Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bienvenido a Miami

Back in the day, the Disney Channel was a premium channel that you had to pay extra for, like HBO or Showtime. About twice a year Disney would to do this marketing scheme where they offered their channel free for a week, so you could see what you were missing.

Well it was the summer of 1999 and NSYNC, whom I had fallen in love with on Total Request Live, was performing a live for TV concert in Orlando. The concert was going to be broadcast on the Disney Channel during the promotional week. Unfortunately, I was going to miss my opportunity to see Justin, Joey, JC, Chris and Lance's synchronized gyrating because I was being forced to go on a family road trip. I wanted to see that concert so bad, I would have sacrificed my little brother just like Thanos did Gamora for the soul stone in Avengers: Infiniti War.

Me sacrificing my brother in order to watch the NSYNC Concert

I was salty that entire trip. We went to the Columbia Zoo and out of spite, I may have thrown my brother’s Pokémon cards into the lion enclosure and tried to convince him to climb the barricade to retrieve them. 

In the new millennium, with the advent of online streaming, and for you rich folk that still pay for cable, DVR, there’s almost nothing better than going on a road trip. I won’t miss TV shows and I still get the chance to stuff my face with local cuisine, laugh until my sides hurt, and almost die in a car with my best friends.

Even if I finally find a guy to spend the rest of my life with, have cute babies and start my very own homemade artisanal jelly company on Etsy, I will make time to go on girls’ trips for the rest of my life. 

The first day of our trip to the 305, my friend JD and I fly into Ft. Lauderdale and meet up with MD who flew in from New York. JD and I met 20 years ago in Algebra II/Trigonometry the summer after I tried to have my brother killed at the zoo.

*Sitting next to each other in 1st period Math class back in 1999*

You’re TK, right?” JD adjusts the choker around her neck.


People keep telling me there’s a Black girl named TK that looks like me.”

She looks me up and down with a Regina George you-can’t-sit-with-us-glare. “I don’t see the resemblance.”

JD and I boarding our flight
I thought JD didn’t like me when we first met, but in actuality she is just a very observant and direct person. Later that year she encouraged me to try out for color guard with her and has been advising me on important life decisions ever since.

JD was also a huge NSYNC fan and we went to my first NSYNC concert together. I guess my family realized they had ruined my summer by making me spend time with them and tried to make it up to me with NSYNC tickets. Either that, or the ransom note I left on my parent’s bathroom mirror actually worked. If you ever want to see your son again, you’ll buy your daughter tickets to see NSYNC.

We pick up our rental car as the sun is setting and grab some sopas and horchatas at a cute little restaurant that has string lights hanging from their patio. Afterwards we decide to get some liquor and snacks from the supermarket to last us the duration of our trip.

My body feels fine, but my eyes feel sleepy,” JD says as she picks up a bottle of wine from the shelf.

Me too,” I yawn. “Almost like I’m high. But I know I’m not high.”

Are you sure you’re not high?”

I think about it for a couple seconds.

MD comes around the corner holding a 2 liter of coke and some baby carrots.

Do you guys feel weird?”

You know that part in The Hangover when Zach Galifianakis admits to drugging everyone so they would have a good time?”

Yeahhhh,” JD says suspiciously

What if they put something in our food at the taco place? I told them it was my birthday. Maybe they really wanted us to have a good time,” MD reasons.

Welcome to Dade County.” I smirk at MD, “I plan on having a good time."

You mean sex don’t you?,” JD says.

Ayyyyeeee! I’m so happy to be here with you guys,” MD gushes.

MD gets excited about pretty much anything and it’s so endearing to see her childlike wonder. Every time we go on a trip, she points out the most mundane things and comments on how beautiful they are. Leaves on trees, squirrels with bushy tails, finding extra french fries at the bottom of the bag: MD’s face

I met MD when her and JD were roommates living in Harlem. Over the years MD and I became close friends and travel buddies. I think living in New York for more than 10 years will make you appreciate the little things in life, because MD certainly does. 

We head to the registers to pay for our snacks and I see JD look up from her phone. 

TK, your entire boob is out,” she says nonchalantly.

OMG! How long was it like that?” I slip my left breast back into my bralette. It's always been the rebellious one of the two.

I was right next to you and I didn’t even see it,” MD laughs.

I catch the eye of an older White guy in front of us in the checkout line.

After nipple gate is handled, we go to our hotel and I can tell the ladies need a pep talk. 

If we don’t go out, then we won’t go out.”


“I think she really might be high,” JD says to MD.

If anybody even sits on a bed, we will realize how tired we are, and we won’t go anywhere. We are over 30!”

I successfully bully the group in to going out. MD pours everyone Hennessey and Cokes and we all get dressed. We get to Mango's in South Beach and its every bit the discoteca I thought it would be.

Attractive people stand along the bar shouting their orders at bartenders. Women wrapped in bondage dresses with their boobs sitting under their chins rhythmically move to Afrobeats on the dance floor. A guy is singing Reggaeton on a stage surrounded by living palm trees while a beautiful woman wearing a glow in the dark thong shakes her (real? fake?) butt cheeks beside him. Either way, her ass looks good.

The three of us make our way through the crowd to the back of the club where there’s a DJ playing Ozuna and a fog machine blasting cool air across the room.

We start dancing when an attractive man that looks like the sexy bad guy you’d love to hate in a novela (Spanish language soap opera) bumps into someone, splashing a drink onto JD. He quickly turns around to say sorry and then our eyes meet.

The 3 of us on our way to the club
The fog machine smoke clears and in one swift move Novela Villain puts his hand on the small of my back, pulls me towards him and we start dancing. Multi colored lights flash down on us from the ceiling and it looks like confetti is tap dancing from his face to mine.

He is an amazing dancer, almost as good as I am. We dance all night except for the moments when he stops to kiss me. When we kiss, the people moving around us blur into the background and the music almost sounds muted, like we’re in a tunnel. 

Our lips part and I can hear the base line of a J. Balvin song start bumping again. 

I want to go for a walk mamí. Ven conmigo.”

I breathlessly mouth, "Okay," but inner me is like...

We snake through the crowd towards the exit and I see JD and MD dancing with drinks in their hands. 

I’m going with him.” I cock my head in Novela Villain’s direction, who is standing next to me.

MD steps in front of Novela Villain and wags her finger in his face. “You better take good care of her.” But the music is so loud that I don’t think he can hear her tipsy threats.

He takes my hand and leads me outside of Mango's. When we finally get to the street a warm ocean breeze blows across my face and makes me aware of how much I was sweating inside the club.

"Soy de Honduras, pero vivo en Cali. Sorry, do you speak Spanish?"

"Sí, hablo un poquito de español."

"Tell me something."

I try not to giggle like an insane person

I reach over and run my finger down the side of his cheek, over his close shaved beard. "Me gusta esa barba."

In a heavy Honduran accent he says, “You are so cute. I want to kiss you all night long.”

We kiss in the middle of the street and when we pull apart a group of people walking past slow down as they get closer to us.

“Awww,” a black girl who looks to be in her early 20’s cooes at us. She has on a neon green bikini covered by a bright pink fishnet mini dress. Basically the standard dress code for a night in South Beach. “You guys look really cute together.”
I put on that MD smile...

I mean direct deposit every 2 weeks and finding extra french fries at the bottom of a McDonald's bag is great, but have you ever had a group of complete strangers tell you how cute you and your telenovela villain are? Maybe thats just the Libra in me talking. Us Libras like to look good and feel good. 

Novela Villain kisses me on the cheek and the scantily clad group of amigas say, "Awwww," in unison one more time before continuing down the street. This is the best night I've had since last Tuesday. I definitely feel high. But not from tacos this time. 


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