Storyteller: SMOOTH SADIE

an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Sadie is one of my favorite neighbors. I usually see her in the late afternoons when I come home from work. Either with her hair all wrapped in a scarf, or cascading in her face and resting on her shoulders, always with a lit cigarette in her hand. With the Marlboro hard box resting on the stair beside her, lighter on top. Even when the weather is cool outside, Sadie wears the shortest shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, revealing her series of tattoos that patterns down her arm and legs. She even wears pink-toe rings on both feet. Men love Sadie. She has a different fella there every week, it seems. “Each serves their own purpose.” Sadie once told me. Whenever she needs a ride, she calls her fella with a car. When she needed money, she called another. When she was lonely, there was a man there for that as well. “Its all about balance, you see,” Sadie would tell me. “Never keep all your eggs in one basket,” taking a large puff of her cigarette.

She’d laugh so hard.

Today, Sadie is where she is always–on her porch. Today, she wears her hair in a ponytail. Her eye, swollen, her cigarette hand, trembling. She snorted a lot, spitting out the combination of snot and blood on the pavement in front of her. She started talking to me without looking directly at me, moving her pack of cigarettes and lighter to make room for a place for me to sit.

“Fucking assholes,” was the first thing she said. “You tell them to come at a certain time and they think just because they fuck you they can do whatever it is they please.” She spat again.  “Men,” she said, “they think they own you, yeah?” I only shrugged.

I believe the “driver” caught Sadie with the guy who usually stays overnight. She went on to tell me about how during the early morning hours, one of the men arrived at her apartment unannounced. “Like dogs,” Sadie said, “you have to keep training them. You have to keep hitting them on the nose with newspaper until they mind you.”

She figured that she hadn’t quite finished training one of them. I told Sadie that she used a cruel and unfamiliar perception to guide her relationships with men.

She only just laughed at me. Regardless to what I may have thought, and regardless of what I told her otherwise, Sadie would just tell me that I am still too young to understand the “rules of the game.” That being a woman is having the ability to find and be able to master the balance between love and ownership.

I asked her about trust and honesty.

She just laughed at me. She told me that I was still too young to understand what that meant. I asked her about what happened this morning; about her face, her hair–and if what has happened changed her perception of love and ownership.

“Men want you to lie to them, want you to tell them how great they are–how your feelings aren’t worth more than theirs.” She went on this way, about how men have to feel that they are in control.  So what if she had to get slapped around once or twice.

I told her I disagreed with her, and that women shouldn’t have to endure abuse in any form. That no one should have to.

Again, she just laughed. “Yeah, I didn’t say I was right all the time. I said you have to be able to find a balance.” She asked that I don’t take her methods to heart. That each relationship was different, and that she was still working out the odds and ends.

“I never said that I was perfect.”

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