The Club on a Wednesday

for Stacey


I woke up praying for my soul this morning. Bob must have slipped through my window while I was sleeping.

My dreams lay unremembered on the floor and I had a jet lag headache, like I hadn’t been in my body all night.

As I read Jesus’ words, in the book of Luke, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,’” I started to feel better.

Bob owns a club. I haven’t spoken to him willingly in more than two years, but he has found ways to walk into my dreams. He doesn’t know where I live. I’ve moved twice since I last invited him into my home.

I didn’t even call him last night, not even by accident, I don’t think. Not by name. What I think is that he had been watching me before I fell asleep.

He must have put a hood over my head and dragged me to his club. See, the thing about his club is that I didn’t know he was an owner when we met, though I found out he had started putting my name up on the marquee. That was one of the reasons I left.

It took him a long time to show me that part of himself. And he didn’t show me until after I had discovered it myself through what many would call a complete fluke.

For a while, he had his friends bring me to the club, pretending it wasn’t his, on nights he was out of town scouting other clubs.

And always, they would open each bottle, brew each cup of tea. It was a regular place. I liked it because I got unlimited jubejubes and root beer floats. Except there seemed to be a side door that led somewhere I’d never been.

Whenever I asked about it, Bob’s friends told me to focus on my cards. They were teaching me to play poker.

My mother never told me that when you leave a man like Bob, it’s a long, drawn out process, kind of like the stories he told that went on and on forever.

I hesitated for a split second writing that down. If Bob ever happened upon this story he’d be pissed and say that was a low blow.

And then I remember. Last night, before I was falling asleep, I was working through the slegs of my past, mining it for patterns that need to be weeded out.

I’ve become quite the gardener.

There’s a new process I’m trying – rather than writing, I’m recording long sessions of myself talking after I pray for God to guide my words.

With nobody else around to catch the lightning quick yet invisible shift in flow, it makes it possible to do this part of my work alone.

I was bouncing around between several core relationships last night, Bob being one of them.

He’s always been keen. You don’t have to say his name three times, and there’s no lag with him, unless he wants you to think there is, in which case he hangs back, but he’s always around.

As I talked through past knots, triangles and circles, I said something he would have been furious with.

Like, the kind of fury that sneaks up on you like a gas leak. The kind of fury that would actually clear the loud anger vibes radiating from him and bring him to a silent neutral state.

Since I haven’t willingly spoken with him in over two years, he can only watch, right?

That’s what I thought. My guess is that his overbearing ego got the best of him last night. But I don’t dare say for sure lest he throw a hood over my head again tonight while I’m sleeping.

I know he took me to the club because of the way certain men looked at me this morning when I walked into the office.

Knowing why those looks are there makes me sick to my stomach, but I try to smile. I think they’re just responding to some vibe that radiates from me whenever I’ve been to the club, whether I was playing poker or drinking root beer floats. They don’t even know what they’re looking at. But a part of them wants to be seen by a woman who has the scent of being coveted by competitors.

It’s frustrating that any part of me would let him get close enough to put a hood over my head. But my younger self loves the jokes men like him make and the way they make me feel like I’m not a little kid.

Yet I have to believe this is all in God’s will. I asked Him to take this cup of suffering from me, as long as it’s what He wills. And Bob is still slipping into my life, running some shows.

If you see me there, fuzz from a hood laced through my hair, look into my eyes.

I can’t speak to you unless you know my name. I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal.

And if you do know my name, look at my hands after you look into my eyes. Do you see the tremor?

Ask me why I’m there. Ask me how I got there.

Author: tendrilwise

Hi, I have a diploma in Journalism, I've published a novel, and I am currently working on another one. I’m a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I write fiction and poetry focused on themes of CPTSD, trauma, grief, healing and the light that comes after the darkness. I love Jesus. Jenn McKay

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