Samantha works next to a cement pillar used to hold up an overpass in Guadalhorce, a city on the southern coast of Spain that is notorious for it’s street activity. On this giant cement support structure that Samantha paces by, back and forth waiting for her next ‘client’, it reads, “Jesus” in royal blue spray paint. The placement of this Holy name on the cold cement tells me that it is a statement rather than a piece of art, which makes it even more majestic.
The first time I met Samantha I approached her with my sunglasses on, allowed her to embrace me, a complete stranger, with the embrace of a dear friend who I am reuniting with after a long absence and the culturally appropriate kiss on both cheeks. That day I was the third to receive this embrace, giving me the opportunity to observe during the first two. As Annie and Martha approached Samantha, her face lit up and her beautiful hazel eyes sparkled as if she were staring at two beautiful diamonds. Samantha grabbed both Annie and Martha, one after the other and she held them so tightly, like a child hold on to its source of comfort and security in a moment of fear. Soft words came from Samantha’s lips, a tone of appreciation, of thankfulness and an understanding that even if it is this once, someone was willing to come back for her.
All three communicated in Spanish, as Samantha explained that the flower she received from Annie and Martha during their first meeting was in a glass vase at home and was still alive, a beautiful picture of the heart[s] behind this single flower. As they conversed, I stood in the back ground with my sunglasses on, trying desperately to multitask understanding the fast moving Spanish dialogue, praying for Samanthas heart, and attempting to keep my emotions in check. I was transition my focus from scanning the area, looking at both Annie and Martha’s facial expressions as they spoke with Samantha, and also onto Samantha’s hazel eyes and the smile that radiated from underneath them.
Seven days a week Samantha paces under the shade of this overpass, occasionally taking an opportunity to rest and sit on a cement curb against the wall of this mini bridge type structure. She walks back and forth past the name of her eternal lover, waiting for a dreadful exchange of resources and services. As each car slows under the shade, Samantha approaches the passenger window and they discuss what specific services are provided for the specific exchange of resources. Numerous men have looked into this pair of beautiful eyes that are comprised of various shades of greens, golds and browns, men who have no concern with the heart behind the eyes. I wore my sunglasses because I was so afraid of my eyes resembling another man’s, and I wanted Samantha to feel safe and protected, even for just this one interaction.
As the three of us walked the streets of Guadalhorce, we stepped over empty condom wrappers, used condoms, pieces of cardboard used as beds and empty beer cans most likely used to drown out reality. We watched a man stop on the side of the road and a woman in a bright blue outfit, the same of color that “Jesus” is written in get into his car, only to see her on another corner fifteen minutes later. And I out of sheer anger I stared into the eyes of the men who drove up and down these streets in Guadalhorce, letting them know that someone is paying attention to their pursuit.
We eventually made our way back to Samantha before getting back onto the train. Approaching Samantha again, I approached her with my sunglasses on my pocket and as she reached to embrace me once again, I stared into her deep hazel eyes. Our eyes have the ability to say so many things and that day, under that bridge, next to the royal blue Jesus, I non-verbally told Samantha that she was beautiful, that I was sorry for the way other men look at her and that even if I am the only one, there is a man who respects her.
My message is bold & simple: MEN, if you need to ‘get off’ that desperately… don’t use another human to masturbate with. Regardless of how we earn money to pay our bills, our line of work does not define any living human, the image of our Creator does.