I’ll see you again, I promise

As strippers it is very common for us to tout the line that ‘you are paying for an experience, not a person’ and we hate it when guys come into the club looking for a girlfriend. Virtually every single customer asks us to hang out/go for dinner/be their friend outside the club and it is a constant battle to remain polite but firm in our stance that we do NOT want to communicate for free both because it can get us fired but also because we need to maintain boundaries and have time for ourselves. Having said that, strippers are human and sometimes, very rarely, connections are built.

In the summer of 2021, I decided on a whim to accompany my friend to a new club in a small town in southern Germany next to an American military base. We met a group of Marines who had just come from a long, difficult deployment in an active combat zone (for privacy reasons I won’t name the place). I don’t know what they did or saw, but whatever it was they were definitely affected by it. Physically they were in Germany, but mentally they were all somewhere else. Typically, they should have only been laid over in Germany for a day or so before being flown back to their base in America, but this was during the 2021 Afghan refugee crisis so from my understanding many of the available military planes were being used to transport refugees out of Afghanistan and thus a lot of military personnel were stuck in which ever place they happened to be in at the time. What should have been a 24 hour layover for this platoon turned into a week, and during that week I built a very strong, intense connection with one man who came to visit me at work every night, (on me alone he spent two months salary in six days) but with each visit the normally clear line between fantasy and reality became uncomfortably blurred.

I’ll see you again, I promise

The last words they spoke to each other were;

I’ll see you again, I promise

He knew that he would miss her and he would see her again eventually and she didn’t doubt him. Connections like this don’t come along often.
Trauma. Healing. Trauma. Healing.

They would separate and hold onto the experience with the other, reliving each
detail continuously. They would miss each other but they would see each other again.

I’ll see you again, I promise.

I know, I promise too.

I want to keep you here. How can I keep you here? What am I up against?

Impossibility. Just accept it.

I’ll see you again, I promise.

And then the big green aeroplane ripped them apart.

Other continents, other time zones, other lives. Things settled into reality, but this reality came too soon. He wasn’t ready for the fantasy to be over, neither was she. They didn’t want this yet. This little world that they built, this peaceful life, this connection, it wasn’t meant to end yet.

You were the best thing that came from this deployment. I feel very fortunate to have met you.

You have no idea what it means to hear you say that.

We have to find a way to continue and finish our temporary madness for the other.

Yes we have to. We will get a cabin in the woods and go hunting and drink whisky we can keep talking and talking and talking and just be.

That sounds so wonderful.

You should come back to me!

I can’t until my enlistment is over. Can you come to me?

Who knows when travel will be possible again.

I want to hold you again so badly.

So do I. You have no idea. This distance. This awful distance.

Then time does what it does which is to tick slowly on and on and on. A month passes. Another month passes. Then another. There is a new variant, new mandates, new restrictions.

I’ll see you again, I promise

Do you remember me?

Yes of course I remember you. I remember you every day, but less with each day. We have to be realistic about this. We can’t maintain the same connection we did in person and it’s pointless to try. Let’s not pretend that it hasn’t faded and we can reconnect when I see you again.

There are video calls and photos and photos and photos.

What I would do to reach into that photo and touch you.

What I would pay for an hour alone in a room with you.

You will never have to pay me again.

Will I see you again?

Yes we promised. We will meet again. I know we will.

Will it be the same?

Maybe. Likely not, but it will still be great. We have stayed connected for this long we won’t be strangers. Just wait, this waiting will make it even more unbelievable when it finally happens.

You’re right. I’ll be patient.

You are worth all this time and all this distance between us.

I look for you, you know. In every man who tucks his pants into his boots, who tells me his stories. I search for traces of you.

What do you find?

You. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But I’m always looking.

You’re too sweet.

I’ll see you again, I promise
I’ll see you again, I promise
I’ll see you again, I promise

And then one day one of them meets another.

She is not you, but you’re all the way over there and I need someone to fill the void. It’s not serious I promise. She isn’t there for me the way you are.

I want that void filled for you, and you don’t owe me anything. Please don’t hold back…does she wear the same shoes as me?


Ok. Ok. I am not jealous. I want you to be happy of course. And to heal.

And then she meets another.

He is not you, but we get along so well and you are so far away. I want to let him into my life. Just a little.

Does he wear a uniform? Do we have the same flag?

He does, and yes.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

He doesn’t want me the way you want me either. I am just filling a void for him.

I understand.

With each passing month the likelihood of seeing you again grows slimmer.

I know, but how incredible is it that we even met? We could have never met, this fantasy could have never happened.

I’ll see you again, I promise.

I promise..

-Katja Hippopotamus

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