“Jamir,” I said (pictured, right, hugging), fighting for calm. “What are we doing?”
He grinned, a big sloppy smile. “Tonight you finish treatment, yes?” he asked.
I nodded, surprised he had even remembered.
“We celebrate,” he said. “Look, look.”
In the street ahead, I saw a blur of sequins, a flash of female flesh, short skirts and bikini tops. Prostitutes. Three or four of them had their arms in the air, waving their hands above their heads. I looked at Jamir with confusion and horror. He mistook the look on my face for a question of logistics. “Just climb in the back,” he said. “I’ll pay.”
The light dawned—I’d finished treatment, I was moving into my new apartment and Jamir wanted to get me something, a sort of housewarming gift. I felt alarmed and disgusted, but also a little touched. There was an awful moment where I just didn’t know how to respond. Then, from the street, we heard the voices of the women waving their hands.
As one they chanted, “GO HOME! YOU’RE DRUNK! NO SERVICE!”
I laughed, relieved. We’d been flagged.