I admired her. Long before the revelation was made. Initially, precipitated by events surrounding birthday celebrations and feelings of sheer horniness, her embarrassingly and abnormally loud screams, cries and moans during nights of marathon sex didn't, surprisingly, evoke an attitude of disgust in me.
Born and raised Muslim, the matter of fact manner in which she negotiated and reconciled her desire for sex, which was perceived by her as a mundane fact of life, with her very conservative Muslim religious beliefs, deeply fascinated me.
Many times after a riotous night of reckless abandon, she would emerge in the morning to have breakfast woefully lamenting of mediocre sex.
"I just can't deal," was her catch phrase.
Embarrassed and at a loss for words, I would sit across from her on the breakfast table, carefully using my knife and fork to cut my scrambled eggs and sausage into bit sized pieces and desperately searching in my mind for a new subject matter.
My embarrassment, I guess did go un-noticed for a while until she realized that I was not the only audience during these nights of wild abandon. Living in an apartment building let alone a tight network of many apartment buildings, where sound easily bounced off walls, her penchant for dick soon became will known in the neighbourhood.
Even then, as we walked the streets (no pun intended) and received glares of disgust, she remained indignant.
For me, my admiration of her confidence, the confidence that I would never have in a million years, slowly began to change.
I was a patsy. A good old fashioned patsy.
A black girl from the Caribbean, Christian, unmarried and career driven, the neighbours were inclined to believe that I was the source of the nightly screams that pierced the tranquil nights of this very conservative city in Turkey.
What could I do?
Time to Roll Out
"I don't like being heard like that," she finally admitted one morning out of the blue.
"I think that I will just hook up with guys in Istanbul or Ankara from now on."
And just like that, she was gone every week for two three days on end. On her return she would often recount tales that mirrored the encounters she had had in our apartment.
As for our apartment, if you are wondering, it was not located in a seedy red light district part of the city. Quite the opposite. It was chosen for its 'conservative point of view.' Regarded as safe and away from the unpalatable elements as determined by a Muslim community.
And this is why I admired her so much. She had courage.
Yes, she used me as a patsy, but I know that she would never had known that I would have been her roommate when she arrived in Turkey one week after me.
It was sheer coincidence and luck for her that I became her roommate.
So, while her machinations may have been perceived as malicious, using racial and cultural stereotypes to seemingly impair identification, the reality of the situation was that it was purely coincidental.
Later over some conversations, her disgust for Muslim men's hypocrisy became evident and served as a reason for which she simply did not care how they perceived her ... and why I shouldn't too.
"At one point, I loved my religion. I practiced it with a passion. But then I realised just how hypocritical the whole thing was. Men. And now, I just don't care," I remember her explaining.
That was as far as her testimony was to go with me on that issue.
Hook ups or Business?
Because her sexual escapades had started with hookups, I assumed for that time that was the nature of her sexual exploits.
I was quite oblivious to the fact that she was actually in the business of selling her body to anyone for the desired price. Married men, college men, married couples; the list of clients was as endless as the demand.
It was only after a friend had visited me, whose interest in her had been piqued considerably by her frequent visits to Istanbul- a seven hour journey- at least 3 times a week despite having a 9-5 job, was the truth finally revealed.
This friend stayed up late to have a friendly chat with her and over a couple shots of alcohol she stated what should have been obvious to me, but sadly was not.
She was a prostitute.
As my friend whispered this secret to me the next day, I simply could not believe it.
But after a few moments of adding things up, it all made sense. Who has this much sex all the time? Who would travel seven hours every day, four days a week for dick and the occasionally clit? Who?
My admiration for her was now made groundless with that revelation.
I had admired her because of her 'courage' to defy religious and socio-cultural expectations. Furthermore, my admiration had been bolstered by each passing sexual encounter as she appeared more beautiful, confident and I dare say, regal.
Sex to her was like finding a piece of her soul and for someone who had lost theirs in acts of indignity, I had often wondered if God was trying to tell me something as I listened to her scream her head off during sex.
The very thing that had stripped me of my own power, autonomy and respect could perhaps restore it.