I stared at the girl staring back at me in the mirror with as much defiance as I could muster. Her lips quivered slightly as she averted her eyes from my taunting stare. “I thought so” I mouthed at her. All sugary words and no balls to coat them upon.
With one last daring glance, and a threatening side shrug in her direction, I made my way past the mirror and toward the swinging doors that had the fast fading ‘NAKEDNESS IS GAIN’ sign attached to it.
The blurry red and green lights that flashed in the room blinded me the second I went through the door, attacking all the bravado I had conjured up from an unknown source within myself. I shut my eyes and was immediately confronted by the reflection I just left in the mirror. “It can’t be”, I whispered to myself as I peered closer and sure enough, there she was.
The difference about her was clear. The uncertainty that was in the mirror was gone and replaced by a cockiness that was almost…..British. She seemed like she was in complete control now. My knees buckled as I watched her clutch the short mink coat, with nothing underneath, and walk in assured strides through the throngs of men that were whistling and chanting as she strode past them blowing kisses and twirling her tongue, up until she got to the short flight of stairs that would take her up the Pole Block.
Dream and Matilda were already on the Pole Block, getting it wet as they awaited my grand entry. I wondered if they could see that it wasn’t me, the shy, quiet girl who had sauntered in uncertainly this evening, sashaying so confidently to the pole and gripping it tightly, then licking the length of it, while driving the tongues of all these ‘Dignified Gentlemen’, to almost hit the floor.
Dream (her Diva name; real name Osahon), and Matilda (doubt that secretive Mati would reveal her real name even to Hugh Hefner himself!!) seemed to be in awe of ‘Me’ as they too began gliding their poles like devoted Firemen at the blast of the fire horn!! I only met them an hour ago, and they had made me feel so comfortable already.
I watched myself tease the near Breaking Point crowd as she danced seductively to TLC’s ‘Red Light Special’ without even taking the mink coat off.
Slowly she began to drop one side of the shoulder, exposing my well structured caramel Shoulder Blade. I had to stop her!! I spotted our Booker, who I had been on my way to tell that I couldn’t go through with this, just before she took over.
My booker was watching me the way a Cattle Rearer would a new flock of cows he just spent his savings on. She had taken a shot in the dark by hiring me, when I had walked hesitantly inside the Bar just this evening, after overhearing Dream and Mati talking during a smoke break, about how their colleague had bailed on a trip with one Customer.
The Booker hadn’t even bothered to ask me to take off my clothes, as her practiced eye had already caught sight of my striking figure through the jeans and long-sleeved shirt I had worn to, ironically, hide it.
I had to stop this madness right NOW!! I braced myself as I sought to summon some strength from that unknown source, which I definitely needed to confront this Sex Machine that was me. A burst of strength came forth as I let her know that we didn’t have to become this just because the only time we felt in control was when we had men rendered powerless by the force of our Sexuality.
“It’s not about rendering them powerless, but about making them feel like as much of a dog as I did when he kicked me around and made me do the most disgusting things, while he laughed”, she blurted out angrily, her voice breaking at the end.
This was my opportunity. I stepped in and took control as she buckled under the weight of shame and self-reproach that overwhelmed her….and Me. I held it in, after all someone has got to hold it together.
Just as I drew the mink closer to me and made to turn around, I caught sight of him.
To think that after everything, he could still have such an overpowering effect on me. Sifo, my married lover, who was looking at me with such obvious disgust, and yet still had the ability to make me moist with his soft, black eyes.
Sifo; who I had given my soul for the past year, who had driven me to the depth upon which I now stand.
Sifo; my lover, my provider, my Adviser, my Everything.
Sifo; my Tormentor, my Passion, my Nightmare.
I came out of my daze as Mati nudged me questioningly. All I was aware of at the precise moment was Sifo. Rage like bile, began to rise up in me.
“You dare to look at me with disgust Sifo?!” the voice in my head was measured with clipped rage, “After you made me this grotesque monster I have become?”
He had the nerve to be here to ogle over the smooth and nubile bodies of the girls, after leaving me marked by his Obsession. I had followed him here for the past week and watched as he came to enjoy pleasures he didn’t want from me anymore.
He hadn’t shown up this evening; in my frustration, my rebellious doppelganger came up with the brilliant idea to ‘liberate’ myself by getting on a Pole and teasing all these pathetic men to the point where they would beg and cry to have me. Dream and Mati provided me with just the opportunity I needed.
So here I am, standing half-naked in a roomful of horny animals, screaming obscenities at me, and there he was, he who had raped my soul of any dignity, looking at me though I made ‘scum’ seem like a compliment.
Enough is enough!! I’m taking it ALL off. Right here, right now, I will Strip!! Everything single thing is coming OFF; beginning with….
The guilt I feel toward all those who truly love me.
The shame of what I have now become.
The pain of wounds that have festered in the deepest parts of me.
And finally, the fear that the best of me is gone; lost in the moans produced by my Illusions of Pleasure.
All of a sudden, it was no longer about Sifo, or the tons of Men who had left their boot prints in the fragile grounds of my heart.
It was about me. It was about the tiny hope I now see of one day becoming all over again, the little girl my Daddy once called “his Princess”.
But first, I need to take these old clothes off; these filthy garments by which I have been defined all through my consciousness.
I would walk out of here, Naked, but not ashamed.
I took off the mink.
The silence could have woken a graveyard.
The first puke was from a chubby Bank C.E.O. who had been held back by the bouncers, from coming to grope Dream, more than once.
I dropped the mink, looked from Dream to Mati, to The Booker, mouthed a “Thank you” and walked down that stage, past the parted sea of men, past a dumbfounded Sifo, past my past and into the dim future that waited outside those doors.
Dim my future may be, but I’m certain a small light was just turned on inside of me.
For the first time in years, I truly smiled.
….a short story by Tari Ekiyor
Check out Tari’s blog on tariere.blogspot.com