Two