It was one of those bag lady days. Working as an editor often meant a lot of random late nights. Some, in office, head down, typing away, getting things turned in right on deadline, and other nights, it could be jetting off to a fancy black-tie gala to eat a delicious and/or bland dinner, drink endless amounts of spirits, and hob knob with the beautiful people. I loved those nights. But sometimes those nights meant being a glamorous bag lady, dragging around your clothes and shoes from the day, your laptop because you can never leave work without that, and whatever other miscellaneous items that need to be with you.
I was dashing out of work a bit early to make it into Manhattan from our Brooklyn office to go to a gala. It was one of my favorites as it was all about celebrating Black excellence. After getting my makeup done and barely making it on time for the sit-down dinner (and missing the cocktail hour, bummer), I dropped all my bags in coat check and tip-toed to my table as the presentation began.
I spotted two of my homegirls at my table. One of them tapped the empty chair next to her. That seat was next to a handsome young Black man. I smiled at him and he smiled back. “Hi,” he offered his hand.
I shook it, “Hi, Danielle.”
My other friend, Sasha cleared her throat, “Do you mind Danielle?” She giggled a bit in an attempt to shush me. Sasha was always just a tiny bit rude with her jokes. We were definitely cool, but I was only a couple years into our friendship and was already feeling like she jabbed me every chance she got.
Hakeem made a “woops” face at me and laughed. I giggled. Sasha turned to look at me, offered a weak smile, and turned her attention back to the stage.
One of me and Sasha’s homegirls, Genevieve (we called her Gen) showed up and sat at a table near ours. Hakeem leaned over and asked if I wanted him to swap seats with Gen and I was about to say a quick no, but I looked over and saw Gen looking over it at her table and said, “That’s so nice. Sure. I’ll see you after.”
“I’ll save you a dance,” He smiled, walked over to Gen and whispered in her ear.
Gen smiled and walked over to Hakeem’s empty seat and hugged me and Sasha. “He’s so nice. He gave me his seat!” Gen squeezed in.
“And cute!” Sasha smiled. The whispering didn’t seem to bother her then.
“He is,” I looked over at Hakeem and smiled. He waved.
Sasha scoffed. “Glad you made it Gen.” She kept right on whispering.
When the awards presentation ended, we were finishing up dessert and getting ready to move to the next ballroom for the reception where Black folks dressed in black tie danced to Juvenile’s “Back That a– Up” and definitely swag surfed.
I spent most of that reception backing this thing up and knocking back bourbons with a splash of pineapple and ginger beer with a squeeze of lime. I remember seeing Hakeem out of the corner of my eye, watching me dance. And then I saw him again talking to Sasha by the bar. I made nothing of it. Besides, I was lit and having a good time on the dance floor.
Towards the end of the night, my homegirl Asia, who worked for the organization told me she was headed back to Brooklyn, but wanted to keep the party going and hit one of my favorite bars. I was down. Gen had already left for the night so I asked Sasha to tag along and she declined because she had an early morning the next day. “But get his number for me,” she said, nodding towards Hakeem.
Hakeem had made his way into the group of Brooklyn-dwellers who wanted to continue the night. “I’ll work my magic,” I kissed Sasha on the cheek.
“So you’re coming out with us?” I asked tapping Hakeem’s shoulder with mine.
“I’m coming out with you and your people, yup.” Hakeem smiled. “I figure since I gave up my seat next to you, I might as well get a chance to get next to you another time.”
“But, my homegirl wanted me to get your number, for her,” I said.
“You can get my number,” Hakeem said.
Find out what happens when we extend the night in next week’s column.