for sale

“I’m not for sale,” I said, feeling as if I were turned upside down, standing on my head, and maybe also blind. “Never met a woman that said she was,” he replied, matter of fact, no venom. “But everyone has a price.”

“I don’t.” He was watching me, sizing me up, as it were, and he was holding a very important file. If I don’t say what he wants me to, right this moment, he will close that manila file upon itself and the papers inside will be shut up as securely as if they were buried fathoms below ground. And what will become of me. He closed the file. “What will become of me?” I asked, not intentionally but unable to keep the question unspoken. “I don’t know,” he said, smiling. I thought he looked slightly smug.

In the time since then I’ve relived the moment, and whenever I find myself back there, standing in the shadow of my own skin, I tell myself I would have made a different decision. I should have tried to broker peace. I should have – I could have – in retrospect, it’s a little too facile to point out the flaws.

And besides I know – despite knowing the outcome, despite the carnage that followed – I would always do the same thing, no matter how many times I could theoretically click my heels and return to that decision. I would always turn on my heel and walk out of that office, head spinning and blood roaring in my ears. It was as assured a decision as walking into a freight train – and probably as fair of a fight.

My dignity will be scant comfort one day, I know, if I have no more home. What will I do – or as I asked him, what will become of me?