Good girls know they will not find the man of their dreams in a club. And so they bring home their nightmares. No matter what their mama teaches them or their daddy warns them away from on pain of death, at some point in their single-and-seeking days they find themselves under the flashing lights dancing dirty on the drink splattered floor of the Meat Market.
This girl was no exception. There were nights I came home flush faced and seventeen with echoes of shouted sweet nothings replaying in my head. And then there was the night I met, after several years, the love of my
highschool life and brought him home a few days later to meet my mom. He was beautiful and troubled and I was determined to save his life. A year later we were tired and bruised and parted with sweet sorrow over differences we both wished we could overcome. Differences we wished we had been able to communicate over the noise of the club. And that was one of the happy endings.
There are girls in my generation who went home pregnant on one of those nights. Others still went home black-eyed and battered. But every single one of us came home on at least one night with a broken heart.
Last night we revisited some of the local meat markets. They all looked the same as I window shopped with no intention of buying. Two friends of mine turned 30 and because of this the crowd was more mature than usual – none of us are frequent visitors anymore. Looking out from the safety of their company I struggled with a mix of sadness, relief and the memory of my young bashful self. As it has been for years, the place is filled wall to wall with beautiful bodies just bursting out of their teens and single men of a certain age who no one in their generation have deemed fit to take home and domesticate. The two levels rock with insecurity and awkwardness not yet rubbed off the newly minted adulthood and predatory lust lurking behind still, practiced eyes. In market terms, there is the healthy red gleam of fresh clean cuts intermingled with the greying edges of reeking old meat gone bad.
It made me glad to get old! To no longer be unwitting prey. To be over the battle of accepting who I am. Yes, I am in a battle with a body that needs to fit into a Trinidad Carnival costume by next February, but I have won the war with loving myself.
I came away excited to be off the market – top shelf and not for sale. My night is not defined by a gaze held across a pulsing room. The life I lead does not follow the path of the frustrated from date to date seeking personal purpose in a meaningful relationship.
Another thing I came upon was a strong desire to quit drinking. Why numb senses that are designed to enjoy music and disciplined enough to avoid harmful encounters? I am so much fun and so very brave without it! My budget would look great and so would my body. I am going to work on that… perhaps a new resolution. After the wedding party tonight. Another trip to window shop in the Meat Market.