I feel:: contemplative

Saturday night, at about 10:00pm, I got a call from Stephanie, who is my ex-ex Erik's ex. (I know that's confusing, but just stay with me.) She is the one whom he had been seeing for seven years while he had been seeing me for eight years. She said she wanted to meet me so that we could talk. She wanted me to meet her at a club called Visions, which is a strip club/tattoo parlor/piercing palace. I normally don't frequent strip clubs, but I went anyway because I really wanted the chance to talk to her. Well, first of all, the club is about 45 minutes away from my house and I left at 11:00pm. I was going to go to church on Sunday morning, so I figured I would just stay there for a couple of hours. The road to get there is right off of the freeway exit, but it's not a frontage road, it's more like a little country road that most people forget about. As a matter of fact, that road is the same road that I tried to take to Conway the other night to get to my friend Ashley's house when the traffic was backed up for forty miles because of a bad tractor trailer wreck.(I found out a few days later that the tractor trailer had burned along with several cars.) It turns out that this road ends at the city dump. The club sits right in front of it. Well, my unfamiliarity with the area and the darkness helped me to totally miss the road and take the access road back to the freeway. (The access road to the freeway is right beside the nearly invisible entrance to the little country road.)So, I had to drive 10 miles down the freeway to Mayflower in order to find a place to turn around and then drive the 10 miles back to Maummelle and attempt to find the entrance to that damned road again in the dark. I finally found it and took it down to the entrance to Visions. I parked, got out of my car and was immediately assaulted by the incredible smell of the city dump. I swallowed the vomit that was threatening to rise and managed to make my way to the main door with some dignity. Inside the foyer, the walls were covered with the kind of metal that is used to cover outdoor buildings. You know, it's grooved, very flexible and very flimsy. When there are tornadoes here, you can see this metal strewn about everywhere. I came upon a window in the wall to see a youngish girl sitting in a cubby hole with a cash register. She asked to see my i.d. and then she took a 10 dollar bill from the counter beside her and quickly pushed it into the register. I looked at her, confused, and she said,"She already paid for you." I assumed she meant Stephanie, but I also have a friend who works there, Chastity, so it could have been her. I don't know, but I thanked them both, just in case. She reached down and pressed a buzzer to open the only door. The door clicked, I pushed, and walked into the interior of the club. There were two stages connected in sort of a figure 8 design with long metal poles stuck in the middle with one girl on each stage, each in a different state of undress. Both were tall (Well, they looked tall with their 7 inch platform heels on.), thin, with very, very high breasts (I'm suspecting boob jobs all around.). I saw Stephanie sitting at a table in a corner by the bar, so I went over to her. I sat down beside her not realizing that the chairs were on castors. I happened to sit down a bit too quickly and my chair rolled backwards a few feet with me in it. I laughed at myself, turned to look to my right where a group of Hispanic men were also laughing. Oh well, I provided them with family entertainment. After our hellos and a hug from Chastity, who had just come offstage, Stephanie started talking about Erik. She talked about him for the next 4 hours. I could tell she was really hurting. She kept talking about all of the hurtful things he had done to her. She told me despite all he has done, that she still loved him unconditionally. She said they had talked recently about what all has been going on and she told him that the door was open for him to come back, but it would only stay open for so long. I feel bad for her. It's one thing to love unconditionally, but I don't think that unconditional love includes letting someone abuse and take advantage of you. I think it's time for her to let him go. Of course, that decision is not up to me and I don't think, at this point, that she would really listen to anything I had to say. I honestly don't think he cares for her as much as she loves him. I don't think Erik even has the merest inkling of a concept of what it means to love someone. How can he love her when he's sleeping with four or five other women? He just wants to have her as his safe haven like he did with me. He wants to be able to go out and sleep with whomever he deigns and be able to know that he can have the comfort and surety that she will be there waiting for him. I did that for eight years. I was blinded by what I thought was love. I thought he loved me. Stephanie thinks that he loves her. She is blinded as well. At one point during the night, she started talking about her daughter and how much she loves Erik. It brought tears to her eyes. Her daughter is seven years old. She asked Stephanie recently that if she was a very good girl, could she have anything she wanted for her upcoming birthday. Stephanie, being a loving mother, said yes. She said,"If I'm a very good girl, will Erik come home?" Heart-wrenching. Erik doesn't even realize how much he's hurting his own children. He's living with his ex-wife and sleeping with her, plus the four or five other women he's seeing. His son is going to take his father's actions as an example and think it's ok to treat women as objects. His daughter is going to see her father's example and think it's ok for men to abuse women.

I sat in my rolling chair and listened to all of this with an aching heart. I didn't even notice the dancers or anyone else around us for most of the time I was there. I looked at my cell phone for the time when a lull came in the conversation and realized that it was about 4am. So much for going to church. My sinuses were killing me because of all the smoke in the club and I was really tired, so I told Stephanie and Chastity that I had to leave, got big hugs and kisses from both of them, and made my way past the leering men positioned in a line along the back wall to the only exit door. I waved good bye to the girl in the cubby hole, who looked like she was almost asleep and prepared myself for another onslaught to my nose and stomach as I pushed the outer door open. Again, the stench was unbelievable. A man who was sitting outside the door, (He was sitting there when I came up as well. I can't believe he sat outside all night. He must be used to the smell.) just to the right, spoke to me as I walked toward my car. "Have fun?", he asked. I replied,"I just talked." "Talked? You mean, you didn't notice the dancers?", he asked quizzically. I said,"Well, there's only so many naked women a person can look at without becoming desensitized, after all, if you've seen one dancer..." He raised his eyebrows, nodded his head and said,"Yeah, yeah, you're right about that."


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