The slow music almost fills the pub to capacity. The air, a mixture of liquor and sweat, weighs almost as heavy as her heart. Up there, on the pole that no one is paying her to climb, she hangs upside down and lets her hair fall. (Her feet twisted in some expert vice grip). As if the gravity could help push out the pain that she felt. As if, if she stayed that way for long enough the blood from her nerves would flow to her head and she would not feel anything again. However it was only futility she knew, accompanied by dizziness. As she rose back up in the swiftest of motions, the sigh that escaped from her mouth was no stranger. It was a feeling that had grown accustomed to her. Somewhere in the back of her head, she thought she heard a whistle. A wolf whistle no doubt from some poor, hungry soul who sought to fill the holes in his own empties by savouring her provoking sensuous movements. Pity, however, was not for her. Neither was disgust, because she simply could not tell whether she was not selling what he wanted to buy or not.

The song playing was, rather aptly, Love Hurts, the classic by Nazareth. She slid down gracefully with her left leg still hooked to the pole and her heels cluttered on the marble table top.

“…I’m young I know, but even so…
…I know a thing or two…”

She swung her hips slowly left to right, round and round to the haunting voice that crooned from the collectors set juke box. Her hands were behind her, gripping onto the cold steel for both safety and strength. She did not care who was watching, she could not see who was watching. Her eyes were shut and her active thoughts were miles away and months ago. Back into the past that had scarred her, the music somewhat an unfortunate soundtrack to make it sting even more.

It was a cold night and she should have known better. But it was also too lonely a night for straight talks. He had talked of the world and she had watched his lips move through the glass of whiskey that she held. She thought heaven had crashed and some pieces of it had fallen onto her lap in the mortal form of a stranger. He was a storyteller and she the listener. She let him weave a story to the edge of her heart and the warmth of her bed. A story that ended with a lesson of life, a new life formed inside her. But just as spontaneous as it had come to be, it was undone, snatched away from her by the complications of science, three fortnights later. Just enough time for a boundless bond to have been formed

The misfortune that befell her as she was running away from her previous misfortunes tore away at her like a stubborn cat scratching at a coloured wall. And tonight, as she took a swig from her bottle and another stare from the cryptic bartender, she tried, once more, to dance the pain away.

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