Living in Caracas and studying theatre, my Friday nights were not necessarily special, a lot of Fridays and weekends I stayed reading in my rented room. I even used to go to my native town to visit my family. This Friday were my anecdote began, it was destined to be something special. I was about to become a low category prostitute employed in a bar and I had no suspicion about it.
The Rajataba café was packed with good theater people, there was din and laughter. Red lights, a lot of known faces and one in another new faces, guests invited by some beer veteran and the chatter with a frighten look. When I used to visit this café I used to sit in the tables that were located going up the stairs in the terrace, there were only two tables that you could see the whole café from a discrete height and not enough to be seen if you didn’t want to.
Photo: María Alejandra Pérez – Preusker© all rights reserved. That night those tables were occupied so I had to sit near the bathroom, I was alone and I wanted be. I enjoyed observing very happy, opened, very drunk and very crazy people. I went to get a cold beer, and I felt relaxed, I drank it in a hurry.
I went for another one and very soon a third and a fourth beer. I thought I wasn’t seen, I thought I saw a familiar face that did not belong in the geography of Caracas.
When you know someone and you are used to seeing them in a certain space, seeing them in another environment you have the impression of seeing them in a movie that it isn’t. The person approached me smiling, very happy to have found me.
-“Hi, I knew i could find you here, someone outside told me that they had seen you come in!.” He was happy, I was outdated. I didn’t want to see him nor anyone. My friend had come from my home town for a surprise visit, he had weeks that he hadn’t seen me in the town, so he thought, without a doubt that he could come and visit, I don’t know? Rejoice? I don’t know what he thought. But after 5 beers and a lot of noise and din I wasn’t up for a discussion.
– Look for a beer and sit down a while, the night is young.
– Aren’t you happy to see me?
– Yes of course, the thing is that for today I had nothing special planned and I just want to sit, drink something and observe people.
– Well now my visit is something special isn’t it?
– Go for a beer that there is a long line. Could you bring me one? Please.
I gave him some money and went to the bathroom. I went thinking about how quick and radical my night had change and I realized how little I fancied that company. I returned to the table and I saw him sitting there, definitely he had nothing to do with the environment, not because he was from another city or town, but within my head he was a character with another story.
I saw him happy, admiring a lot of “weird and crazy” people, according to his words. I sat next to him and I drank the beer without looking at him, but looking at the vast amount of people and I said: “welcome to my world”.
We didn’t talk much, I didn’t want to claim his visit without previous notice and I didn’t want to ruin my night, nor my weekend. I said hi to couple of friends. In reality I said hi to a lot of people, let’s remember I was almost at the door of the bathroom. And suddenly I saw Frank he came right towards me as if I had been waiting for him all night long, as we had agreed upon a date.
You could see him drunk and when he came to say hi with a kiss on the cheek he kissed my nose proving his drunken state. – But if you are here right now, it is good to find you here so early. “I got excited of seen him eventhough I didn’t understand his emotion. Frank was a very recognized person in the University, in the movies and in the theater tables. A part from seeing each other in the classroom and in the university halls, we had shared a lot of interesting conversations surrounded by empty bottles and quoted phrases, well Frank is a cult man and loved to quote authors. I always listened to him with great attention, admiration and above all grace. Frank had a big mouth, he was like an extended ocean with a boat of letters in the middle of his mouth. He never went unnoticed and I bet from all the girls in the café I was the only one that wasn’t dying to kiss him and that’s why he always looked for me to talk, this I didn’t make it up, that is what he told me.
My friend from to town recognized him immediately and said hi with formality, by getting up of his chair and a strong hand shake and saying “we are always at your service” I never understand this phrase.
-“Maria here this is boring, let’s go somewhere else to tell stories and I do not want to speak with a lot people today what do you think?"
-“Today I feel the same way”, I said “let’s go you tell me where I have no idea” I responded after 10 beers.
– “and you? Do you want to come with us?” Frank asked my friend.
– “Yes of course, I’ll go were ever you guys say” he responded without looking at me and without searching for approval or disapproval. We went out from the bar very happy and tipsy to take a cab.
-“Let’s go to the bar” said Frank. He admitted he didn’t remember the name of the place and in recent conversation with Franks we managed to remember what had happened that night, except for the name of the bar and the zone. My friend with his trauma doesn’t want to remember that he had the idea to visit me in Caracas without previous notice.
We arrived at a small and very dark bar. I adore those intimate place where you hear the music as well as the interlocutor. It seemed like a theatrical scenery, a lot of small tables for two and old and ragged placemats but clean. It protrude the red. Red placemats, red walls, red lights, my red mouth and the girl beside me and the other one and the other. “That’s cool everyone with red” I commented with a relaxed smile. He had put right next to me a giant music horn located opposite the narrow and crowded bar drinks. Frank sat down and talked to a very tall, muscular and serious man. They saw me. He nodded, Frank raised his hand “I take responsibility” Frank gave money and immediately I was welcomed. I thought this bar so full that they would not accept more than two people. There were man seated at the tables and some dancing with girls that looked that they were wearing 3 size smaller clothes. I was fascinated with the theatrical experience that enveloped me immediately.
–“Sometimes I come here to drink and gossip, it is a tranquil place and the bouncer knows me, I do not do anything rather than drink and I always leave. Do you like the place? Frank asked me while lighting up a cigar and offered me one.
– “I love it”- I responded putting the cigarette in my mouth and letting him light it for me. My friend was uneasy, uncomfortable and mute. We ignored him without realizing it, immediately discussed the topic and forgot about my surprised visit, we ordered beverages and my friend ordered whisky not on the rocks and with no shame. He talked to women and he was uncomfortable and asked me “where are we?” I responded with total honesty “in a bar in Caracas having a drink” he looked at me feeling stupid. And I said “don’t worry relax and drink” and I continued doing four dimension analysis of people with frank in between the curtains, red lights and with the bulk cigarette smoke. Frank had to use the restroom so I decided to talk to my friend and told him this is how Caracas is, you go to a place and then in the other you go and stay until dawn. “But is Frank your friend, trustworthy friend? Yes of course why?
Suddenly they turned on the white lights and I was blind for a pair of seconds and the music silenced my voice. The women got up from their chairs and from the legs of their companions. The bouncer looked at me very nervously. The police came in and spoke loudly. “All the women against the wall with your idea and permission in the hand.Photo: María Alejandra Pérez – Preusker© all rights reserved.
They are looking for under aged drinkers in bars” I thought, very elegantly I stood up from my chair and searched in my purse for my ID and stood right next to two beautiful women, very showy and with a lot of makeup. I noticed because of the lights. My friend watched me from his chair as an owl in the darkness. He had a nervous laughter and wanted to tell me something but I couldn’t hear him. “Come with your ID” I said to him, thinking they were asking for everyone’s documents without exception of gender.
The girl beside me took her gum out of her mouth and put it under the bar and saw me and said “ you little one are you new or what?” and the light shined upon my head: “I am in a brothel” I thought and at the same time I opened my eyes very widely. I felt chills going down my spine and at the same time that a police came up close to me with an evil smile. Frank was also coming out of the restroom. If I had cameras to show this moment I would need about eight. My face, the police’s smile, Frank’s voice coming out of his enormous mouth with white teeth, I noticed because of the lights and my friend trying to hide under the miniature table and the visit of those who were present. Frank yelled to protect me from the cops: Noooo her no, her no, her no”.
The bouncer had his head between his hands, the bartender broke a glass and the girl next to me said: “do you have papers? Sit down you are not a whore” I couldn’t manage to move from my place. There had grown roots from my feet. Frank pulled me from an arm and told the police “she is my girlfriend and we are leaving”. The police looked at the bouncer: “this is not a place for couples, my friend immediately made a claim to Frank: “Why did you bring us here? All of us could hear the texts said and that night I was one more prostitute, more than ever I noticed the time they came to my table to look for me and Frank said “she is with me” I, that I dance very well thought of course all of them want to dance with me. Frank whispered in my ears while he pushed them away with his arms. “Forgive me, the police has never entered in this bar. “I couldn’t take it anymore, the night was too much for me, the one that I hadn’t planned anything and all I wanted to do was sit down drink a couple of beers in a place filled with happy people.
I started laughing I couldn’t stop, it was an altered laugh, and I was passing lack of oxygen and tears from laughter. Frank laughed, outside the cold Caracas night that hit us. We laughed without listening to the desperate question from my friend. “How do I get to the bus terminal at this hour, I want to go home now” he had come in a bus and wanted to go back and pretend this night never happened. He didn’t understand our laughter, our self-confidence, our complexity. We stopped a taxi. The taxi rolled down the window, he saw where we were standing and asked me “doll are you going with both of them? Frank and I laughed again and Frank answer, no sir, the doll is going to her house to sleep and I am staying” but an impertinent hiccup came to cut my words and I pulled out a lock of hair from the face and I saw him. Frank looked handsome, within his drunken state, that made his eyes look crooked and huge smile, gigantic, monstrosity gave a kiss on the for head and said “ I love you” “me too” I replied. Take care” I added. I got in the taxi and told my silent friend “get in the cab, we will take you to the terminal, at this hour there are no buses”.
I entered my house as the sun was rising. That Saturday I slept the whole day. Between the times I got up to eat, drink water or use the bathroom I thought how beautifully prostitute that previous night was. The clothes smelled like smoke, served drinks and rejected offers.