Time has always been a wide, carpet I've ridden on to no end. The thick-pained glass windows were always open in our two-story house. I liked to sleep with the smells of the pine trees and crisp, cold air sweeping through my dreams. Now, I’m blanketed in my own sweat in heat that wraps and strangles me even in sleep. There are no windows that open, only the dime-sized cracks between boards and the muffled voices of the Madame and her hired muscle down stairs, the faint laughter and moans of girls. Some nights, I feel so alone. I place my hot face on the sticky, sweating boards of the outward facing walls of the attic, just to feel the idea of movement and air.
Back in Millerton, New York, time was thick as molasses and I had felt stuck in it. When I found my ticket out, I seized it mad with the idea of change. The paper flew through the air like a white-winged promise of escape, as I walked down main. I remember I was walking to the dry goods store to pick up new buttons Mother had ordered through the Sears Roebuck catalog. She’s always working on some project. She finds dresses in the catalog we could never afford, and then sets out to sew the dress herself (of course with a lot of help from me!). I was so tired of her words: Amy, go ahead and sew up these seams. Amy, go fetch me my new pack of buttons from the dry goods store. Amy, stop fidgeting at that window. The paper was crumpled, and dirt streaked. I’m sure I hadn’t been the only one to see it. Since the war, so many restless young people have left town. The wording on the notice was clear:
Looking for gainful employment in a new, vibrant town? We are looking for young girls to work in the NEW booming hotel trade in OIL BOOM TOWN. We pay for travel. If interested, send notice to the Dew Drop Inn, PA.
What I would do to re-read those words, to see those words as they really were. My face grows hot just thinking of my ignorance. Now, I am here, my head pressed against thin boards and no one knows it. I didn't even have the sense to tell my mother I was leaving town. She must be worried sick. And my father? He must be beside himself. His only daughter leaving town without a goodbye. What’s worse is I have no idea exactly where I am. I know I’m somewhere near Franklin, Pennsylvania. But, after that, I didn't know where they were taking me. All that I know is that I've never felt more helpless in my fifteen years. I’m trapped in the attic of a brothel and no one in this world knows where I am.