She talked about pain. But then they all do that.
And she talked about the men she's known and loved, how she started at 16 to love a man who beat her when ever she looked at another man or even when another man looked at her.
"Why am I talking to you?" she kep asking.
But they all do, while I sit beside each aching for the same comfort other men take, wondering why I am incapable of taking that comfort, too. I listen, restraining myself she speaks on about strange and sad things.
I know where the night is leading and I have to leave soon, waiting only for that moment when she climbs back onto the stage to dance. I don't want her to ask me if I want to come home with her the way some other dancers have asked, me fumbling around for words that all equal to no. I just don't want to be another abuse to her, someone dipping in, and fleeing after hearing all her dark secrets.
She touches my pad and wonders what it is I write about each time I come into the bar and why I won't let her read anything, and I cannot give her a reason, knowing that each word I write here amounts to a confession, me as guilty as any other man in this place, my head filled with the same dreadful drama.
Then, she goes and mounts the stage, pouting as I pay for my beer and turn to leave, her eyes full of promises I don't want her to keep.
"How often do you come here?" she asks as the owner shouts for her to dance.
"About once a week," I say and take up my note books, and turn to leave, feeling sorry for her, but knowing, too, I am not the answer, just an example of what is possible beyond this place and this life, one of many men who don't immediately want to fuck her. Deep down, through all the honiness and guilt, I want to be kind and loving, even though I don't always achieve that goal.
I feel sorry for her use of drugs which she said she needs to shoot to help her erace the memory of the men.
"One man is as good as any other," She had whispered, her hard eyes saying she meant every word.
Then why did she continue to dance if she hated these men so much. This world was full of the worst men, the truly flawed men, the men who breathed violence and hate as part of their living.
I wanted to tell her the jail in all inside her head, and tell her she could walk out the door and leave these men on this side any time she wanted.
Yet she stayed, and like a million others of her kind, she dances hoping some white knight will rescue her, growing more and more bitter when each one turns out black on the inside.
She saw me as that white knight, when I am not.
There are no white Knights, no one to rebuild her. She would have to do that for herself. These men, who say they want to help, usually help themselves, and those that don't say it, do it. Desperation will only attract desperate men.