Chapter 8 Back to D.C.
At this point I had a couple hundred dollars stashed in my locker at work. I told the owner of the club what had happened, and she was in shock saying “But he is such a nice guy” in her Korean accent. Yeah, such a nice guy, he was always telling me that I was evil or that I must be manic depressive (before it was called bi-polar). Mr. Know it all, he was a mental health expert too.
I worked that night with stitches in my head so I could get more money, went home and my packed my shit and wrote him a good-bye letter. I don’t remember most of it, probably as with everything in my life I blamed myself for chasing after him when I knew who he really was and that no number of good days could outweigh the bad days and left my fake engagement and wedding rings on the letter. I was probably drunk out of my mind myself. I imagine I said our marriage was as fake as the rings I was wearing. As Charlotte said in ‘Sex and the City’ “My marriage was a fake Fendi”. I called his mother and told her everything and that I was leaving, and I was done. He would be released on his own recognizance in a day or two.
I packed up my shit and got a room at the hotel where we stayed when we had just gotten to Hawaii. I was afraid he may be out of jail and the hotel was just a short walk or cab right across the Ala Wai Canal to the club.
The next night I broke down in the dressing room at work to a girl named Star about everything and her and her boyfriend Sonny who was a waiter at the club offered me to come stay at their apartment. So, I packed up all the things at my hotel and came to stay with them for a couple days. They knew that I had very little money and that I wanted to go home to Maryland. They got me a plane ticket, may be using their miles I suppose, and I got on a plane to Dulles Airport. Before 911 it had cost at least a thousand dollars to go between Hawaii and the Northeast. I think I gave them three or four hundred dollars and they performed some kind of magic for my ticket. They probably used their miles that they had to go visit family on the mainland to get my ticket. I will never forget what they did for me, I didn’t stay in touch with them, but wherever they are they should know they were my guardian angels.
When I got to Dulles, I had every intention of calling my mom, but once again my pride was in my own way. I did not want to go home with my tail between my legs and I wasn’t ready to give up “dancing”. I was also afraid that if I stayed in the D.C. area, he would come looking for me. I decided I would go back to Connecticut, for some reason I figured he wouldn’t come looking for me there and I could make some money and may be even get a place of my own and stay there permanently. So, I called one of the owners of the club in Connecticut and told him I was coming on the train and asked him to pick me up and take me to the same motel I had stayed at with my now ex-asshole.
I decided we were now officially separated, and it was time for me to plan the rest of my life. For the first time in my life, I was completely on my own, there was no boyfriend, no husband, and no mom. It was just me and now I could fuck anyone I wanted to fuck and do anything I wanted. My ex basically told me when to eat, when to work, and when to shit, I had allowed him to control every aspect of my life.
I did have a one-night stand, or two-night stand should I say, but it was terrible, not even worth describing. Let’s just say he couldn’t make me come as he was lacking downstairs, and he couldn’t do anything well orally either. But I was so tense and exhausted that even if I was fucking a true stud, I wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t ready for something new; my mind was still in Hawaii. I went out with a guy one night who gave me some ecstasy and it made me all spinning and wanting to puke. By the time he got me back to my motel room, I was almost passed out. I’m almost certain we had sex, but it must have not made an impression on me.
Was he looking for me I wondered? Did he check the entire Island of Oahu? No, he probably felt free now to do as he liked without getting caught. In a conversation once when I asked him to be honest and tell me if he cheated, he said “I was faithful 99%”. Yeah, ok more like 9%.
He was smart but he also thought that I’m a helpless girl with not enough balls to leave him. I am almost certain, that he thought I would never leave him and putting him in jail cut deep. And he certainly wasn’t so smart to think that I would go to Connecticut all by myself.
I went to work back at the same club, now I was working for myself, I got to keep my money and I could do whatever I wanted with it. I even went and checked out a little apartment for rent. But I thought “I don’t even know anyone here except the owners of the club, and do I really want to spend the rest of my life stripping?” I was working at night and crying myself to sleep most of the day until it was time for work. I got one “regular” customer who had a foot fetish and he liked to suck on toes. I thought “Better he sucks my toes than I suck his dick” He came in a couple times during the week and gave me a hundred-dollar tip on top of the hundred or hundred and twenty of the champagne room fees.
But in all honesty, I didn’t want to be like the woman who was nearing fifty, still stripping and studying for something so I could quit. But my ex-asshole was like a bad habit I couldn’t break. After about two weeks in Connecticut, God help me, I don’t know what possessed me, I called his father’s house in Maryland. He begged and pleaded that I come home, that he would never hurt me again, and like an idiot I believed him.
His father said that we really couldn’t stay at his house, he had his teenage son there from his current marriage, which was in the process of divorce. I think I’ve counted at that point his father had around fourteen illegitimate children in addition to the core five children from his first marriage.
In fact, when he was sixteen, my ex got a girl at his high school pregnant. What you have to understand is that his family has a nice ranch outside D.C., and I guess they also made a nice living in the bail bonds business. His father was afraid the girl was going to sue him for money, so, although his father knew that the child was my ex’s, he made him go to court to deny paternity. And though the boy was his spitting image and named Jr after his father. And after twenty years or so later he admitted it was his son as if somehow that was a surprise to anyone.
But I digress again. I think we spent a couple nights at his father’s home and then we had to go find someplace else to stay. My mom still didn’t know everything that had happened over the past year and few months, so staying with her was out of the question.
With our suitcases, we were riding the metro for a full day. I was thinking “This is what it’s like to be homeless.” It was one of the worst things I ever felt. The man I married who was supposed to protect me from harm not only used me as a punching bag, but now he made me homeless too.
Then for some reason or other his dad let us come back to his house, to make another story short we got in a fight, and he slapped me. Now, after Hawaii, I wasn’t the same girl anymore. I packed my shit once again, got a cab and went to a little shitty motel in downtown Silver Spring. When I got to the hotel room I was sobbing, I couldn’t believe that I let him hit me again after everything I went through to get away from him in Hawaii. I felt like the lowest piece of shit on this planet. But I pulled myself together and instead of calling my mother, I went to the club in D.C., where I felt like it was a family.
The first thing I had to deal with was the girl we lived with before we left for California. My ex and her did not part on friendly terms. There were constant fights over drugs, she had sold some furniture to a drug dealer so they could smoke their crack and I don’t know for certain, but I suspect he had stolen some money from her, and I was guilty by association.
To go back through some history, one night when we were living with her, he didn’t come to pick me up at the end of the night. We took a cab home, and he did not come home until six in the morning, a girl he used to fuck was in town and he went out with her. He had come all over the front of his pants and I was ready to leave him that day. I had even packed all my dance clothes in a duffel bag and with what little money I had went to a hotel. Out of stupidity, I called the apartment and told him I was done. We had been married maybe five months at that point.
For privacy, I’ll just call her T. And T was pissed when she saw me. All I could do was apologize not only for myself that I let him treat her badly, but I had to apologize on his behalf for treating her like shit. I was apologizing for my behavior to a woman who probably fucked my husband regularly while we lived with her. She said it was all forgiven, but I wondered if she really meant it. I was back in Georgetown and now everyone knew what I was going through, it was written all over my face. Now I was ready to tell my mother everything. I wasn’t ready to leave “dancing”, but I was ready to tell her the whole truth. I had no place to live, and she took me in like she always did after I fucked everything up.
I think my mother was in shock, but by now my lying and hiding things from her was normal to her. I felt so much guilt and shame, and I felt so humiliated. It seemed for the umpteenth time I needed my mom to rescue me. And then I started seeing my problem with men so clearly and I wanted to blame her for all of it. I needed her and at the same time parts of me hated her. Without any guidance, left to my own devices and lack of direction, and no advice. Watching her choices influenced mine, I thought. If I had had a strong male figure in my life, a good father who would have taught me how a man should really be and defend me from the bad ones. I wanted to blame her for everything. I was 25 now. I’d been “dancing” since around a year. In a year I had lived in Connecticut, California, and Hawaii. I was happy to be home, but I blamed everything on my mother in my mind. Mostly, I was pissed off that she didn’t have some sort of mother ESP and not picked up that something was wrong when she visited me in Hawaii. As if she was supposed to hear me screaming for help even though I was only screaming on the inside. It was all her fault that I was molested as a child I thought. If she’d only found me a father. The child in me was crying for help but I still didn’t tell her what happened before we left Russia or the other incident with my grandmother’s sister’s husband.
I had no plan for my life and then I remembered asshole saying to me “You’re going to end up a lonely woman like your mother” “Better to be a lonely woman like my mother than spend the rest of my life getting beaten by you”, I thought. He hardly knew my mother, the most time he’d ever spent with her was in Hawaii and he was actually making fun of her and saying, “She thinks she’s so wonderful”. I should have slapped him for disrespecting her in front of me. He didn’t know what she had been through in her life. I had started to realize that no matter how much he said he loved women, he actually hated them.
I decided what I really needed to do was get a place of my own and a car. I started working back-to-back shifts at the club as much as I could to save money. I couldn’t live with my mom and still strip. In my self-loathing state, again all I wanted was to be numb and there was no lack of company for that. I started hanging out with the girls who were doing coke and going to after hours clubs. We’d get off work at two or three in the morning and go to after hours to “relax”. Everything started to become one long blur. I think it was the fall of ’95. I had only been married about a year and a half and I had also decided it was my time now to live. And my definition of really living was going to work, making my money, getting drunk and doing a little coke here and there. In the stripper’s world you can get anything if you have the cash.
When I first started stripping the big song out at the time was ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns & Roses. No shit it was a jungle.
It took me about an hour and a half to get to work from my mom’s by bus and the metro. Ah, my favorite stair master, the metro steps. Despite my state of mind from everything that happened I was feeling quite confident on stage and although back with my chosen dysfunctional family, they were family. I felt oddly safe.
My ex though was missing me by now, his cash cow was gone. He didn’t dare come to the club anymore and ask for money. What he did was give someone a dozen roses to give to me, with a small bottle of my favorite, Absolute vodka. That was his way of trying to get me back, a dozen roses and some vodka. Obviously, he didn’t have money for a real diamond ring. I have no clue how or why, but I was talking to him one night on a payphone (this was before cell phones were a regular thing) outside the club. I think I still had a pager he’d given me, and I called him a junky and I honestly don’t know what else. Before the conversation was over, he called me a whore. When I was keeping a roof over his head, putting food in his stomach, and clothing him, I was his wife and his best friend. Now that I wasn’t feeding his daily habits of drugs and alcohol, I was a whore. “Wow! How quickly they turn on you when you cut them off”, I thought. Almost 3 years together and that was the best he could come up with. After that conversation, I refused to see him ever, so I thought.
My drug of choice wasn’t really coke at first. Alcohol was what I enjoyed, and I quickly went from wanting to get a little tipsy and buzzed to becoming almost sloppy drunk. One girl, Chase, lived not far from my mom’s place and was nice enough to give me a ride home to my mom’s. As I said earlier, Chase is all her own chapter.