The light at the end of the tunnel marking the end of a long, slow season came in the form of fireworks on New Year’s Eve. It was a profitable night after a particularly rough season. I rang in the New Year at work onstage with several other dancers and finished the night with a bucket full of cash. I wore a cheap, glittery New Year’s Eve crown that had long white feathers sticking out of it. It was shaped a bit like the Lady Liberty crown. I borrowed (stole?) a silver bottle service ice bucket from behind the bar to hold all the tips I made that night. I pulled handfuls of crumpled, sweaty singles from out of the sides of my panties and from the top of my black thigh high fishnets and just stuffed the overflowing bucket like one might stuff a box with Styrofoam packing peanuts.
A new year and a new decade are officially here. I know it’s official not just because of the fireworks and extra cash, but also because I ran out of spaces on my 2009 National Geographic Giraffes wall calendar. Giraffes are the best. Fun fact about me: I have a giraffe collection. Stuffed giraffes, inflatable giraffes, ceramic giraffe wind chimes. I have them from all over the world and from thimble sized plastic giraffes to life-size, toy-store display giraffes. You name it, I have it.
Anyway, I took the giraffe calendar down and stuffed it into the trash on top of scraps of crinkled red and white Christmas wrapping paper that I had used days earlier to carefully wrap presents. The calendar was full of notes and numbers. Big dramatic sad face drawings in the spaces of certain days and the word “VACATION!” written in large excited strokes and in all capital letters across the space of certain weeks. I tracked my weight, my earnings and my menstrual cycle. I had little sticky notes in a rainbow of colors adding extra reminders on certain days. “Get nails done.” “Cheer up!” “Make money!” I had a countdown to surgery and the date of my first surgery marked in the calendar, too. What a ride the year was!
And speaking of new decades, the last one will probably be the most eventful of my entire life. In the past 10 years I moved to the U.S., moved to Vegas, became a stripper and got a degree. I learned about the pain of losing and the value of having. I learned about the incredible speed at which time flies. I also got new tits.