I’ve never been the bad girl, the sucia, the sneaky sneak, the master manipulator, la otra. That chica who scoots down in the leathery seat of a cab as she does a quick peep-my-man drive-by. He flinches when a girl struts past and there she goes! Cab door swings open and she is flying. Up, up and away into the air like a possessed, badass villain or – depending on whom you’re speaking to – a glorious, female superhero. And how about the female who answers her phone while her hips are in motion? She swerves on top of a naked man who isn’t her man and, just like that, whispers, “I love you” to her real man through the phone.
No. Definitely not me.
I’m more of the silent sufridora. Sure, I’ve angrily stomped my high-healed boots against New York City pavements, but only for a quick, hot-tempered Aries minute. I much rather walk away and break down into a snot-inducing sob in the privacy of my own home. So bad girl I am not. But one night I felt myself filling that role.
Mr. G had invited me to his white-inspired birthday party. I had initially refused to go for obvious reasons; his girlfriend would be there and I would have to play another familiar role – the friend/former co-worker. But then Mr. G called. Mr. G coerced. Mr. G promised it would be okay. And there I was at his birthday party.
I walked into the dancehall alone – and at 3:30am. White drapes fell from the ceiling and hung from the white walls. The lights were dim and had a tint of blue. Guests blended in with the ambiance in their white garments. It was a beautiful, magical scene, yet I immersed myself into the crowd cautiously. After a few seconds, I spotted Mr. G. I watched him dance two beats, and just like that, he turned to me and stopped dancing. Soon, he was by my side.
“Hey, you came! 3:30am, but you came. Thank you,” he said with a smile.
“I told you I was coming late, wishing you a happy birthday and leaving! So happy birthday,” I replied, recalling our earlier conversation.
“Let me get you a drink,” he replied with a chuckle. I laughed along with him and nodded. Mr. G and I walked side and by side toward the bar. All the while I scanned the room, wondering where Ana, his girlfriend, was hiding. Just when I though the coast was clear, I spotted her behind the bar, serving and mixing drinks to his guests.
Mr. G took my drink order and joined Ana. I watched them together – mechanical and dry – but quickly turned my face. She had spotted me. I didn’t want to say hello and be that girl.
“Hey, Sujeiry!” She called to me. Too late. I waved, but didn’t come any closer. “You weren’t going to say hi?” She asked. Damn! I felt like a bad girl. I took a few steps forward; close enough for Ana to hear me but not enough where she’d see my guilt-ridden expression.
“I didn’t see you there with crowd!” I hollered, lying through a forced smile.
“Senia! Look whose here!” Ana yelled over at her sister, who turned to me and beamed. Shit, I thought. Senia worked with Mr. G and I briefly and we got along well. I’d have to be friendly, be like I used to be before I kissed her sister’s boyfriend.
“Hey! It’s so nice to see you!” Senia exclaimed excitedly while walking toward me. She gave me a warm hug and a nice big drink.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“A woo-woo or fuzzy navel. Just drink!” She held the cup to me and I took a few big gulps. “Finish it. I’ll get another.” And just like that Senia disappeared and Mr. G reappeared, big drink in hand.
“Sorry it took so long. I had to go get more cups in the back,” he replied. “But I see someone beat me to it,” he said, looking at hand. I nodded, took my Bacardi and Coke from his hand and took another swig of the woo-woo-fuzzy-navel sweetness. “You look beautiful,” Mr. G continued. He rested his hand on the small of my back.
“Thank you…I shouldn’t have come,” I stated seriously, pulling away from him.
“I’m glad you did. I know its awkward but I wanted to see you on my birthday.” I looked into Mr. G’s eyes, searching for sincerity. His dark brown eyes were soft and tender. Found it.
Soon, Mr. G left my side to mingle with others. I, however, wasn’t left alone. Senia took it upon herself to liquor me up and introduce me to her boyfriend, brothers and cousins. And that’s when my guilt intensified. As I danced with Ana and Senia’s brother, I felt myself sinking into a withdrawn, emotional state. As I finished my third, big cup of woo-woo-fuzzy-navel and my second, big cup of Bacardi and Coke, my eyes welled up with tears. And as Ana still worked the bar, I set my last, big red cup down and watched the room spin. I took one last glance at the dance floor, where white blurred, and took one last look at Mr. G, who spoke to the DJ in the booth. I slithered down the dance floor, through the door and cried all the way home.