Have you ever imagined having two lives? Be two people at the same time? I bet you have. But between thinking about it and actually living it, there's a very big difference, believe it. For years I find myself divided between Sooyoung and Yves, two women that consume everything I have, but make me a strong and decided woman who has no fear of confronting any situation that life imposes. For someone who has lost everything and confronted situations that will make you feel sorry for me, today I am someone better.
In a matter of minutes, I could see sweet Sooyoung transforming into seductive Yves, amazing isn't it? It's like two faces of the same coin. Sooyoung was a hardworking girl who fought for her dreams, searching for a better way to grow and help her family, who a few years ago was completely destroyed when her father suddenly left them. Trash, thought while remembering the most insignificant human being to ever inhabit earth. I will never forget that in the worst moment of our lives, when we had nothing, he abandoned us, leaving behind only misery. Can you imagine what was like to see your mother and your sister crying for days? Living off of people's compassion and pity? It was humiliating.
It was when I decided that I couldn't let my family live like this. I remember that as soon as I woke up that fateful day, I searched the newspaper for job offers, but by pure bad luck, no one accepted me. I remember stopping by a coffee shop, taking my last dollar with me and buying a cup of hot coffee, to then sit at the furthest table.
The place was simple, people were sitting in the tables scattered around the place, having entertaining conversations. At the counter, I noticed the presence of a woman with a young and elegant appearance, and for some reason she was staring at me, but I didn't give it any attention.
I inhaled the smoke that was coming out of the small cup with the black liquid, bringing it to my lips and feeling my tongue getting warmer as it touched it. I thought of how my day was a failure, I visited several places and none of them accepted me. I remember that before leaving my house my mother touched my shoulder and looked straight into my eyes and said:
"I know that you are the only one who can change this."
And with that sentence, I was motivated to get something, and I swore to myself that I would not return until I got it.
I cried, I cried when I remembered her words and the look in her eyes that was begging for something better, I cried because I had to return without having any hope. Everything was lost, I couldn't even get a simple job. And that was when I felt someone sitting right in front of me. I closed my eyes, letting my last tears fall, and then I quickly wiped them with the back of my hand and looked at the woman in front of me. It was her, the woman who was sitting at the counter.
"Is everything alright?" She asked curiously. God, if it was alright I wouldn't be crying, I thought.
"Yes, don't worry? I answered quickly.
"You don't seem to be alright, do you want to share what happened? I think you need a friendly shoulder.” The woman said as she slid her thin fingers over the brim of the small cup.
Why would someone who doesn't know me be interested in my life? Maybe it was just curiosity or some interest. I stared at the woman in front of me, and she remained with the same curious gaze focused on me, but for some reason she conveyed me reliability.
"My name's Vivi, nice to meet you." The woman said, extending her hand to me.
With a certain apprehension, I extended my hand and shook hers. "My name's Sooyoung." I said.
"So, Sooyoung, why are you crying?" Her question was objective.
"I don't think you would like to know." I said with contempt.
"Oh come on, there's nothing better than coffee and a good story." She said with a half-smile.
"What if my story isn't good?" I asked under her evaluative eyes.
"We will make it good." She said, taking a sip of her coffee.
I started telling her everything about my day, and Vivi looked at me intently, listening to every detail of my story. Was she really interested in my pained life? It appears so. I told her every detail, and in between her thought-provoking questions, she got to know more about me. We talked for several hours, the coffee shop was beginning to get empty, and by that time, Vivi already knew everything about my life.
“... and now I have to go back home and tell that I'm a failure." I said with a certain bitterness.
She looked at me like she was analyzing me, which made me retract. There was a big confusion going on inside of me. Why was I sitting here telling my life story to a stranger? Oh my God!
"I need to go." I said as I gathered my things into my small bag, to then get up right after.
"Wait!" She said. "I can help you, Sooyoung." Her voice was firm.
A sudden flare of hope and fear appeared inside me, and I stopped and looked at her. How could that woman help me? Vivi seemed to have money, and she was a very elegant woman with strong traits and determined expressions. But something in me alerted that I had to get out of there, but in the same instant an image of my mother and sister crying bashed through my mind.
"How can you help me?" I asked.
I saw Vivi smile, the woman got up from the small table, leaving a few dollars on it, paying our bill.
"Come with me, I'll show you."
We left the coffee shop, and I could feel the cold breeze blowing against my body, so I pulled my coat closer to my body to get warmer. Vivi was walking ahead of me, until we reached the parking lot, where we came across her beautiful car. She definitely has a lot of money, I thought as I entered her white Jeep. I was quiet the whole way, my head was racing, where was that woman taking me? I thought multiple times about telling her to stop the car and let me leave, but I didn't, couldn't give up that easily.
"Relax, Sooyoung, I won't kill you nor force you to do anything." She said, as if she could read my mind.
I didn't answer, I remained quiet, looking out the window, until we reached our destination, an enormous building. It had a gigantic structure, and on its facade, there was a big neon board with the name 'Loonatic' on it. It was a nightclub, I thought.
When the car stopped, a tall young man approached, opening the door for Vivi who quickly got out, and then he opened the door for me and I followed the woman. As soon as the security guard at the entrance saw the woman in front of me, he let her pass through without saying anything. If on the outside the club looked magnificent, on the inside it was much better. The place was crowded, there were men and women everywhere. The frenzied and sensual beat of the music spread itself throughout the room, it was at least mind-blowing. I observed the whole place, pink and black were the predominant colors. On the ceiling, the light game consisted of big yellow chandeliers. On every corner, I could see couches with men sitting on them while several women served them. In front of them there were small stages with a big pole, certainly used for pole dance. The women wore short and sexy clothes, while the men wearing suits, drank and admired the ladies dancing around them.
Vivi kept on walking and I just followed her. We walked between the sea of people who were there, to then climb the stairs that led us to an office, which we entered.
"Make yourself comfortable." She said as she threw her purse on the brown leather couch.
I timidly walked around the room, observing every detail. The woman went to the bar that was there and served herself a glass of Whiskey.
"Do you want anything to drink?"
I shook my head and walked to the huge glass panel that was in the room. From there you could see the entire club. I had never been in a place like that before, it was attractive and exciting. On the main stage, a group of women danced sensually with clothes that barely covered their body, and around them, men and women watched the show attentively. They shouted and asked for more. And it was then that I saw the women slowly taking off their clothes. Oh my God. Vivi was the owner of a Striptease club?!
"I think that by now you have realized that I’m the owner of all this, right?" I heard her ask behind me, and once again it seemed like she was reading my mind.
"Yes, I just don't know how I’ll fit in all of this." I said timidly.
I saw her chuckle as she took a big sip of her drink. She inched closer to the window, watching everyone downstairs.
"You see..." She began. “All of these girls were once in a situation just as bad as yours, until they found me. I pay very well for each of them, and today they have the luxury of having their own houses and cars. But this time, this time it was different because I was the one who found you, and I'm giving you an amazing opportunity, Sooyoung, but the choice of accepting it or not is yours."
"You want me to be a-" I was at loss for words.
"Whore? Oh of course not, Sooyoung, I don't work with prostitution, relax." She said, leaving my side and going to her big wooden desk.
"Then what is it?" I asked, confused.
"I want you to be one of my dancers." She said, taking another sip of her whiskey. "I know, I have a lot downstairs already, but I want one that everyone wants to see, you know? Men, women… I need a girl who makes everyone lose their mind." She said as she sat on her chair, to then turn towards me. “And I believe that you are that girl, I can already see you slaying everyone, Sooyoung!" She said with a cheerful tone, looking at me.
"I can barely dance, ma'am. God..."I said awkwardly.
I saw a smile appear on her lips. "Sooyoung, Sooyoung..." She flashed me a smile. "You will learn, and I'm sure that you will be one of the best. But as I told you before, I'm not forcing you into anything, the choice is exclusively yours."
I looked at Vivi who was staring at me, waiting for an answer. That place had nothing to do with me, I couldn't imagine myself dancing sensually for anyone, let alone wear those very short clothes. I was scared, scared of my future and scared of what could happen. But I had no choice, not in that moment. Some sort of adrenaline started spreading through my veins, and I took a deep breath.
"What do you say?" She asked with her carefree look.
"I’ll do it! I'll be your best dancer."
"Yves? Where are you?"
I heard someone call my name, taking me off my reverie. I opened my eyes quickly and saw Hyunjin inside my dressing-room.
"Yes?" I asked, fixing my clothes.
"Everyone's waiting for you. It's time for your show." She said with her broad smile. "And damn! There's a lot of people today, Yves!" Hyunjin said cheerfully.
I could hear the loud music, the frenzied and mind-blowing beats playing in the background, people talking, laughing and having fun with the shows that were happening. Meanwhile, I was getting ready to fill the eyes of the men and women out there with lust. In that moment I forgot who I was, forgot any trace of shyness and modesty that could exist in me. In the mirror I only saw the reflection of the insinuating Yves. I smiled at the sight that I had of me, I was sexy. I was wearing a short yellow skirt that had several layers to give volume, which I modesty didn't need, and on top I had a white blouse that was tied together under my breasts, leaving my abdomen completely exposed. I grabbed the small black mask that was on top of my table, and with my eyes fixed in the mirror, I put it on. Now everything was ready.
"You look amazing, Yves!" Hyunjin exclaimed as she approached me, to then touch my shoulder in a comforting way. I smiled at her through the mirror.
"Show time!" I said smiling.
"Make them go crazy for you!” I heard her say behind me as I walked towards the stage.
The curtains were closed, my performance was solo. I moved my body to relax, when I saw Hyunjin giving me an ok sign. That was it, the show was about to begin.
"C'mon Yves, it’s your turn." I said to myself.
I closed my eyes, and the slow and sensual beat started playing. The curtains opened, and in the same instant, under the small mask, so did my eyes. I saw the customers getting excited at the sight of me; screams and applause filled the room, and this was how I liked it, this was how it should be.