Ah yes, 5:00pm on Friday, that magic hour where I am set loose from the metaphorical cage that is my office at the NYC DOE and set free to roam once more. The last 30 minutes of my day always seem to drag. I have picked up the bad habit of boredom scrolling Instagram. My Instagram discovery today was that my ex girlfriend Maddie had gone and gotten engaged. She was now engaged to the ex girlfriend of my dear friend Mel. There was the text from Mel.
Mar(I chose to go by Mar over the name my parents gave me, Maria. ) Maria means Mary, like the biblical Mary, and I had given up Catholicism, about the same time I gave up adding “ia” to the end of my name. Did you see, our ex’s are engaged?
Oh I saw. I am headed extremely up town to The Black Pearl to drink about it, I texted back.
I’d join you if I were in the city.
I mean hey, at least they found each other and can now verbally and emotionally abuse each other.
Well I will be around later, if you feel like talking.
Ok. Have a good night drinking about it.
Oh. I intend to.
The Uber I was on stopped across the street from The Black Pearl. I thanked the driver, got out, and paid on the app. It was Friday, so I had my casual Friday dark skinny jeans, my favorite white button up blouse with black sugar skulls and a pair of zebra print flats, my new glasses I bought from Aldi framed my green eyes pretty well. I’d taken the effort to defuse my hair and put on some lipstick.
Eva, the butchy bar tender behind the bar looked up from the glass she was drying.
“Mi Mar (My Mar) you are here early”.
“It’s been a day”. Eva got out a wine glass.
“Is it a holiday pour kind of night?”
“I believe it is. I’ll start with a glass of Rose please”. Eva filled a wine glass with wine. “Wow. That is a holiday pour”.
Eva smiled. Will you be eating as well?” I’d been resisting Eva’s smile for about a month now. Eva had a warm smile, and sparkle in her eye when she smiled at you. She also had a dapper butch style that consisted of fitted suites, and accented the areas that were attractive accent areas of a woman for me. Her hair was styled short, and combed back. It was still early, and the bar was relatively empty so I had her full attention.
“I will have an order of empanadas please”.
“I have a quandary”, I said matter of factly, flipping through Addie’s latest Instagram post of her engagement. She stared up at me from her photos looking so happy with her fiancé.
“Why is it when two women date, and then break up, they stay friends, or stay in each other’s lives somehow. They may not talk still, but, stay friend’s on social media and like each other’s posts on Instagram and Face Book. What is that about? Why is that?”
“Why do you think it is? Then I will give you my ideas”.
“I think it is because as women we are made to feel like we have to be friends with everyone. I also feel like being in Queer relationships, people feel the need to show heteronormative people that there is nothing negative about their relationships. So that they won’t judge us. I also think that we just like to torture ourselves.”
“I agree with those things. I also think that we sometimes find ourselves with partners who trat us poorly, and we find ourselves in unhealthy situations, and then when we break up, we just continue on with an unhealthy habit because it feels normal.”
“So, what’s going on”, Eva inquired. I showed her my phone.
“This is going on”.
“Is one of these people your ex girlfriend?”
“The blond on the left is my ex”
“You’ve told me about her, and the way she treated you and all I can say is she was lucky that she had you and oh my god you deserved way better. She clearly has traded down.” She handed me my plate of empanadas and I dug in.
“You know just what to say”.
“For real though. Look at you”. My glass of wine was nearing the end. She filled it back up. “If I had a girl like you, I wouldn’t let her slip away. I know I asked you on a date once, and you said no because you weren’t ready to date, but, have you considered it at all? I’ll cook you dinner, and then we can go to a movie. Whatever movie you choose”. I thought about it for a while.
“Yes. Ok. Name a day and time”.
“Tomorrow. My place. 6:00pm?”.
“Ok. I will be there. I just need the address.”
“I live in Bushwick. 25 Harman St.”
“I’ll bring the wine”.
“That sounds good”. Cue the nerves. A date with the bartender that straight women and queer women alike were into and lets be honest, a bunch of men were probably attracted to her too. Eva had a smile on her face as I called a Lyft.
“Well. I am going to head home”, I said sounding a little flustered.
“Let me walk you out. There was a second bar tender on duty.
She walked me outside and gave me a hug.
“You know what, we look good, let’s take an insta photo”.
“Ok.” We got a good picture, and I tagged Eva in the picture that I shared to my story. My Lyft pulled up, and I got in. When I got home, to my apartment I shared with my roommate, I picked out my outfit for my date. I settled on black skinny jeans and a black oversized shirt with Frida Kahlo on it. I showered and did some body maintenance and upkeep also known as the pre date shave. I stepped out after my shower, and grabbed a bottle of wine as well as a bouquet of flowers. I felt ready for the date. As ready as I ever would be, and just settled in for the night with old L Word eps.
When the date time approached, I started to get ready. I was out the door with flowers and wine and enough time to get to Eva’s on time. When arrived to Eva’s, I rang her door bell. She buzzed me up. When I walked in the door there were candles lit, and the table was set for two. There was a heavenly aroma of simmering meat and bananas in the air.
“These are for you”, I handed the wine and flowers to Eva.
“We had similar ideas”. She handed me a single red rose. I smelled it.
“Thank you”, I said with a smile. She pulled my chair out at the table. I took a seat.
“So, tonight for dinner we have ropa vieja, platanos maduros, and arroz con habichuelas”.
“Oh that sounds lovely”. She served me and took a seat across from me at her table. I looked around her apartment. It was modernly decorated. Her furniture was black. “So do you live alone”.
“I have a roommate, but she spends most weekends at her girlfriend’s place.” We had the place to ourselves.
I took my first bite of the ropa vieja. It tasted as good as it smelled. “This is amazing. Where did you learn to cook”.
“I learned to cook from my Mom, like all good Dominican girls are taught to do. She just didn’t realize I’d be learning the skills she taught me to cook for a future wife and not a future husband.
“How was she when she learned the truth”.
“She mourned for a little bit, but then she was fine. She always had an idea, I think.”
“It is funny how people know, before we really say anything”.
“We can only hid who we are for so long”.
“True”. Dinner conversation flowed so easily between us. We liked a lot of the same books, and TV shows. We each enjoyed working out at the gym, and had cats. Her cat Romeo was a little black cat and joined us for dinner, curled up on a third chair at the table. When we were done eating, I got up to clear the table.
She took my hand. “Don’t worry about the dishes, I will take care of them. She stood so that we were facing eachother. I do not know who initiated it, but, our lips were upon each others. She was walking me to the couch and reclined me on it.
“The dishes”, I whispered.
“They will still be there”, She smiled.
“If this is dessert, I am really enjoying it”.
“This is our just desserts” and I wasn’t complaining.