by Jeffrey Stockbridge
Tanya sits on the steps of the El Train at Kensington and Somerset.
Tanya: Uh, I escorted since I was 18 years old with a, uh, like an agency. Um, I only been out here for about a month… on the streets. Um, but, all together, I’m 25 now. So, 18 to 25, you know, I been doing this for, like, um… a couple, a lot of years.
$181.00 for food stamps, you know? It’s like… you know. So, once all that’s gone, you know, I gotta come out here and make as much money as I can, and I don’t like doing this, like, you know, this, like, I don’t like being on the street if I’m not on Xanies, you know, because, if, like, I’m… I’m more, like, not that, that, that, that afraid, if you know what I mean… to do it. You know. But… I am afraid. You know, you never know what can happen.
I do a bag of dope before I leave my house. If I have money at that point, um, I’ll do like, one or two bags of dope. I get ready, I get a shower, I come out, you know, catch a date, and you know, after I catch a date, well, I go get my drugs and then I catch another date, and then another date, you know. So… It’s kind of, it’s kinda rough out here. You gotta watch the cops 24 hours a day, you know what I mean? You gotta watch what car you get into. You know, I just, you know, I don’t like being out here. I hate being out here, you know. When I got out of Detox, I went into Detox in February, I was clean for 5 months. Those 5 months that I was clean, I couldn’t get a job at all. Like, I went so many places, like so many places, like Kmart, Pathmark, you know what I mean. Like, anything you can think of, I went to it. I even went to the mall to see if they had jobs, none of them were hiring.