Saturday morning had arrived and I woke up feeling sorry for myself. Val had done all that was in her power to cheer me up after Romey’s wedding yesterday. I had also tried to get myself back on track, but nothing seemed to work for me. Somehow, I had to stop myself from dwelling on Romey’s life.
On this particular Saturday morning, since I was down in the dumps I was going to just sleep in. I had no plans, so sleeping late sounded good to me. I partially opened one eye and peered at the clock on my nightstand. It said 7 a.m. I turned over pulled the covers over my head. Honestly, I just didn’t want to get out of bed.
Suddenly, someone began constantly ringing my doorbell. The constant ringing was such an irritation that I simply couldn’t ignore. Agitated, I threw the covers back, hopped out of bed, and stomped all the way to the door.
“Who is it,” I yelled in an irritated tone.
When I looked through the peephole, it was none other than my cousin Valerie.
“Girl, open this door,” she said in a mock angry tone.
When I opened the door, Val just stood there for a moment eyeing me in a methodical way.
“See ---- I knew you were holding up here in this apartment feeling sorry for yourself.”
Valerie walked in past me, not waiting for me to invite her to come in. So I just closed the door and trailed behind her into the living room.
“Rachel, I got big plans for you today. First, you’re going to get dressed, and then, we’re going to go shopping.”
“I don’t really feel like going out today Val.”
“Oh, you’re going ---- if I have to dress you and drag your sorry butt out of here. So you see ---- you need to get with the program because I would hate to have to resort to such drastic measures, okay?”
“Oh, all right”, I pouted. “It’s no use arguing with you anyway.”
“That’s right ---- because you know I will dog you until you do.”
Val was right about dogging me because she could be relentless when trying to accomplish her mission. Without any further delay, I showered and dressed and Val and I were off to the mall.
Once we were at the mall, we strolled down the sidewalk window-shopping. I still was holding on to some residual stubbornness so I just trailed behind Val sulking.
“Girl, you need to stop pouting and check out some of this stuff. They have a lot of sharp things in here. So get your butt in gear and get over here”, Val remarked, in a slightly scolding tone.
“Look Rachel ---- you got to dress to impress. You got to start dressing sexier. You know ---- you got to dangle a little of the goods as bait and you can hook any man you want, girl.”
“I’m not trying to hook a man and I don’t want to Val.”
“Well it never hurts to be prepared Rach. You never know what might happen. Remember what I said ---- dangle a little of the goods.”
“I think that you dangle enough for the both of us,” I said sarcastically.
“Whatever Rach ---- we are not leaving this mall without getting you some nice things, okay?”
After spending a little more time in the mall, I began to lighten up and started to get into the shopping spirit. I did end up actually finding and purchasing two nice dresses and matching pumps. Then I accessorized with matching purses and gold dangle earrings.
Later that evening, I thought about how childish I had acted with Val. All she was trying to do was to lift my spirits. She has an idea that I love Romey; she just hadn’t gotten me to admit to it ---- yet. Since I won’t admit to her how I really feel about him, she’s been still playing matchmaker. I smiled to myself s remembered some of the foolish, but earnest things my cousin has done to try to help me. I knew that she meant well, but she still gets over zealous herself sometimes.
The ringing phone snapped me back from my reverie.
“Hey Rach, what are you doing?” Val said, when I answered the phone.
“I got us a couple of hotties lined up for tonight. They are taking us out to dinner and dancing.”
“Val ---- I-I-I- don’t know about this blind date thing. They never work out,” I stammered.
“Oh it’ll be fun Rach. Come on. You need to get out of that apartment anyway. What do you have to lose?”
“Nothing I guess.”
“Okay then ---- be ready at 6 o’clock. We all will see you then.”
After hanging up with Val, I began getting ready for my blind date. I’d opted for one of the dresses that I had purchased at the mall today. The dress of choice was a lavender, form-fitting sheath that enhanced my ample bust line. I showered and changed and I was putting the finishing touches on my make-up when the doorbell rang. I gave myself a quick once over in the cheval mirror and I actually looked very nice. Depression had kind of claimed my life after Romey’s marriage to Franchesca and I had cared very little about my appearances or much of anything else. Thanks to Val’s persistence, I had decided not to live my life in the past and try to move forward.
I knew that it was Val at the door, so I grabbed my purse and headed for the door.
“You ready girl? You look really nice,” Val complimented.
“You look nice too Val. Let’s go.”
Later at the restaurant, I was impressed with the place. It was definitely a few steps above some of the places I’d gone to on former dates. I had actually allowed my self to have a little fun and enjoy decent conversation. My date’s name was Brian and he was kind of cute, even intelligent. Usually Val’s matchmaking efforts were fruitless and turned out awful because most of the guys were self-gratifying losers who thought that they were Gods’ gift to women. It was for this very reason that I had chosen to stay away from the dating scene. After all, who needs this kind of grief?
Our dinner was very delicious which included: Rib eye - 10 oz. cut served with Herb Butter Garnished with Caramelized Shoe-String Onion, Mashed Potatoes, Pelligrino Sparkling Water, with dessert being their famous Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.
When dinner was over, our dates took us to The Sugar Bar/Lounge/Restaurant. It was on a hidden street, just south of Soho, behind a pair of inconspicuous doors. Sugar threw a shamelessly fun party almost every night of the week. Somewhere between the specialty drinks, the DJs and the dancing, guests found themselves having a highly memorable evening. Sugar's trademark B-day parties generated a buzz that turned Sugar into one of the most sought after venues for hosting large parties and cozy dinners. The attitude at Sugar was warm and inviting: the aesthetic was 1950s Palm Springs, Danish Modern: the music was a masterful high-energy mix of everything from rock and roll, and eighties to hip hop, chill out, house, funk, and classics, and the vibe (most importantly) was fun and uninhibited. A perfectly sized bi-level bar, lounge and restaurant that held upwards of 300 people, Sugar was small enough to feel intimate and large enough to be intriguing and comfortable. A stunning floating bar, soaring ceilings, banquette lined sculpture walls, flattering dim lights and a state of the art sound system, and movie screen, created a visually stimulating party den.
At least our dates weren’t cheap. The Sugar Lounge aimed to set high standards with excellent service, knowledgeable bar staff that can certainly mix a fine cocktail, along with cool décor and funky music. But, of course, with high standards come high prices and a severe door policy; so don’t even venture to Deansgate without your platinum card and your latest finery.
I did loosen up some and allowed myself to have fun. I guess that it was the atmosphere and the dancing. At any rate, I did have a good time. I had such a good time that I had become tired.
After thanking Val for getting me out of my apartment, I thanked my date for a very nice time. He offered to take me home, but I politely declined and asked him to stay on and enjoy himself.
Later after getting home, I changed into my silk nighties and got ready for bed. Reflecting back on the events of the evening I’d just had, I smiled contently. The evening had not been half bad. When I allowed myself to loosen up, I actually enjoyed myself. This blind date that Val had set up wasn’t quite so bad after all. As I curled up into my bed, peaceful thoughts swirled about in my head, lulling me into a contented, dreamless sleep.