John at all times liked the reveal of a working girl opening the door.
He had grown up extremely poor, born to a broken family with no father, in a small town deprived of opportunity. By working hard, constantly sacrificing, he now had the money he only dreamed of when all he knew was the freezing bite of cold nights. For the next hour, he knew he would be able to discover warmth in the paid embrace of whoever was behind that door.
“Welcome, Oppa,” she said softly in broken English, nervously fidgeting with her hair in the lingerie provided by the agency arranging this encounter.
John lifted her head to properly look at her face in the dimly lit foyer. “You are beautiful,” he said, in a voice both distant and formal.
He would at all times say that. And yet, this one was special. She had come specifically recommended to him by his booker—while taller and a bit awkward, she certainly was the type of young, thin, foreign, and inexperienced provider reserved only for the best clients. John had visited all variety of women over the years; he was a relatively handsome man, tall, pale of skin, with brunette hair. Yet, it was not his looks, that had led to the invitation to meet her this evening—it was his wealth and most importantly, his reputation with the agency for being discrete.
“Please remove your shoes, and I will take you to my room,” she said with a slightly forced smile.
The sex wasn’t memorable. It never was with a girl so unpracticed, and John had no interest in making her uncomfortable—other, more experienced providers, had disclosed difficult encounters with clients. There was something about John that made past escorts feel at ease and speak openly about the hardships of the profession. It had been quite clear this girl’s eyes would wander at times, and John suspected she had been imagining another place, far removed from where she currently found herself. She did try to please, and John took a certain amusement in watching someone so new to sex work fumble their way through such a mechanical routine.
John placed her head on his chest and took her hand in his when he was finished. “You did well, thank you,” John studied her face “you really are quite pretty.”
“Thank you, Oppa,” she replied. “What will Oppa be doing for dinner?” she asked in a rehearsed manner.
John indulged her curiosity replying, “perhaps I will pick up a burger on my way home.”
“I love In-N-Out Oppa, American cheeseburger is my favorite, double-double! I love everything about America,” she said enthusiastically.
“You are cute, but America isn’t all that great, there are plenty of terrible people,” John replied.
Taken a bit aback by the remark she laid there quietly.
“Tell me about Korea, you are from there, correct?” John said, a vaccination scar clearly visible on her shoulder—typical of foreign-born individuals. He had particular tastes that had been articulated to his booker regarding tattoos and scars. Many years ago, John had begun insisting upon only seeing providers who possessed no body marks, or if they did, they must not be distracting. The most common scars he had encountered were c-section or breast augmentation scars—often with a tattoo covering them up. John had glanced more puzzling tattoos hidden behind lingerie. An older provider claimed one to be a tattoo she was given in her youth after being raped. While well done, with no visible scarring, this innocent girl currently in his arms clearly had had breast and facial surgeries. John had tried to stop asking about escorts bodies and made it a point to never see the same provider twice—less attachment was better for all parties involved.
“I am from Seoul,” She replied.
“Tell me what you miss of Seoul,” John inquired.
“I miss my dog, my grandma, and I like K-pop,” she said with complete sincerity, “I watch YouTube videos in between clients,” her tone noticeably altering midsentence, worried that she might have broken the fantasy she was expected to provide by referring to other men.
“I do not mind; I am glad you find time for yourself,” John replied warmly. “You can show me your favorite artist if you would like.”
Welcoming the invitation, she grabbed her agency provided phone and played a video from a newer group John was not familiar with.
“I am sorry; I do not know this group. I am aware that you are a bit younger than me, but I was personally partial to Sonyeo Sidae and Kim Hyun-a when I was your age,” John said.
“Oh! Kim Hyun-a? I didn’t realize Oppa liked sexy girls. I am sorry I am not that sexy,” she responded, comfortably and playfully.
“You are plenty sexy,” he replied, fondling her breasts for the remainder of the appointment.
John was escorted to the front door. He leaned in for one more kiss and then softly said, “I won’t be seeing you again.”
“Goodbye,” she whispered.
John returned frequently to see her before she was spirited away by the agency to her next unknown location. He taught her everything that gave him pleasure, and in turn, he learned what pleased her. The sex became exhilarating. He still recalls her dumb little squeaking moans and their unbashful giggles when she fell off the bed in a failed attempt to dismount him. Her improvement was drastic as John corrected her posture and the arches of her back. She would ask him of methods to take him deeper and how to become accustomed to his taste—which she had habitually washed from her mouth during prior visits.
They broke all the rules together. Mimicking a ritual John and friends played in is youth, they would swap her hair ties from her wrist to his, and then back to hers, as they locked fingers—bodies connected. John insisted that she look him in the eyes and call him by his name rather than Oppa; she happily complied. Together, they began turning all the lights on to see each other more clearly and would move the mirrors scattered across the room or hang clothing to cover the known cameras the agency used to monitor the encounters. When laying together, John would have her remove the lingerie she would greet him in and put on his oversized school sweatshirt. She had his phone password, and she gave him the password to the phone the agency gave her. John would book multiple hour visits to be the last client of the night—often lingering late, using their extra time together to talk and hold one another. She would look at pictures of his travels to Africa or the ocean view from his home; she divulged to him she was not allowed to leave the apartment—having spent the last few weeks inside.
John still reflects on the last time he saw her. It was a rainy evening; she wasn’t particularly careful, playfully rolling around in his sweatshirt. John could clearly see the burn marks on her hip.
“What are those,” John said coldly with a stare fixated on the brand.
The look of dread that overtook her awkward face and what she did next shattered John’s heart; slowly, taking John’s hands with her own, she placed them over his eyes and whispered, “Oppa, do not look at that,” almost if pleading for him to return to the state of blissful ignorance he had allowed of himself with her.
“I used to be poor; at times I had to live out of my car. I struggled, and eventually, however, my life got better. I cannot help you, but I hope you are able to find happiness in your world,” John calmly replied. A single tear ran down her cheek, hastily wiped away by her small hands. “I do not want to pay for your body anymore, may I leave early?” John said with a slight tremble in his voice.
“Let me wash you,” she said sweetly. She took John to the shower and gently and passionately wiped his body. As he stared at her, he showed her a faded scar slashed across his forearm—inflicted by someone he wondered he had loved. This time, her tears rinsed away by the running water.
Walking to the door for the final time, she abruptly stopped him, firmly took him by the hand, and slid her hair tie onto his wrist with a kiss.
“Goodbye,” she whispered.