Yvette’s spandex dress produces a mid-torso speed bump.
“Slimming,” I say.
“Are you sure? I feel lumpy.”
“That ruffle hits in the most camouflaging way. Besides, you’ve always said chartreuse was your color.”
“I thought teal was my color.”
“Close enough.” I’m pushing fate. If I’m not careful, God will wet a dishtowel, wind it in the air and then with a flick of His powerful wrist, snap me rather deservedly on the buttocks.
Yvette’s stunning figure is now contorted in the clutches of horrible man-made synthetics. This kind of sabotage isn’t my usual modus operandi, but I’ve noticed Emilio’s eyes wandering. “You’re going to wear the snake skin platforms, right?”
We enter “Bling,” a Miami nightclub, to meet Emilio and some friend who’s visiting. I can feel the beat of the music pulsing through the veins in my neck. It isn’t hard to spot Emilio with his black silk shirt opened to his sternum. Aye—that boy is Latino hot.
He hops off his stool to kiss our cheeks. “Hola, chicas—Beatrice, Yvette, this is my friend Jerry from West Virginia.”
Jerry is wearing loose faded jeans, and a white t-shirt with a plaid button-down. It’s hard to read his eyes under his Nascar hat and bale-of-hay hair, but he looks like he belongs on a racing oval.
“Mighty nice to meet you,” he says, tipping his cap.
“So . . . West Virginia . . . how’d you end up meeting Emilio?” I ask.
“Summer camp in Kentucky—we both spelunk,” says Jerry.
“Ooh.” Yvette bats a sweep of eyelashes at Emilio.
I elbow her more playfully than I feel. “Why don’t you take Jerry out there before the floor gets too crowded?”
“Maybe Jerry doesn’t dance.”
“I could give it a try.”
Emilio watches them go. “What is that outfit about?”
“You know how crazy she is.” Yvette’s lips are moving in sync with her feet: one, two cha, cha, cha; one, two, cha, cha, cha. Jerry’s head is pointed straight at his feet. There’s something endearing about his determination.
Soon Yvette is showing off her fluid Puerto Rican dance moves. Her hips take on a life separate from her upper body. In my heart, I know she’s just being herself. It’s something I’m also drawn to, that exuberance for life.
Emilio says, “Even in that monstrosity, she looks good—”
“But that color—reminds you of puke, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” he laughs.
“I’ll be right back.” I head for the restrooms, but then veer onto the dance floor and yell into Yvette’s ear, “You were right—that dress makes you look lumpy.” I feel the Lord wind up the dishtowel.
By the time I get out of the bathroom, Yvette is back at the table, her shoulders round and her arms crossed at her midriff. I wave at her and Jerry. Yvette looks away. “Everybody having a good time?” No response. “Come on Emilio, dance with me.”
The DJ plays one sexy salsa after another and although, I’m not as agile as Yvette, I have some moves. Tonight, I’m flat-out spectacular—my legs extend, my back arches, my blond hair poufs out wildly in the steamy atmosphere I’ve created. I finally have all of Emilio’s attention. “I’ve never seen you like this,” he says.
“You like what you see?” I ignore how hokey we sound.
“Glad I left my options open.”
“What do you mean?” My gyrations slow.
“When Jerry showed up, well, wasn’t sure how things would work out.”
“He seems like a great guy.” I’m stepping from side to side out of time to the music.
“Yeah, that’s why I told him what he was wearing was fine.” Emilio smiles. “Let’s get out of here.”
We’re sitting in the living room, exhausted. “I’m so sorry, Yvette,” I say again. “I talked you into that hideous dress, but you know, it actually looked good on you.”
“As long as I kept the ruffle above the waistline.”
“The color wasn’t that bad.”
“I saw it while I was in the bathroom.”
I remind her that’s fluorescent light.
“Doesn’t matter anyway.”
“You’re right,” I say. “I’m never seeing Emilio again—he’s shallow. One day we’ll find decent guys.”
“I think I’ve found one,” she says.
“Who? Jerry? No way! How in that puke chartreuse dress?”
“Doesn’t see greens accurately. He was visiting his old friend because he was turned down for flight school. He’s colorblind.”
Snap! The Lord completely let’s loose with the dishtowel.
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