A Dancer’s Wrists, by Steve Smith
After the failed suicide attempt, my wrists were never the same.
When I first met Han, he didn’t seem like a guy to inspire suicide attempts. He was in town for Comic Con and he and his buddies ended up at the club I danced at.
Unlike his friends, he actually tipped me. I was bored that night and had nothing better to do, having kicked my former husband Earl out for good after he broke my nose six months before, and so I agreed to go to an after hours place with him and his friends after the club closed. He said I reminded him of his favorite anime character. Shockingly enough, that wasn’t close to the strangest pickup line I had ever gotten. I must have had more to drink than I thought because I ended up in bed with him before the night was over. Needless to say, he was a virgin and utterly forgettable in bed.
There was something endearing about him, however, and I found myself agreeing to his marriage proposal. We were wed amongst his nerd friends in an anime-themed ceremony. I never pictured myself, a dancer working her way through college on the strength of my boob job, the only remnants of my failed marriage after all the bruises from Earl hitting me had faded, to fall for a nerd, a guy whose parents named him after a Star Wars character. Doing my best way to reprise an anime character was not exactly how I pictured my second wedding, but then my first one hadn’t been planned either.
He insisted I leave Vegas to live in Boston with him. His software development job paid much more than the Certified Nursing Assistant degree I had obtained but never used. I made a lot dancing some nights, but then there were other nights when we were forced to compete over tips paid by attendees to the national convention of high school principals in town. They played the penny slots, so you can imagine the tips they left us; the cover at the door usually exhausted the meager budget their wives had put them on.
I liked Boston, and him, when I first moved out there. The snow sucked for a southern girl like me, but my belle days were long behind me. They ended when I ran away with a trucker named Earl. It seemed like he was going places and I wanted to get anywhere but my small southern town. I had probably huffed too much paint in high school, because anyone but me could have explained the difference between Earl going places because he was a trucker and him going places in life. Earl, it turned out, also liked to hit women like my father. Unlike my father, however, Earl didn’t have a distinguished family name and the accompanying money. The lack of money and my constant trips to the ER due to my near-daily habit of falling down the stairs eventually drove me to file for divorce. The DA convinced Earl to accept the divorce if the felony battery charges he faced were dropped in return.
Everything with Han went fine until the night I walked in on Han with his favorite anime character frozen on his laptop screen, with a bottle of lotion to his right. He was naked save for a tube sock. When I crashed through the door laden with shopping bags, startling him, he attempted to stand up and then tripped over the coffee table, crashing head over heels, his skinny white ass in the air while he fell over with nothing but a tube sock on his dick. Later that night, after he regained his composure, he told me he thought it would be better if I moved out. Apparently I didn’t resemble his favorite anime character nearly as much as he had first thought.
I refused to move out and, the next night, I tried to one up him. He walked in from work and found me slumped over in a pool of my own blood, using some of his purportedly priceless old comic books to soak up the blood from the numerous shallow cuts I had made to each wrist with a dull butter knife. Honestly, does anyone try to commit suicide for real with a butter knife? You wouldn’t believe how much pressure I had to put on the knife to even break the skin.
He insisted I go to the hospital, even though it was just a pretend suicide attempt. Ridiculous, if you ask me. Once I was at the hospital, they kept me there for “observation” for over a week. I always made sure my gown happened to slip down just a little too low whenever one of the young doctors came in, but he didn’t seem to be having any of it. I was already looking ahead to who would be husband #3, but it seemed like the psych ward would be the one place I could not pick up a guy.
He, on the other hand, somehow happened to find out that the pale, sickly girl with whom I shared my room was also a huge anime fan. She never said anything during our Group sessions, but he somehow got her talking about an obscure Japanese invention I refused to listen to any longer. He continued to go to the hospital to visit her long after I was discharged. He even had the balls to tell me one night that he wanted a divorce so he could be with someone who “got him” better than I did. I bit my tongue, but could not help asking whether she would be able to satisfy him in the way that a tube sock and his favorite anime character did.
His face collapsed when I said that and he couldn’t even look me in the eye afterwards. He didn’t even put up a fight when I told him the next day I had hired one of the toughest female divorce lawyers in Boston. He then caved to all my lawyer’s demands and I completely cleaned him out in the divorce. He said he didn’t care, it was just money and all he wanted to do was be with his new lady, who seemed to spend more time in the psych ward where they had met than out of it.
After our divorce, I returned to Vegas, where I had retreated to lick my wounds after I had taken my last left cross from Earl. Strangely enough, most people went to Vegas in order to get married, while I both married there and retreated there after I got divorced.
I tried to get my old job back, but they said I could not dance there any more. I applied several other places, but always met with the same response. In frustration, I asked one of the hiring managers why I was meeting with so little success. It turned out nothing was wrong with my body, like I had been so worried about after I had been replaced by a bi-polar woman who more closely resembled anime character.
It turned out no one would hire a dancer with wrists like mine. I had the boobs but not the wrists. Had anyone else ever gotten turned down for a stripper job because of her wrists?
Steve Smith is a writer based in Florida.
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