the club was crowded, the music was loud, & the dolls were strictly
penthouse. I wouldn’t hang out in a joint like this, but it was the only
libational opportunity near the station, & my train didn’t go till dawn.
I took the only empty bar stool, next to a woman in a dark dress. her
outfit wasn’t particularly explicit about its color, it was just dark. I can
tell a shut-down dame when I see one, so I stayed horribly faithful to
then the parade started, a string of jokers with a one-word intro, & the
word was ‘dance?’ she kept repeating ‘no thank you,’ like it was her
mantra. it was getting irritating.
half-way thru my third drink, I let go with a smart crack where it didn’t
belong. ‘you turn down those guys like your beautiful,’ I told her. ‘you
ain’t that pretty.’ she looked right at me. I could’ve made book on her
reaction & walked away with a nice profit. ‘Fuck you!’ she said.
but that didn’t end it. she was coming at me with both barrels. ‘okay
mister, you’re gonna listen to my story, whether you like it or not.’
‘five years ago, I was engaged. on my wedding day, a kid walked into
the church with a letter. my fiancé didn’t have the guts to face me. he
was garbage, but it hurt. it hurt for a long time. finally, I met another
man & fell again, then another one after that, but they didn’t work out.’
‘I was afraid to be alone, so I started cruising the wrong kind of bars,
meeting the wrong kind of men. names & faces & who paid for the
drinks didn’t matter, as long as he had a voice to tell me something nice.
as long as he stayed with me the whole night. & sometimes, they did.’
‘one day I looked in the mirror & said, honey, you’re a slut. you’re a whore
& you don’t even get paid for it. I cried then, I cried till every tear was
drained out of me. tonight I tested myself for the final time. I felt like I
had surmounted a severe obstacle in my life. I could survive as woman.’
‘then you tell me I’m not pretty enough. I should punish myself by going to
bed with you, but I’ve come to the last of my love. making it & wrecking it.’
as she walked toward the exit, I figured she needed someone right then.
someone to apologize, tell her what a jerk he was. buy her a cup of coffee &
pull her out of that awful, lonely place. someone…
me? I had a train to catch...
(Art: Emmanuel Sougez)