JUDITH by M Teresa Clayton
“Family faces are magic mirrors looking at people who belong to us; we see the past, present and future” –Gail Lumet Buckley
Finding the old man was easy enough. Judith knew Mr. Waddles would enter Dunmore’s at precisely 8:00 A.M. and Dina, the morning waitress, would have his coffee poured before he took his seat at the back booth. Judith walked in right behind him and took the seat across from him. Mr. Waddles smiled, “Judith, what a nice surprise. What brings you to Dunmore’s this morning? I would have thought you’d never show your face in here again after they let you go.”
“Well, I’m a mother,” she spoke to the point, “and a girl who needs a job in a town where jobs are hard to come by, especially without experience.”
Mr. Waddles grunted in acknowledgement without taking his eyes off the cup in front of him as he continued to stir.
“I’m also a woman…” she continued. Mr. Waddles stopped stirring and tapped his spoon against the lip of the cup before placing it on the napkin which was still folded neatly on the table in front of him. He looked up at Judith with renewed interest; leaning forward as if he needed to hear the proposition clearly the first time it was made.
“Why, Judith… I do think we can do business… how about this evening?” he volleyed back to her. “Is ten o’clock good for you?”
As she stood to leave, a hand from the next booth reached out and grabbed her by the arm. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help hearing the offer you made to this gentleman and I was wondering…” He winked. To her surprise, the young man was asking if he could pay her a visit around 1 a.m., giving Mr. Waddles plenty of time to complete his business and depart.
“I’ll pay you twice what he offered,” he smiled assuredly.
She returned his smile and asked him for his pen. She wrote her address on the napkin in front of him and instructed him to knock only once and to be on time.
Too smooth, she thought to herself. It’s too easy. Judith stepped into the alleyway next to Dunmore’s and threw up.
Lily smiled up at her mother as she tucked her safely into her bed and placed her ‘special’ friend, a worn-out stuffed bunny, next to her face for comfort. It was important that she not see the faces of the men that would be visiting tonight, Judith thought as she returned the smile. Hopefully, there would never be any night sounds; the sound of the television would be enough to drown out their sickening moans. Judith kissed Lily’s forehead and turned off the light. “I love you Lily, sweetest dreams.”
“I love you more!” spoke the tiny voice of her angel as she closed the door.
Mr. Waddles was prompt. He didn’t fool around with idle talk either; time was money! Judith took off her blouse and was fumbling with the hooks on her bra. A rush of memories flooded her mind making it difficult to concentrate on the moment. What am I doing? She thought to herself knowing that there was no other way. She had to do what she had to do. A sudden jolt of understanding hit her… and the memory of that night…
“Don’t bother with that, dear,” he snorted. “I’m not interested in anything but this.” He spun Judith around and patted her behind.
Before she could protest, he had her panties down at her ankles and bent over the side of the vanity. She heard him spit into his hand and nearly passed out when she finally realized what he intended to do. It burned with every thrust and she prayed that he would finish quickly.
Judith caught a glimpse of her own horrified and contorted face in the mirror just before she saw HER reflection break through. SHE didn’t say a word; just watched the old man intently as he continued his assault.
Judith’s prayers were answered. He quickly finished his business behind her, zipped up his pants, and threw a $50 bill onto the vanity where she was still bent over in pain.
“Always knew you had a sweet little ass, but never imagined just how sweet.” Judith supposed that was meant as a compliment for services rendered. No matter how desperate she was, she swore to herself that she would never be rendering her services to him again. Ever!
She had crossed the line. There was no turning back. She cleaned herself up and wiped her cheeks and neck with a cool moist facecloth. She wasn’t even aware that she was crying until she saw herself in the mirror above the sink as she dried her face.
It’s okay, Judith. I’m here darling one. You will be fine and everything will be right in the morning.
Judith lay across her bed and pulled a pillow to her. A tear traced down her cheek and fell onto the sheet.
There was a rap at the door. Visitor number two was just outside. It had felt as if she were inside of a time warp. She looked at the clock on the nightstand – two hours had passed and it seemed as if she had just wiped her face. The last thing she remembered was seeing her own reflection in the bathroom mirror and now she was in bed – not asleep, mind you – waking from some sort of daze. Judith didn’t even bother getting dressed. She put on her robe and answered the door.
“Judith?” he had such a nice voice. “Judith, are you okay?”
“I’m just a little shook up,” she answered, trying not to make eye contact. “Didn’t expect things to go the way they did is all.”
He opened her robe and saw that she was still wearing her bra but was totally bare below. He nodded as if he suddenly understood and turned her around.
“He managed to hurt you in the process, didn’t he?”
“I never expected… I wasn’t prepared…”
“No worries. I won’t be using that end tonight anyway, if it’s all the same to you.”
It wasn’t the same to her. It was never the same for her; just business. The pleasure was always theirs.