After only three weeks of community college, Eileen decided to become a stripper. She dropped all of her classes, changed her name to Felicia Storme and set out to visit every respectable strip club in town looking for the perfect opportunity. It wasn’t as if this was all that sudden and she’d always been a little wild, still, it took everyone by surprise.
Eileen asked for every Sunday off from Les Femmes. She’d told Bradley, her gay boss that she went to church. He reluctantly agreed. She didn’t go to church though. Sunday was her day. Her all alone-do my own thing-fuck all men day.
Sunday came; half-full or half-empty, and Eileen woke up. As she’s done every night for the last six months, she washed all the traces of Felicia off the night before and this morning her long, suicide blonde hair was a combination of frizzy and frumpy and it made her laugh when she saw her reflection in the bathroom mirror.
Her Dad had objected the loudest. He’d be damned if any greasy bastard is gonna check out his daughter, probably get his hands on her, get her hooked on them drugs. While he was saying this, he was rubbing her back.
“Dad, I may be young, but I’m not stupid. I know what I’m doing.” And she twisted away. “Besides, that’s how you and Mom met.”
“What’s that honey?” Cried a voice from the kitchen and her Mom appeared, framed in the doorway, without a shirt and sipping a Mimosa from a plastic champagne flute.
Anyway, back to Sunday. Eileen was standing at the bathroom sink, brushing her teeth and the phone rang.
“Huwoo,” she said through the suds of toothpaste.
“Um, yeah, is Felicia there?”
“You have the wrong number,” she said clearly, after the shock of hearing that name on this phone had caused her to swallow her toothpaste. She hung the phone up and returned to the bathroom where she rinsed and sat down on the toilet to think.
Who has this number? My house number? She didn’t know and after going to the bathroom left those thoughts there, swirling in a tidy bowl of regrets.
She went back to her room and got dressed, bundled up actually, grabbed a stack of magazines (Blueprint, Smithsonian, National Geographic) and headed to the living room. She switched on the television, flipped through the channels to Fox news and began skimming through the magazines. Soon, the beeping of the coffee maker’s automatic timer signaled its awakening. She fixed a cup and settled back in. Hours passed. Eileen fell asleep.
She dreamed about the day that she’d taught Lilly how to drive a stick shift. It was the day they’d both turned nineteen. The day they first kissed. In reality they’d laughed it off and they wouldn’t get serious for another five weeks, but in the dream, Lilly told her it made her feel real sick and she puked out the window and this in turn made Eileen puke from the smell. She woke from the dream fighting back the urge to vomit and with queasy stomach went into the kitchen for a glass of water. She drank it and looked at the phone, hanging on the wall like an obscenity or an accusation.
“No. I won’t call.”
Eileen decided that they were all the same. Everyone. They all wanted something and it was something she couldn’t and wouldn’t give up. She leaned against the wall and stared at the stain on the tile floor and listed everyone in her head, alphabetically.
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