In The Land of Babes
Sometimes the hard thing is making thought tangible.
Alex and I met somewhere within the haze of my first year in the city, when the struggles of New York were still exciting for me but were wearing on her her. We would sweat through parties like Hey Queen! and Yes Ma'am when bodies still crowded Public Assembly. On more weeks than I can count, large packs of girls would take the mile long walk between Metropolitan Bar in it's heyday to The Woods when Misster was just getting started, and we were in the middle of it. Groggy and spinning, we'd wake up, go to work, and somehow do it all over again. I was drunk off the freedom but she was coming down from the high. This state is her home but after twenty-five years she needed a break. When she told us she was leaving for New Orleans we felt a part of our collective heart break off. The little group of friends we managed to weave together out of long term friendships and college flings felt her absence, but sometimes leaving is more important than staying. After a year she came back more powerful than she understood.
A little older and less desirous of those long, late nights, we traded PBR on sticky floors for glasses of wine in dark bars with smooth leather seats. I watched her turn over an idea in her head: a radically accessible dinner series for queer women in the safest space-their own homes. She'd been working as a cook in some of the city's best kitchens over the last few years but wanted to see a change for herself and our community. And so, with time and care, she did the hard thing and breathed Babetown.
. . .
Our community is miraculously connected, and the second I walked into the sprawling loft I remembered I had been there before on one of those long lost nights. I found Alex hot in the kitchen plating sweet potato kreplach her friend Caitlin had finished frying up. As I poured a glass of prosecco a woman reached out, "You've got to try these. They're so good." At her suggestion, I lifted a dumpling from the platter and bit into the crispy exterior. Velvety sweet potato spread inside my mouth with the fresh sweet of a nutmeg salt. Whoever she was, she was right. They were delicious. After a few more glasses of prosecco and warm conversation with new people, I turned around to find a delectable wedge salad with toasted walnuts, concord grapes, and a blue cheese dressing, delightfully bright and tangy roasted carrots in a nut chutney, and hearty brisket ready for devouring. I grabbed a plate and laughed with my friend about the idiocy of portion control while the brisket melted in my mouth.
As the night grew everyone moved closer. A playlist was created highlighting everyone's chosen striptease song. Pockets of people who had just met an hour ago were laughing over new inside jokes. I thought back to the first time I had found myself at this exact location. Back then my best friend was going through a breakup. We blasted Tyler, The Creator to mend her feelings with music and covered our tongues with whiskey. Now, years later, she was in a happier relationship and I didn't know it yet but in an hour a woman was going to walk through the door and I was going to fall in love with her. Sometimes the hard thing is easier than we think.