Monday, January 10, 2011

The Story of Christina

My name is Christina.  This is my story.
I was born in China along with a million others, just like me.
Some of us were selected to go over seas – to the Americas.
We were the special ones. 
We made our way across the sea.
Most days were calm.
Some days were so rocky that I thought the ship would come apart.
The water constantly pounded against the ship.
The ship creaked and popped like crazy.
The quarters where we were staying were dark and cramped.
We were situated at the bottom of the ship.
We were cargo amongst the animals.
We had to stick together to survive.
We did not see the daylight. 

We arrive to the Americas and are removed from the boat.
We are handled quite brutally. 
Our bodies are so stiff from the long journey.
We are not sure what is happening.
Where are we going?  What will we be doing?
We wonder about our fate and why we were brought here.
Then we are sold.
Sold like slaves.  We will work long hard hours for no pay.
A few of us are taken and placed in the back of a van.
There are maybe six or seven of us.  I can’t tell exactly.
I can’t see.  It is dark again.
Someone’s foot is in my eye.
The van has no windows in the back.

At last I am taken to my office with the big window.
I travelled a thousand miles to get here.
It is glorious.
I am given nice clothes to wear and a fancy purse to carry.
I am young.  I am beautiful.
My perfectly painted skin is smooth and glowing.
I wear false lashes to enhance my eyes.
I have a nice body with perfect breasts and a small waist.
My hips are exactly proportionate.  I am tall.  My tummy is flat.
My job is to sell with my body.

I work hard for my employer.  Selling and selling.
I stand for very long periods of time.
Sometimes it feels like eternity.
I cannot move for fear it will shatter the illusion of who I am.
If I do not work hard, they will get rid of me
If I do not look beautiful, they will get rid of me
So I stand for very long periods of time.

I learn alot about life while I’m working
My job gives me plenty of time to observe everything
I stand and watch the people from my office with the big window.
Sometimes there is a parade.
People are dressed in colourful costumes
Prancing and waving.  It is delicious.
The music is loud.
The sound of drums beat into my heart
But mostly I watch the everyday people.
People are interesting.

One day a young couple was looking at me.
They were looking and staring at me.
They looked at me for quite some time.
I felt their eyes boring into my soul from the outside in.
They examine me from head to toe.  Talking.  Laughing.
Then they turned and kissed each other on the mouth.
The kiss is long, slow and lingering
The sensation of this made me tremble a little inside.
I have never been kissed before. 
I do not know the feeling of warm flesh upon my lips.

Another time I saw two men arguing. 
I felt the vibration of their argument through the window.
It touched me.  Frightened me.

Sometimes I would see homeless people with tattered coffee cups
Their old worn out blankets wrapped around thin shoulders
They held out their cups asking for spare change.
Some people would toss a quarter or two but most walked by.
I felt sad and I wanted to cry but the tears would not come.

I am working in my office with the big window
Wearing the beautiful clothes
Carrying the beautiful bags
I had am there for a long time.
My life is good.

One day I am removed from the window and stripped.
Abrubtly.  Roughly.
They dropped me as they savagely remove my clothes
I hit the floor hard.
They stood over me for a moment.
I was broken.
It was awkward and painful.
My skin had cracked
Fingernails broken
My toes chipped.
I was broken and devastated.
This moment changed my life forever.

I was moved to another office.
One without a window.
There were others here, just like me.
We were all broken.
We would look at each other.
We could not speak through our pain.
We were cold.  Naked.  Exposed.
We were in the land of Unwanted.
A long period of time went by.

Our employer came for us.
We thought that we were saved.
The thought of this gave us hope.
But our elation was short-lived.
We were sold again.
I was taken.  Alone.
I was thrown into the backseat of a car.
I stared at the puffy ceiling and counted the tiny holes.

I am taken to an office with a big window.
But I would not be working there.
I was no longer beautiful.
My skin was cracked.
My fingernails broken.
My eyelashes missing.
They put me in the back office.
They dress me in unfashionable clothing.
I carry a purse that smells of old cigarettes.
I stand for long periods of time.

To pass the time I observe the people.
An old woman was standing near me.
She was disheveled.
Her dyed orange hair was greasy and not brushed.
She had not showered for days.
She took my purse and put it under her coat.
Later I saw that she was escorted from the store
She was told never to return.
My purse was returned to me.
I wasn’t there very long at this place.

I was taken from my spot at the back
And transferred to a big warehouse.
There were others here, just like me.
We were all broken.
I look at the sea of broken body parts.
Torsos missing their heads
Arms and legs pointing in every direction
Naked breasts exposed
I was thrown into the pile of others, just like me.
Used and rendered useless.
We were nothing but trash.
Our working life cycle completed.
I travelled a thousand miles to get here?

I live in the landfill.
I will live for ten thousand years
Before the earth will claim me as hers.
I will be here longer than the flesh of 10 billion people.
I will survive
With my cracked skin
My broken fingernails and my chipped toes
I will survive. my life as a mannequin.

© Sherry Irvine – January 6, 2010

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