WRITTEN BY NZEH UCHE
Fridays were always for hanging out with friends and getting drunk. They always met at 8 pm, at their favourite bar; Capitol.
A group of five; Lanre and his four friends would meet up to drink, argue about soccer, about hustle, and gossip a little about their individual lives—especially their ladies. The five friends were married, well not anymore for Lanre—he recently got divorced, and their wives knew it was like a ritual hanging out on Friday nights. So, there were no fears of them getting involved with hookers.
The hookers mostly stood across the road, opposite Capitol—in-front of the strip club where Lanre’s Ex-wife, Debi dances. He had met her at the club some two years ago when he still patronised the strip club and fell in love with her.
She was elegant. She thought and talked differently. They dated and later got married. Lanre’s hope to settle down with a sexually active woman came to fruition. He always hated the idea of marrying a virgin. Their inexperience, their hunger to explore, their curiosity, all that made him sick.
He prayed for a fairytale ending in his union with Debi, but their marriage was far from it. In the beginning was a good place as any, but it got sour in no time.
Even after two years of marriage, Debi still hungered for the poles. She always watched her weight and was fit like she was dancing again. She really missed dancing. She even one time suggested they installed a pole in their bedroom, which Lanre disagreed to.
Debi always said she was free and felt alive whenever she was up there.
“The stage is a post when you’re up there, you’re a goddess. It is the highest of respect. All night, men lust and crave for you, and are forced to settle with dissatisfaction. That feeling of being wanted by many is out of this world.” She would always explain to Lanre.
Lanre found it strange at some point and unsure if her love for dancing naked was possession or obsession, for it was irreplaceable. Yes! Stripping is lucrative. Many even attribute it with license to print money, but Lanre was rich and would make available whatever Debi desired.
He flooded her with care, affection, love, to help shade away from the traces of stripping. Maybe it wasn’t enough to keep her for his keep forever or maybe he gave them too much—he didn’t know which he had done wrong. She wasn’t looking for love or sex, not even affection or money—she wanted more; her freedom, independence, and the marriage was seemingly a blockade.
Lanre couldn’t say he totally understood her and her desires because he had done his level best. He thought their marriage posed a new front for her—he was wrong, or at least, it did at first.
She was ravishing, he was good-looking. She was a core stripper, he was a rich carouser. The equation should have just balanced. But It didn’t.
Debi had married three times already and none lasted more than three years, but that didn’t matter to Lanre. He had accepted her for who she was and never tried to change her or disrespect her opinions. But really, it wasn’t about Lanre.
She wanted to go on stage and feel alive. The same issue broke her other marriages. Her formal husbands disagreed to her flashing what was meant to be theirs and theirs alone in marriage out on the stages.
Lanre and Debi argued and argued even more about anything and everything. Nothing was adding up anymore. They lived together but felt like strangers.
Then, they got divorced and that was that.
The previous Friday, Lanre had missed out on their drunken spree night, for he was engrossed with work at the office. He pleaded with the guys and told them the next weekend treat was on him, which they all agreed.
So, when Friday came, he came back early to his lonely apartment and decided to kick-start himself before time. He helped himself with a whole bottle of whiskey and did on an empty stomach because he wasn’t famished when he had arrived from work.
The buzz from Lanre’s phone woke him up. It was Segun, his closest amongst the four. It was 8:07 pm already and he was still asleep.
Lanre quickly jumped up, ignoring the call, changed his shirt, and hit the road.
He parked and alighted. The street of the bar in view—busy; business as usual on a Friday night. He saw hookers on high-heels and hair gels, smoking, following clients. Regular and occasional drunks like him entering the bar.
Lanre entered the bar. He didn’t notice the changes at first till he sat at a table. The lights. The farther ceilings. The arrangements. He only skipped a Friday and Capitol, his favorite bar now looked like a strip club. It seemed like it was the whiskey showing him things.
Segun and the others were not in sight so he decided to wait for them.
“This time I would be spared the ‘you came late’ talk.” He soliloquised.
As he was seated, waiting, he was still in awe about the sudden change, so he decided to call the attention of a passing waitress, whose outfit barely covered her body. But before he could, the room went dark. The spotlight came on.
“Wow! The owner of the bar had really stepped up his game.” Lanre said inaudibly.
A lady with a pink mask walked from backstage through the walkway. The spotlight followed her. She wore a jacket and a mini short below and moved like one whose emotions couldn’t be stirred. Her body had great curves, she was stunning.
She walked gracefully, swaying her hips effortlessly in left and right direction. Each sway was met with a “Hmmm or wow” by the men. She cat walked to a point and stopped. Sure! she counted those steps.
The men screamed, some even whistled in amazement at what they saw. She gently turned, backing them and touched her feet. The view did things to them. Most men mumbled but said nothing really. Either by invention or imagination, the men had x-rays right in their eyes—they saw through every of her outfit even before she physically removed them.
Then, a soundtrack came on, which the lady followed with her body moves—they were sublime; she really knew how to work does sexual parts of hers.
The song—was their song—Lanre and his ex-wife. They always sang it together whenever they were alone and love equalled their atmosphere. Lanre wasn’t good at singing, so he mumbled through the ups and downs of the song, which always made Debi laugh at him. Those times were amazing, really, they were.
He really missed her. Almost everything around him reminded him of her. His lonely apartment, his married friends, the soundtrack in the bar. He had found solace in their companionship, and wished the outcome was negotiable.
Lanre with his dull eyes could still see everything like the other men who focused on the dancer’s every move.
She faced the crowd and gently started to unbutton her jacket while still following the soundtrack. One button after the other as she went down to the last.
With swirly motions, her curves had personalised attention by the eager men who stared.
Anxiety spread across the place. The men were anxious to see what was beneath the outfit. She was a regular dancer, but it didn’t matter if they saw it every day. Each night was different to them.
She finally did open it to the view of the audience. As she did, Lanre’s eyes widened. His heart pounded and leaped from his chest. He knew those pair of boobs—the shape, the complexion, the sag, he couldn’t be wrong. He looked closely and saw the same dark spot Debi has on her left boobs. Lanre was sure it was her.
He was confused.
Segun’s call confirmed his fears. He was in the strip club instead of the bar. The call kept coming in. Lanre silenced it because he was already stirred; Debi’s moves asserted a claim upon his attention. He was bound by the goddess up on the stage. He had promised to foot the bills of their drunken spree but, he’d rather have a fantasising time with his ex-wife.
She didn’t see Lanre. It didn’t matter to him. All that mattered was how he felt about her, even after their divorce. Lanre begged to touch that body again, though not out loud.
Lanre didn’t know what led him to the strip club; either his missing of her or the whiskey. Any which way, all he cared about was making the most of that night. Watching a beautiful woman dance naked, posed as the best way to lick his wounds.
Image credit bbook.com