― Meredith Taylor
Walking in silence ’cause your wings are maimed
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Flying, inhibition burned in pink pearl
Cloaks, shields, cover for you.
The nights dragged on into months. We both learned the game, with a quickness necessitated out of survival rather than, as she supposed, fun and glamor. My angels’ eyes lost their shine, being replaced with a distant look now shared with the rest of the dancers. She was fresh on the scene, and new girls make a lot of money the first few months of their rotation, their clients hoping to sway them with “generosity”. Other more unscrupulous men, professionals, hoping to secure her in their own businesses, would throw her lure after lure and line after line. Not knowing how to handle the growing concern and yes, jealousy, I tormented myself by watching her night after night, grinding on them, whispering to them, and worse still, disappearing into the private rooms that cheapened the scene, their rudely built walls ending a foot short of the ceiling. My guts ripped in agony night after night, developing a hardness of heart that was unnatural but soothing. One client in particular purposely set himself to provoke me, giving me the impression that he was a danger to my angel, which drove me near insanity. I begged to her to dance for anyone else but him, it tormented me. Many nights I watched him with interest and growing anger, burning deep inside, like only a jealous lover can feel. A hatred growing so strong as to rival the love I had and would soon turn me into a dangerous man. He took her one night into the room, I followed and sat close, as close as I could get. Tears welled in my eyes, anger pushing at me, jealousy tugging me, my own care for her demanding I take action. I had not yet resorted to violence in my life as a means to an end, but that would soon change. For now, I took an unconventional approach. I yelled for her to stop. I figured if she wanted money, I would give her money, I could give her what he did, or so I believed. I threw hundred-dollar bills in crumpled wads over the wall, pleading for her to stop. He was giving her what I could never give her again, a stranger’s attention. I stormed out of the building, everything in me screaming and confused and on fire with powerful passion. She came and found me, comforting me, with kisses now growing cheaper with time, telling me that it was her job, and it was. However, I would learn that there are other parts of her job that were not so well advertised to those on the outside. This lesson I would be taught well, emphasized by the peculiar fact that I never saw those hundred-dollar bills again, ever, it was never even mentioned.