This weekend I hit Harlem with a small suitcase and a head full of fake hair, looking for adventure. My friends from Martha’s Vineyard, all New Yorkers, decided to make my birthday weekend special by running around the city with me.
Roxana, Diana, and Mya schooled me on romantic relationships. Malik and the ladies patiently bounced from bar to bar to make sure I could hear both Michael Jackson and a revolving collection of ratchet music. Malik kept us in stitches by telling us his craziest stories, one of which includes a little person, his regular sized twin, two “ladies of the night”, and a poker game in a basement in the Bronx.
In between all of that, Roxana and I met a collection of unattractive, bold men–the only type of man who really approaches pretty girls. An accountant told me about his days doing equations in school. He produced a Webster-sized friend for Roxana, who is shorter than I am.
Roxana took one look at him and decided it was time for a bathroom break. While she talked to a cute bouncer about whether or not he was in a gang, another man approached me with tired compliments and teeth that were like a welcome mat for his face: they greeted me before he could.
After too many mojitos, we left the bar with gales of laughter at the ridiculous things we saw: the actor from K. Michelle’s V.S.O.P. video, another man who looked like he was just released from prison, and a woman who was so convinced of her own beauty that she kept taking selfies at the bar.
On Sunday afternoon after a great church service, Roxana and I wandered into a loud sports bar to watch the Giants game with a bunch of trash talking men. They wished me happy birthday, then playfully included me in their circle by buying me drinks, making fun of all the fake hair on my head, and laughing at my t-shirt, which read “i ❤ boys with mustaches.”
We shared buffalo wings and french fries, made fun of the one Detroit Lions fan, and either mourned or celebrated the outcome of the Giants vs. Eagles game. We talked about cheating men and cheating women and the near impossibility of finding love and marriage in New York.
Shortly after I met the group at the Inkwell, the historically black beach at Martha’s Vineyard, one gentleman told me “welcome to the family.” I had no way of knowing that his words would be somewhat prophetic. The crew celebrated and made fun of me as though I was their silly little sister; I, in turn, confided in the girls and teased the guys. The friendships are a reminder of how important it is for me to step out on faith and trust God to bring the right people into my life. I don’t know where I’ll end up after this year, but they made it clear that, if I move back to New York, they’ll have my back.
After all, they’re my kind of black people.