"The Escort's Story" by D R Hill -- first performed as a dramatic monologue by Joanna Strafford in April 2023.
TW: Sex References
I’m stuck here in self-isolation.
I’m sick of this flat.
I’ve been painting again today. Painting shapes and patterns. Painting so much I’m running
out of some colours. I quite like that. I like that it means less choice.
I love the painting. I’m addicted to it. I tell the day of the week now by the paintings…
what yesterday’s painting tells me …about how I was feeling, what the one from a week ago
Before this lockdown, knowing which day of the week it was depended on which of
my visitors came, my regular visitors. Maybe my paintings show what the visitors were like.
Their preferences. Would they recognise themselves? They’re not exactly portraits. And
anyway, they’ve been fixed outside, on my window, outside, and changed by the weather.
Funny to think that six weeks ago, I painted a rainbow and stuck a painting outside my
window for the first time. Why did I do that?
It was about trying to belong. Here. In lockdown. To be accepted, to be part of this
community, of anonymous flats. But why did I stick it outside?
I went out, when you still could, and bought paints and paper.
What did I think? That they’d believe there was a child living here? Maybe I meant it
as a joke.
Then I got bored. No phone messages, no online dating. No adrenalin. No sex. No
money. The bruises on my arm, from the Tuesday visitor, slowly started to turn yellow.
That was what I first painted, after the rainbow, the changing colour of the bruises.
Was that a warning I was hanging out my window? To others who might be tempted? ……A
cry for help? No! This is about me saying who I am. Who I am.
I was blotting paper before, wasn’t I? Soaking up what they came over me. Now I’m
saying who I am. Who I really am. Sharing it loud and clear, putting it out there. Sometimes I
tape pieces together to make a patchwork, all the different aspects of me. My kindness, my
need to be independent, my rejection of my god-awful childhood, my fuck you approach.
That Tuesday visitor. Always the same Tuesday afternoon time. Hardly spoke. So quiet,
never sharing anything about himself. I had to undress him. Then, when he started, pinning
me down, scary the first few times. I didn’t know how far it might go. Always leaving bruises,
on my arms, then afterwards, scuttling away with never a word. Not even waiting to be
kissed. But that last time, when I asked him where he lived and what he did, saying ‘I don’t
know anything about you.’ He changed. Slapped me about. Hard. I don’t know whether he
would have come back. How he might have been if he had.
Instead, I get paint all over my hands and arms.
Each day the rain comes and washes parts of the painting away. And the wind
creases it. And I bring it in and start again, sometimes bigger, or even more colourful, more
I never leave them out for more than twenty-four hours. I take them in and start
again. I have a need to change the picture each day. It’s like the pattern of clients. Daily
change. Some old and familiar, some new and risky. Some brutal and some gentle, some
quiet and shy, some bullying and demanding.
Sometimes I used to have a sore pussy, or nipples, but still the game went on. And I never
let on. I couldn’t. I wasn’t able to be honest. But now I can get in the shower when I want to,
not when I need to. Wash the paint off, not the cum.
Strange that before this I wanted to be, invisible, anonymous, safe. Now I’m advertising to
everyone, advertising who I am, to everyone.
The paintings are part me and part the world, how the world changes them, the rain,
the wind, the dust. How I change. Some are torn, but I love them just the same. They’re part
of me. I don’t throw any away. I remember them by the day. The day they were done. I can
see a journey in them. My journey.
They say we won’t be the same again after this lockdown. After this virus has gone.
Will I have anybody visit again? Will I want to? I’ll miss one or two of them. They probably
won’t miss me though, just my pussy.
I’ve not had to bother to shave.
I’m going to take pictures of the pictures. Have to find a use for my phone now. Take
pictures of the pictures… and put them up on Instagram. The Escort’s Story.
Who would have thought Abi would become an artist? Not my clients that’s for sure. Not my
Tuesday afternoon visitor.
That’s my dream now. I’m taking my adverts down.
But I want to be visible. I want to be known as an artist. An independent artist.
Once the restrictions are gone, I’m going out…. to buy more paints.
Cover Photograph by Tillie Lam