I never liked the winters as much as I do now.
The coolness of the metropolitan air felt nothing less painful than shards of cold unglazed glass thrown in the bin after the corporate houses redecorated to celebrate a pay raise or a new account being added to another multitude of yellow files and endless sleepless nights and ever brimming cups of black coffee.
My stripper name is Blaze.
My pimp tells me I am on fire whenever i perform. Such an irony. When I say “perform”.
I waitressed for several months before bumping into Cole on a drunken night off with a handsome young English boy paying for my drinks in hopes of a hand job in the crammed loo that reeked of the stale smell of used condoms and hurried sex, mixed with adrenaline infused sweat and the battle of tongues.
Cole introduced me to a tiny apartment that had been lived in by Meg, Bunny, Lou, Angel and many others before me but they were nothing like me. I was different. Cole told me that everyday.
I lost myself in the forbidden desire to try the unknown, the frightening yet the inevitable now that Bunny , Lou ,Meg and Angel had left behind an inheritance of skimpy lingerie and a legacy of witchcraft in handcuffs, leashes and whips.
My coming out was a royal event.
The gentle chiffon with laced balconette cups that spilled out secrets to the viewers, the corset tightening at the dawn of my waistline reminding me with every shakily taken breath of the price riding on it and the fishnet stockings.
I hated the stockings.
“More a whore than an angel”, I always joked.
There were men.
A lot of them. And there were lights. Bedazzling, blinding, beautiful.
As if my kingdom was ready for their queen.
And queen I was.
The colours changed and the fabric over the years. Sometimes i was glittery in plum and gold, sometimes mysterious in aquamarine and white like a water nymph, and sometimes just chocolate, enticing dark chocolate with silken frills that teased the wild fantasies of every man present in the room.
I could see the lust lusting in their eyes, their drooling glance intoxicated by the drugs, the pills and the cheap alcohol.
They didn't touch me.
Just looked. Glimpses of what could have been was allowed in the fortress.
Yet every night, I felt more violated than the last.
Every night on my way back to the tiny loft, I would feel awkward being fully clothed as if my costumes had become part of my own skin and tearing my skin apart every night caused me unintelligible pain.
I walk back home alone.
Its been 10 years.
Never have I loved enough to be granted chivalry and respect for what I do, for who I am.
And i have learnt to dismiss such thoughts of self deprecation as mysteries of the universe that one must not try to solve ever for what is beyond the lace and frills is but a fantasy that shall never come alive.
I pick up my daily at Joe’s and sometimes a cheap bottle of wine on my way back home.
Funny how that pimped loft became home over the years of budding youth to experience.
I water my plants and feed the fish. They keep dying. So I have stopped naming them.
But I do remember the very first one I got. Raphael.
It is as if I need constant companionship from the solitude that attacks me as soon as I am back home drenched with the vile scent of another night spent in the horizon of lusty visions and being jerked off to in the middle of the night beside someone’s wife.
When the laughter and the music start echoing in the silence of the loft, filling up the empty spaces in my mind I quickly go for a shower.
I lather myself up and watch them travel downwards in circles of swirling smooth cream.
No man has ever touched me that way.
I shower twice sometimes. Thrice . … sometimes more times in a night.
Its not the smell, the breathlessness of the tight corset or the loud boisterous life that i want to drown out or wash away.
Its the blackness.
The darkness of my underworld and the colour of my skin.
The pharaohs had bestowed on me the colour of the souls of demons on Earth.
I tried washing the black away.
From my life.
From the loft.
From my skin.
And the shower runs on.