A cup of hot coffee and a warm, safe, armchair. Silence. Solitude. Safety.
All I've ever wanted.
I keep my eyes open. Nothing good to see when they close.
There is a gentle knock at the door of my flat. I told her not to ring.
Bells. Alarms. Any kind of loud ringing. I can't take it.
She respects that. She respects me. she knocks.
I get up slowly and look through the peephole carefully. She is alone.
I unlock the locks. One by one. I take my time.
It's easier not to take my life if I do everything slowly. Rash actions can't always be undone.
This is my first week living on my own in my entire life.
I open the door and step back.
"Thank you Ilona, may I come in?"
I nod yes.
She is short and a little fat. She said she was like me once. I don't believe it but I don't say so.
She takes her coat off and hangs it on one of the hooks by the door. She takes off her shoes.
"Your flat is so clean."
she says this every time she visits.
It is clean because I clean it. With gloves and bleach and detergents and sprays and brooms and mops.
I will never sleep in filth again.
I return to my coffee and comfortable armchair. She sits on a stool across from me. The chair is only for me. No one else. She asks me questions. I return one-word answers.
There are many pages to read and sign. I do not read them. I sign them.
Then pictures. Photographs. I stare at their faces. three men and two women.
My traffickers, my jailers, my pimps, my masters.
They shuffled me around the unlit world and grew rich off my back.
She asks me how I am. I nod. I say I just want to be left alone. Rest and peace is all I ask.
She nods and asks if she can come back tomorrow.
My coffee is cold.
After she leaves I make a fresh cup of coffee.
I keep my eyes open.
Nothing good to see when they close.