Zenaida (fiction)


Zenaida by Vasia Karitinou


At 19, Zenaida has fully experienced the ugly face of the European dream.  A victim of women's trafficking, born in Africa and trapped in a European city, she is coerced by her “owners” to work in a brothel as a prostitute.  
Sharing a small apartment with two more women's trafficking victims under the same “ownership”, her life has been gradually reduced to a pathetic meaningless routine, and a recurring sequence of drug-induced hallucinations, which, whilst providing an escape from the present, bring back to life nightmares from the past. Parallel images of her life in the poverty of an African slum and the misery of a ruthless European city.  The absolute deadlock...
Freeing herself from the garments of her profession, (an Afro style colorful wig, high heel shoes etc), at the end of her work hours, Zenaida will find comfort wandering around places invoking memories of the lost innocence of her childhood: parks, play-grounds and hilltops with unobstructed views and wide horizons.  Sparse attempts to socialize, such as her short-lived relationship with another young immigrant, are doomed because of her incapacity to experience sex.  
Zenaida will always remember her family and send them money regularly.  However, it is not her memory, but her psychological condition that has suffered irreparable damage:  Apathy will constitute the main, (albeit, not the sole), expression of her miserable life.  A perfect introversion and an absolute obsession with cleanliness, (especially of her own body), will complement the portrait of her failing psychological state.