Thursday, May 19, 2022

Microstory 1889: No Way to Fail

The first thing I did when I became an adult was visit what you might call an adult entertainment club. I struggled with getting dates, and I had never done anything beyond kissing. Even that wasn’t all that great, but I still wanted more. I was mostly just lonely, and if I had to pay to pretend for a few minutes a week that I wasn’t, then that was what I would do. It became a habit. I knew all the girls there, and they all knew me. They knew they could trust me, and for a little bit extra cash, some of them decided that it was okay if we took things to the next level. I was grateful and happy, but then it all ended. The club installed security cameras in even what were meant to be private areas, and suddenly, I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. The girls had to be really careful and distant, as did I. I stopped going to that place. I was still pretty young, but I managed to get over my urges, and lead a normal life without all that stuff. What I realized was that all those conversations I had that I treated as superficial and fake were preparing me for real relationships that were not transaction-based. I jumped into the dating scene, and started looking for something real and lasting. I had a few good girlfriends, but we always grew apart, at least in such a way. I stayed friends with most of them, which a lot of people say can’t be done, but I beg to differ. Even when we parted ways forever, I knew their names, and I could have reconnected with them in some capacity later on. The girls at the club, not so much. Some of them gave me their real names, but I didn’t exactly check their papers, so even those could have been fake too. One night, my buddy was getting married, so he needed a bachelor party. His best friend ended up choosing my old club to go to, which I didn’t think too much on, because it had been so long, and those places have a lot of turnover, you know. I did recognize one girl there, though.

I bought a dance with her for old time’s sake, but I was with someone at the time, so I wasn’t interested in an actual dance. I just wanted to catch up. She seemed stunned the whole time, which was odd. I wouldn’t have thought she would remember me. She quit before the cameras, so it had been a particularly long time. I tried to ask her questions about her life, but she was being really cagey. That was odd too, because those girls are normally good at lying just to keep the conversation going without giving any personal details away. Eventually, however, I was able to get it out of her that she had an eleven year old daughter, and there was a possibility that I was the father. She would have contacted me sooner, but I stopped going to the club by the time she took a test, and she couldn’t investigate further, or her old bosses would have learned that we broke the rules. Due to her religious beliefs—and because of the high expense back then—she couldn’t get a DNA test for her daughter, but she showed me a picture of her. She looked quite a bit like me, I mean, she had to be mine, right? DNA test or no, she had to be my kid, and I had to do right by her. After some deeper discussions, the mother let me meet our daughter, and we got to know each other better. I took care of the both of them for years. My girlfriend broke up with me because of it, so they ultimately just moved in. Once our daughter became an adult herself, she decided she finally wanted that DNA test. To our surprise, the result was negative. She was not my biological daughter, and she was heartbroken. But I wasn’t. She is my daughter, and nothing can change that. It’s actually a blessing, because the disease that’s killing me today is hereditary.

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