As I look into the dirty, cracked mirror at my reflection I had no idea who I’ve become. I remember myself in high school where everything in my “school life” was perfect. I was the captain of the cheerleading team with all of my best friends; my boyfriend was the captain of the football team with his buddies. I guess you could say I was part of the “popular group”. Everyone knew us. Since I was the “blonde” one in the group, I was the “dumb blonde”. I was a straight A student, but no one knew. I loved reading, studying, and learning but to keep up my reputation I kept it a secret. If anybody found out about this my group would disown me. I’ve known these people my whole life. Blake, my boyfriend, had no idea who I actually was. No one knew. I look into the mirror, and I see my bleach blonde hair, my dull blue eyes that once sparkled with happiness. My black, strapless one piece that has a built in push-up bra sparkles in the light of the bathroom. My long black gloves are itching me like crazy. I have to hurry up and finish getting ready before my boss gets mad. My black fishnet tights are really hard to get on, and I couldn’t find my damn black stilettos. I hurried and finished my makeup I had to rush to get my shoes by the stage doors I forgot I put there. I put them on, and look behind the door. It was a full house tonight. The shining metal rod in the middle of the floor beamed from all of the crazy lights hitting it. “Ok Danny you can do this like every other night. Do this for your education.” I give myself a little pep talk. I walk out onto the stage and I become Krystle.
“Oh my god I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” I said to myself as I rush back into the bathroom to quickly change out of “Krystle’s” clothes and back into “Danny’s”; the girl who works at a café instead of the girl who works at “4Play”. I make sure I have my money and the right clothes on. I put on my khaki shorts and a light blue top that the girl at the café gave to me because I’m there so often trying to read, or study. She was a very quiet girl named Sarah, and she knew that I was trying to save up for Stanford Law School. She knew about Blake, and how she knew to cover for me when I was “working” with her that night. I jump into my ratty ass car and drive home because the cafe I “work” closes at 10, and its 11:30. I hope Blake isn’t up when I get home.
I get out of my car and walk in our house. When I walk in, it reeks of weed, and stale beer. There’s trash all over the floor, red solo cups, pizza boxes, empty swishers, etc…. I don’t see Blake. I rush to go make sure my safe isn’t missing. In my safe is where I have my acceptance letter from Stanford which is my dream school where I want to study law, and some extra books to study with. Also, money that I have been saving up for school. My schooling costs $360,000 and I have about $300,000 saved up from 3 years of stripping.
I’ve been with Blake since I was a freshman in highschool, and he hasn’t always been like this. His dream was to play football at University of Alabama, and he got accepted. It was our senior year, and we had enough money to get a small apartment for our senior year. The day he changed I was out with my cheer friends having a team dinner, and I get a call. The call was from Blake. I answer, and he was slurring his words saying “babe.. I just got a DUI and I killed someone …. can you come pick me up from jail? My lawyer got me out on probation” I went to pick him up. I told him to not drink and drive like he always did because it can ruin his future. He told me it would never happen to him. That monday morning his coach told him that Alabama didn’t want him anymore. He was devastated. After that he started partying every weekend. He starting smoking weed, cocaine, and adderall. It’s like he completely changed personality. He was such a sweetheart. He had a smile that could light up any room he walked into. He treated me like the princess he said I was. After that DUI his eyes didn’t have that sparkle anymore he used to have. He started getting really mean to me, his family, and his friends. He eventually quit football in the middle of his senior year after the DUI, and stopped being friends with his teammates. He got a new group of friends who introduced him to drugs. I stayed with him through all of this hoping that the Blake I knew was still in there. I love him. I’m in love with him. He started hitting me occasionally, and verbally abusing me, but I never thought of leaving him. He always felt bad for what he did to me. He always looked down on college, and really everything that wasn’t drugs or beer. I kept my life a secret from him. I don’t want to strip, but it’s the only way to escape this life, and start a n ew one on my own.
I go into the bedroom where he’s laying face down on the bed. I walk over to him and he stinks of beer, so I gently wake him up which he doesn’t like. He jolts up, and smacks me across the face knocking me on my ass. He was still wasted I realized, so I tried getting him into the shower to clean him up. I didn’t want him to see me cry, so I walked out of the bathroom, and outside to sit on my front porch. Sitting down, and looking up at the beautiful sky full of stars that look like little diamonds. I prayed that my life will turn around at some point. I don’t know how long I was out there for, but all of a sudden someone is grabbing my hair, and dragging inside. It’s Blake. “WHY THE F*** ARE YOU OUTSIDE WHEN YOU SHOULD BE CLEANING THIS HOUSE?” “Ok Blake I’m sorry.” I say sobbing. I just want to go to bed.
The next night I have another shift at work, and Blake is wasted again on the bed so I’m not worried. I put on my cop outfit at home since he was sleeping. I quickly quietly leave my house.
I wake up in a dazy state of mind. I look around the room with the closet open. I looked over and saw a note from Danny saying “ Hey Blake, I’m at work. It’s a late one tonight. Don’t stay up for me.” I started getting up to go grab another beer from the fridge. I walked past the closet, and there on the ground was her cafe uniform. “I thought she worked tonight…” Furious, I grabbed my keys to go to the cafe. When I get there, I look for her car which is nowhere in sight, so I stumble into the cafe. I go to the counter, and ask the girl Sarah where Danny is. “She doesn’t work he…. I mean sh-she’s actually in the back.” She says. “Tell her to get up here.” “Uhh I-I- sh-she’s doing dishes.” Sarah says. “Cut the s***. Where is she.” “She’s at 4Play” “The strip club?” I asked. “Yes..”
I pull up to “4Play” confused as why the hell would she be at a strip club. She has never been to one of these stupid ass places before. I walk in and it’s super dim with crazy ass lights everywhere. I asked everyone where Danielle was, but no one knew who she was. I heard someone say that the show was going to start, so since I was already there why not stay for the show. The show started and the girl that was dancing started doing her thing. She was really good, and she was so hot. She kinda looked like Danielle. Wait.. what the f***… it was Danielle!! Why the f*** is she stripping for these pigs when she has me!! Anger rose up in me. I Walked over to the stage. Why did she keep this from me? Who the hell does she think he is? My girlfriend of 5 years was on stage at this wearing a slutty bunny outfit. The fact that I had no idea she worked here instead of that little dump of a cafe enrages me. I could feel my blood boiling, and I started sweating because I couldn’t keep down how pissed I was. All these guys are gawking at my girlfriend as she goes up and down that pole. I can’t take anymore of this
As I’m dancing I look down at the crowd, and standing in front of me was Blake. “Oh s***.” I thought. He looked pissed off. I didn't know what to do. I started shaking, and having a mini panic attack. He yanked me off stage in front of the whole crowd, and all of my coworkers. I completely skinned my legs as he pulled me off the stage. I tried to tell him to stop and let go but he wouldn’t listen to me. I was sobbing because I was so ashamed of what just happened. He threw me outside and I completely tripped and fell down. My costume was all ripped, and I was bleeding everywhere. I banged my head on the sidewalk from being thrown down by him. “Blake please talk to me. I’m sorry!” Blake was walking back and forth with his hands in tight fists you could see his knuckles turn white. His face was bright red I thought he wasn’t breathing. “Blake please calm down,” I said. “Danny what the hell! I’m so pissed.” As he said this He punched me right in the face. All his frustrations were coming out right now. He’s never been so violent with me. He started kicking me. I felt some ribs break. I was sobbing, and screaming. I feel the muscle in my chin quiver like a small child. I didn’t want this life anymore. There is static in my head once more, the side effect of this constant fear, constant stress I live with. My walls, the walls that hold me up, make me strong just... collapse. Moment by moment, they fall. Perhaps these tears will help wash the blood out of my costume. It was more than crying, it was the kind of desolate sobbing that comes from a person drained of all hope. He kept going and going at me until eventually my whole body was numb.
Eyes that once danced with light are now vacant and staring. He left me on the street bleeding from what he has done to me. The pain that once burned like fire had faded away to an icy numbness. Black filled the edges of my vision and the only thing I could hear was my own heartbeat. My breath came in ragged, shallow gasps. Seconds passed as I lay there, then, I heard voices. People swarmed all over me, trying to help me, I realized. They wanted to save me. If I could’ve, I would’ve laughed. Surely they could tell that it was far too late for me to be saved, yet they were like children, naive to the darkness of the real world. My fragile, human heart beat one last time.