Mother’s words replayed in my mind as I got ready for work. Time and distance had removed most of their sting, but the sentiment remained. Shame was the name of her game. Raised a strict Catholic, mother was determined to keep me, her only child, on the straight and narrow.
If mother could see me now.
It had been five years since I last saw mother, but I could still see her: gold crucifix and hair bound in a tight bun. She looked like a nun. And if it hadn’t be for me, she’d probably would have been a nun.
Even as a child, her words felt more like accusations than motherly advice. Her delivery made her intention clear – the scornful tone of her voice, the singular arched brow, and piercing stare. I felt like I’d done something wrong. I had no idea what a trollop was, but everything told me it was bad, and my mother thought I may become one.
Year-round, my school uniform consisted of a starched button-down top, knee-length skirt, and knit, white tights. All of the other girls, who wore stylish knee socks the color of freshly fallen snow, were not shy about letting me know how dorky I was. Supposedly good girl classmates made my life hell though high school. Meanwhile, most of them were giving their boyfriends lipstick rings in the backseat of rust bucket cars.
If they could see me now.
* * *
Opening the top dresser drawer, Gabriella chose a pair of sheer black stockings. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she skillfully gathered the soft silk between her fingers, pointed the toes of her left foot, and gently slid the silken stocking up her long, tan leg. Stopping mid-thigh she attached clasps to the lacy top. She repeated the same seductive process on her right leg.
Rising to her feet, Gabriella slipped a floor-length, red dress over her head. It glided onto her with fluid motion, and she smoothed the clingy satin over her body’s curves. Her phone beeped, notifying her it was time to go. One last request remained: Besides garters and silk stockings, this particular client had a proclivity for sky-high heels. Black, red-soled stilettos ensured Gabriella would get a hefty tip that night.