A soft coastal breeze sweeps open the back of my eyelet crop top and I lean into the table fluttering my eyes. Behind me, Miami’s city line hangs like Christmas lights turning the night instantly to magic. I am surrounded by three friends whom I haven’t sat next to in years and they’re my blankie for the next three days. Our cocktails arrive and I squeal. We toast and nod in approval of our choices. Like family we try each other’s drinks nodding, again, in approval of each other’s choices. Juvia’s rooftop bar–our first stop. We laugh and reminisce and take too dark, too blurry photos to mark our trip.
With a slight buzz and a little giggly, the four of us head to our next stop–carefully planned out by JK–tacos at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. It’s 9pm and we are starving, ready to devour. The line is long and out the door, our first obstacle. The kitchen is a food truck stuck inside the tiny taqueria. The girl at the counter announces that it’ll take an hour to get our food as they are slammed, our second obstacle. We confer and order anyway, choosing our time together over our empty bellies. Each of us is handed a buzzer that will go off when our food’s ready. We grab a picnic table outside and watch our buzzers out of the corner of our eyes as we laugh some more and catch up. Then, as if the universe sent the signal, my buzzer vibrates and EBS jumps with excitement. You see we were trying to be strong, but we are ravenous as we had eaten only one meal that day.
After a two-year break from tradition, three gals reunited on the sunny sidewalks of South Beach February 26th. A trip that has been in the making for a few years–finally realized. The best part about these trips is how each of us is in such a different place in life and yet somehow feels like we’re all exactly in the same place. Two of us are now mothers, one desperately hoping to become one. Two of us working in new schools; one taking a year off. While we met as English teachers and bonded years and years ago, now one is a Math teacher, another a librarian, and the third searching for the answer of whether teaching is the career she’d like to continue. As far away as all these places seem, we still find space to commune with love, and support one another.
Every night after the first, cocktail hour and late dinners became a standard operating routine. Night two cocktail hour–Sweet Liberty. Dinner–a family sized cast iron skillet of Paella. For night two, we had tried our best to be spontaneous. “We’ll just walk and find a place,” we declared. However, inside I questioned this idea being the extreme foodie planner that I am. Will we find the right dinner? Will we end up eating crap? Will I be satisfied? Walking past a main touristy area, we were approached by several hosts and hostess claiming their restaurant was the best and we would be missing out, if we didn’t try it. We passed a few and then, this long-haired beauty approached me and smiled a red lipsticked smile. Taken by her persuasive smile, we took our seats. In the back of my head, however, I still questioned the authenticity of this place. Once the paella arrived there were no more questions, just forks scrapping against too small plates.
For our final cocktail and dinner, JK insisted we leave the island. (We had arrived just two days ago, but had already decided that being island folk there was no need to go to the mainland.) Reluctantly we joined JK in Coral Gables in Miami, clapping and squealing with delight as we drove over the bridge towards the twinkling lights. EBS masterfully parallel parked our car in one try and we hopped in to the super hipster farm-to-table joint called The Local.
Now on a couple of the other trips, I’ve come home feeling like we are so alike. This time was different. We are all well into our thirties which may not seem like a big deal, but there was a clear shift in all of us on this trip: we were all a little more comfortable in our skin, asking for what we needed unafraid of each other’s opinions. JK now a professor and really an activist too. EBS now confident in her identity as a Mathematician and more than that a Math Teacher who teaches not just the skills, but how to think like a mathematician. MWA now confident in her ability to organize the group in seconds and a gifted traveler whose true spirit is a beach bum. And Me. Me who strutted the streets of South Beach in a crop top that exposed my soft and delicious midsection proudly remembering my favorite decade.
We now sing to the melodies of our own hearts and together build a harmony that can move mountains.