“Oh Lola I haven’t seen you in so long!” she exclaimed, lips slowly pulling apart over her spotless teeth. I smiled weakly, tried telling her ‘Well why could that be!’ but it sounded like a half-hearted laugh. I shrugged. Look friendly, Lola! This is a client and you are not allowed to be afraid and after all she is a woman and you are hardly about to get raped in school in front of everyone. “So long . . . ” I trailed off, nodding and smiling like mad and trying to ease backwards.
But the woman was not to be deterred. Her smile every widening, she followed me step for step as I inched back and away, telling me what a wonderful role model I was and how lucky the children were to have me. Finally I felt a soft thud behind me and I knew I’d hit the wall. I pressed myself against it. No one would corner their child’s teacher, right? But she did, of course, hugging me tightly, like a long-lost relative and kissing me tenderly on the cheek. “We just love you so much, Lola,” she said through clenched teeth. Why is she hugging me so tightly?! Why are her teeth clenched?! Does she really like me or really hate me?!
I peeled off my layers of clothing that night. They were still stuck to my sweaty skin. “I smell like fucking two-week old turkey,” I told Havana, who sits on my bed and cocks her head at me when I speak. No one wants to hear about how often I have to wash my bras unless they’re perverts or sadists.