By Eileen Slovak
Nadia was no bar fly, but her roommate Tina fit the profile.
Friday nights at Joe’s Tiki bar in Miami, Tina would routinely perch on the edge of a bar stool, pitching forward, revealing her substantial cleavage, while flipping her false blonde locks at some unsuspecting fool. The dim torchlight masked the pockmarked skin and smoke-stained smile that would cause men to recoil in daylight. Nevertheless, some always sought her sort of promiscuity.
In front of the bathroom mirror in the apartment she shared with Tina, Nadia absently brushed her resplendent black hair. “I’m just not up for the bar scene tonight, T. I think I’ll stay in.”
“For cripes sake Nod, you’ll never get a boyfriend hiding in the apartment.”
I wouldn’t call your one-night playthings boyfriends, Nadia thought.“I’m tired, she said, “and I’m just not…like you, T.”
Nadia dreaded the sounds of Tina’s nightly entertainment reverberating through the thin walls. As a mid-year transfer to The University of Miami, limited housing options had led to her current residence, but as the new school year approached, she had already begun apartment hunting.
“I know,” said Tina, with her hands on her hips, “I get it. You’re not outgoing. But I can show you how to get noticed.”
What if I don’t want that kind of attention? Nadia thought looking her roommate up and down. Tina’s reptile-print, tube dress, reminded Nadia of a nature program where an anaconda swallowed a Cayman whole.
“Come on, Nod,” Tina pleaded. “You know I hate going out alone.”
“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Nadia said applying pale pink lip-gloss to her full lips. Brushing mascara on her generous lashes, she accented her chocolate-brown eyes. She dusted her cheeks with blush, although her flawless, olive skin required nothing. After adjusting the straps of her stunning black sun dress, she slipped on low sandals.
“I’m ready,” Nadia said.
“Show some skin!” Tina bellowed. “Look at me!”
Nadia resisted saying what she was thinking and instead picked up her purse and followed Tina out the door. As they walked two blocks to the Bar, Tina gulped down a liquored concoction from a large, plastic cup while Nadia looked up at the starlit sky, wishing on each burning light.
“Look out boys,” Tina snorted, “here comes trouble with a capital T!”
Steamy nights meant full club capacity with customers spilling into the streets. Jimmy Buffet’s vocals filled the acrid air. Navigating through a blur of Hawaiian shirts and scanty dresses, Nadia reached the bar, but Tina had slipped away, having found her evening’s mark, she was jigging and singing, “Wasted away again in Margaritaville.”
Moments later with a pink, frozen drink in hand, Nadia slipped to the upper deck, away from the crowd to survey it from a distance. She rested her cup on the deck rail thinking, there must be a better way.
A couple staggering toward the stairs bumped the rail sending Nadia’s drink toppling over. She reached up too late to retrieve it. A waterfall of pink slush landed squarely on a young man below.
“I’m so sorry!” Nadia called down, her long hair waving in the breeze.
Dumbfounded, the man looked up. The right shoulder of his white shirt soggy with the pink mixture, he flashed Nadia a brilliant smile.
“Where I come from,” he said, “its good luck when a beautiful woman spills her drink on you. So, if you don’t let me buy you another, I’ll be ruined. What do you say?”
“Is that really true?” she asked walking down the stairs toward him.
“No,” he said, looking into her eyes. He took her hand on the last stair. “I’m Santo,” he said. His eyes remained fixed on hers. He wore his dark hair on the long side and the now wet shirt showed off his fit physique.
“I’m Nadia,” she said.
“Well Nadia, I wish it was true. But one look into your eyes tells me I could never tell you a lie.”
“Then, I say yes,” she smiled and that was how Nadia met her future husband.