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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rosie, The Rose part 6: Life in House of Tolerance

Living in House of Tolerance was indeed a very different to what was Rosie used to. Before she would wake up early to enjoy a rare sunlight, regular raindrops, the sky changing colours and yawning sleepy clouds. When the dark came, Rosie went to sleep. The night life wasn't tempting. Darkness was something unknown, not explored and rather distant or even unpleasant to her. Her mama was terrified of darkness and had to drink an entire bottle of 'anti darkness elixir' as she called it. She swore to Rosie that after she finished the bottle, the whole room was shining with sunlight. When Rosie asked her if she could try the elixir too, mama said in order to try it, one has to first experience the innumerable life blows, skin cracking and heart ending up shattered. So Rosie had to do with the light lamp.
House of Tolerance rose at night. Only then life began. Here, days were made for sleeping. The night was rougher, naughtier, sadder, playful, more complicated and entirely covered behind a white mask.

Rosie was moving through life listlessly but content and sheltered. She engaged herself in House of Tolerance duties. She insisted on helping Madame Bombon who at first was more than reluctant to trust her or have her around. She was worried, someone might ask questions. Rosie insisted there was absolutely no one who might be looking for her. She made deliveries, planned cabaret and themed nights, became a personal shopper for girls, ordered food and other necessities. When Madame Bombon saw how much energy and dedication Rosie put into work, she was slowly warming up towards her. She was surprised about Rosie enjoying the work, girls loving her dearly even though they were proper mean bitches, as she called them multiple times.
Rosie started to feel better. The heart break was still there, it changed her a lot, even her heart beat sounded different. She moved in more mature and hurt way, as if she couldn't run so easily anymore. And she didn't want to. Rosie felt she needed a proper time to heal and bandage all the wounds before setting off to Soho again. She couldn't neglect and put herself into risk again. But to do that, she had to regain the ability to want to live again.

Marguerite, the Never Ending Curse
Rosie's day started around noon when she had to clean the theatre room, as they call it, where all the events happened before the girls went up to their rooms with their clients, admirers or sometimes even alone. Last night was an animal themed night. There were a lot of feathers and fake fur spread on the floor, glitters, empty champagne and wine glasses. Rosie was careful not stepping on a shattered glass. She didn't enjoy cleaning but it was almost a mechanical process, where she just did something without any attachment.
After the cleaning she had to count the damage and report it all to Madame Bombon. Rosie never made a mistake and as Madame Bombon mentioned once, in a moment of a vague affection, she was certainly not just a pretty face.
Rosie found Madame Bombon in a very listless state. Which was utterly unusual. 'What do you want?' She asked surely.
'I just brought you the roster and calculations, Madame. I didn't mean to disturb you...'
It seemed like Madame Bombon decided to snub her so Rosie just left the papers on her desk wanting to leave but Madame stopped her. 'Sit down, Rose!' Rosie immediately obeyed. 'What are you running away from?'
'I'm not...' mumbled Rosie being utterly startled by a personal question.
'Oh come on! Everybody is running from something, regardless of age or unfortunate destiny. That's what we all have in common, we run.'
'I was just exploring, then got ill and happened to be here.' Said Rosie in a cajoling tone. Madame stared at her for a little while, then stood up. 'Come with me. We have a job to do.'
Madame put on her black coat and hat with veil. Girls always made mocking remarks about her 'mourning clothes'. The truth was that Madame only wore black and hated sunlight and that's precisely why she loved living in London. Sun isn't just bothered enough about London. She told Rosie once.
'Madame, could you maybe tell me where are we going?' Rosie asked looking out of a cab window.
'Marguerite left last night. She broke a man's finger, when he tried to kiss her at the party. She could have just said she only accepts female clients, for fuck sake! Why does she always make it so difficult?!'
'Oh you know her... she likes to make a point...' remarked Rosie. Madame Bombon laughed and looked at her amusingly.
'That girl needs a proper beating and sure she will get one as soon as we find her.'

They found Marguerite in a hotel room in Chelsea. Madame Bombon knew an owner of the hotel who, as she expressed vocally, owed her a big time. They got in the room which was covered in darkness and haphazard after taste. Madame opened the shutters abruptly. Marguerite and another woman were sleeping naked in a bed. Suddenly Madame grabbed Marguerite by her hair and started to beat her up. A clamour, crying and shouting filled up the room. The other woman ran away with only a dress on, not worrying about the shoes. Marguerite didn't cry nor did she protest about the beating, as if it was something very normal. Rosie was shocked and disgusted. Violence repulsed her. When she couldn't stand it anymore, she shouted: 'Please, stop! No more, please!' They both looked at her rather amazed. Rosie's face was filled with so much horror that Madame immediately released Marguerite.
'You're lucky the girl's here or I would break your legs. This is the last time, Marguerite. You behave or you fuck off. Now, you two take a cab home. Since, I'm in fucking Chelsea, I'll make some errands.'
And she left. Rosie put a coat over Marguerite's beaten body and helped her to stand up.

On the way back in the taxi, Marguerite looked insanely fragile. Rosie couldn't find that mean, aloof, and awful person anymore. Was it all just a mask? How much truth is written on one's face and how much are we actually able to hide, transform and add?
Marguerite was called 'Black Poison' among the girls. She was lesbian and despised all men which made them fall for her even more. One of her ultimate admirers once called her 'a never ending curse'. The way she was holding herself and entered rooms like the most welcomed thunder, was absolutely dashing.
Of course she recognised the effect she had on everyone and she simply used it whenever she could.
Eugenia said once about Marguerite: 'I don't know what made her the way she is. Maybe there is no reason, maybe the only thing she wants from people, is to desire her. Maybe she can't give away more.'

In the taxi, Marguerite spoke to Rosie for the first time. 'I don't hate all men, Rosie. My dad was one of the kindest people I knew! So peaceful and brave. When he was eleven, he fled Cuba on a makeshift raft boat to go to Miami. Eventually he settled here in England. He told me the stories from that journey... There were hundred Cubans on that boat. Poor women who happened to be menstruating, were thrown to the sea, as not to attract sharks. People were real starving and they all ended up being breast fed by one of the women on the board. How pathetic... The woman, the only person who was able to feed and save lives was also thrown away to be eaten by sharks. And for what? To save men... I think it is enough saving men, Rosie. Either way, men will just end up destroying you.' Marguerite took a deep breath and coninued: 'Amidst tragedy, chaos and disorder, my dad managed to stay so peaceful and in love with life. He would always tell me stories and jokes... and I? Well....' Marguerite went silent as if gathering her scattered thoughts, fighting with the unwanted memories.
'Do you think the trauma, that our ancestors experienced, is passed on to our genes? I do... where else would this constant grieving be coming from? I don't hate men because they are men, I hate them, because they are not like my father'. She said painfully and closed her eyes.