China-doll paint sultrifies the little-girl-face beneath layers of makeup no child should wear. Neither mask is a right representation of the shattered child that lives within. With one last look in the mirror to make sure her night work costume is right, Mary reaches for the most important part of her pre-work routine; knowing that without it she couldn’t do the kind of work required of her. This small bag of white dope, her one treasure, is the only thing in life that she looks forward to. The ritual of powder in spoon, adding just the right amount of water, and cooking up the witch’s brew, comforts her in daily repetition; with its promised relief from pain, the one true thing she can count on. Anticipation rises as the dark-brown fluid fills the syringe and Mary trembles as she lightly thumps bubbles upward and squeezes the plunger to let the air out. Expertly, she wraps red-silk-sash tightly around her upper arm and inserts the needle in her favorite vein. She pulls back the plunger, watches it fill with blood, and assured of hitting the mark, she pushes the plunger in. Releasing the sash, she melts in ecstasy and total relief.
These few moments of escape from grim reality are the only Heaven Mary believes she will ever taste or deserve. Mixed with drug-induced dreaming, shards of reality sift in and Mary drifts back to remember the day when her child’s world was smashed and the dark settled in. Mary is only seventeen and though her initial shattering took place three years ago, those three years stretch long with the trauma of a lifetime. The child Mary was at fourteen died suddenly, in a distant time and lays buried deep in memories, covered by filth. Mary doesn’t mourn for her. She hates her and chides her! Mary believed what her mother said and knew she’d gotten what she deserved. She shouldn’t have done whatever she did that invited her mother’s boyfriend into her bedroom. She shouldn’t have frozen in fear. She should have screamed! She should have fought! There must have been something she could have done! How could she be so dumb? So bad? Mary’s mother told her she was born to be a whore and no whore was going to live in her house! Mary found herself on the street, with no where to go. She had no money, no food, and nowhere to sleep. Mary was small back then, alone, and afraid. Mary was still alone and afraid, everyday.
Cold night settled in on that distant day, as Mary huddled on a park bench shivering in fear. Like an angel from Heaven, he appeared with kind words and easily, gained desperate Mary’s trust. With flattery and promises of care and protection the man lured her into a world no childlike mind can conceive or mentally handle. On that frigid ink-black night, Mary stopped being a child and became a commodity. The life her mother predestined for her by her words and actions came to pass. Mary became a whore, even though she was still just a child. No longer part of the world of decent human beings, Mary found herself being sold daily as an object of sexual abuse. Mary was no longer regarded as human. Mary became a sex-toy. In the confusion of her new life, the one thing she knew for certain was that it was her fault. After all, if the police came, she would be the one sent to jail. While the influential men who bought and used her, were kept safe and sent home to their wives. Mary could see how bad she was in the condemning stares of people on the street; especially the women. They looked at her with the same disdainful eyes belonging to her mother. She was lucky the man gave her food and a place to sleep. He was right, he was good and she was undeserving and inherently, bad. The things he taught her that pleased he and the other men twisted her princess-meets-prince fantasies and hopes of true love into personal degradation. Mary quickly learned to despise men. Her heart filled with inexpressible hatred. She wanted to hurt men in the same way that she hurt and it wasn’t long before she became adept at taking them for all they were worth. Bitten at fourteen, Mary at seventeen dreamed of becoming Queen of the Vampires. There was no other dream possible for her.
On a night that seemed like any other night, Mary’s life took a different turn. She sat down on the same park bench where her fate was sealed three years ago and on that bench, Mary found a pocket-sized Bible. She looked around asking for the owner but no one came forward to claim it. Mary didn’t know anything about religion but she knew for certain that she was a sinner too sinful for a holy God! That little book wouldn’t likely do her any good. However, the small book was bound in leather, with pages tipped in gold, and it might be worth something. Mary tucked the Bible in her purse.
Several days later, Mary rediscovered the Bible she’d forgotten about, when she was cleaning out her purse. Curiosity drew her in and she began reading. Mary was shocked and caught her breath, as she read of another Mary who was also, a prostitute. “In this Holy book?” she asked herself. Mary Magdalene was a woman of sin, just like Mary and Jesus loved her! Jesus loved her when the rest of the world despised her and Jesus changed Mary Magdalene’s life. She became one of his most devout and closest followers. Mary began to cry as suddenly, a rush like warm wind enveloped her in love. Mary fell to her knees in response, as words not of herself came pouring from her lips. “Jesus, save me as you saved this other Mary! Please, save me Jesus! Please take away my sin!” Mary fell into a heap of happy tears and then into a peaceful sleep. In her dreams, Jesus came and wrapped her in a new white robe. In His kind voice He said, “Mary, I’ve called you from a life of great tribulation to walk with me in a new way of life unlike, the only life you’ve known. This white robe is your dignity, stolen when you were only a child, and I’m returning that dignity to you. Follow me and leave your old world behind.”
When Mary woke up, nothing had changed but everything was different. Mary wasn’t the same. Mary was loved and she knew it. Mary was no longer alone and her old life changed because her new life was directed by God; and He opened the doors that allowed Mary to escape her life of degradation. Through faith, Mary received strength to change old habits and build a different life. Just like Mary Magdalene, she loved Jesus with unquenchable devotion and never looked back with longing on her old life of sin. Protected by her Heavenly Father, Mary became the lady she was intended to be. With her old life of sorrowful degradation behind her, Mary lives a new life characterized by joy! With Jesus living within her, the dark things of her past brought into the light became a light and it shines as a beacon to all other Mary Magdalene’s