Even though I love being around the wonderful people of Hawaii, New York City will always be home. Deep down, I couldn’t trade the diversity and resiliency of the city for a life on an exotic island. The city of New York be running through my veins, and I can’t get enough of it. I loved this place!
Inside the Park Avenue townhouse, I was sitting on the couch clad in a white Diplomats T-shirt and matching baseball cap watching I Want a Famous Face on MTV. As I consumed my bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel, I could not believe the extreme some folks go through to look like their favorite celebrities such as Carmen Electra, Pamela Andersen, and Jessica Simpson. I was also thinking about Hawaii, which put a smile on my face.
Then Lotus entered the living room dressed in a gray wife-beater and blue denim jeans. She was all smiles as she sat down.
“Good morning, girl!” I said to her. “You look very happy today!”
“Four o’clock.” I answered.
Minutes later, Bonny strolled inside the townhouse singing Lil’ Flip’s “Sunshine”. Her sweaty body looked nice in her black sports bra and matching running boyshorts as she stood there with a bottled spring water in her right hand.
“What’s up?” She happily exclaimed. “It is nice out! What are y’all watching?”
“I Want a Famous Face.” I told her. “This show is sick!”
“Yes, girls going under the knife to look like their favorite celebrity.” Lotus commented.
“That is bad case of low self-esteem!” I murmured.
“It sure is.” Bonny replied. “Well, I’m going to go and take a shower.”
“Great idea, I can smell that sweat all the way over here.” I jested.
Bonny laughed. “Shut up!”
Hours later, the rest of the housemates arrived with a big bucket of Popeye’s chicken and biscuits for all of us to share. The aroma of the hot nourishment filled the room. We didn’t waste anytime devouring the hot spicy fried chicken, butter biscuits, and Cajun Fries.
“You have to see the throwbacks I added to the video.” Joquim said excitedly. “You are going to be surprise!”
“Yes, he went to his vault and dug up some exclusives.” Sonny continued. “Some of the photos I don’t even remember taking. He even has our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Regal on there!”
“Wow, Mrs. Regal was crazy!” I chuckled. “I think she was a fitness trainer before she became a school teacher. We joked that she was married to the Ultimate Warrior!”
When the faculty of P.S. 9, the sponsors from classmates, and George showed up to the townhouse, we were excited. The place was beyond spotless and smelled like a refreshing summer breeze. We surprised them with the best-catered soul food in New York City. Our objective was to make sure their visit was a great one.
“How was the trip? Did everyone have a great time in Hawaii?” George asked.
We all spoke at the same time, which triggered everybody to laugh. We had so much to say about the trip that we were so animated about it. George, the faculty, and the sponsors were deeply impressed on what we had to say and could tell the trip was a good thing for us.
Finally, Joquim played the digital tape of our reunion. He surprised me with Paul Simon’s “Ten Years” song playing in the background. Oprah Winfrey utilized the same song for the tenth anniversary of her show. Some of the archival footage was our class play, senior trip to the Statue of Liberty, and graduation. The fashion of 1994 was crazy! It was hilarious to see me in hockey jerseys and oversized clothes. Joquim captured us when we first moved in the townhouse, the visit to Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Hawaii trip. The tape concluded with us in Hawaii expressing how the reunion changed us on the night we celebrated Lotus’ birthday. It was very emotional watching the tape. A tear rolled down my face, but I quickly wiped it away before somebody notice.
“I think I speak for my friends and me by saying thank you for putting all this together. This is something truly special and I’m just happy that my name was selected to experience this.” I spoke. “I’m so grateful.”
“I’m happy to hear that you all shared a fun experience that was worthwhile because P.S. 9 and classmates.com put a lot of effort to make this experience special for you guys.” George continued. “I’m also happy that you took good care of my home.”
We all laughed.
Later on that evening, we went to the AMC Loews cinema on West 34th Street to see the newly released Spider-Man 2 and White Chicks. It was the perfect way to conclude such as marvelous day.
It was our last full day staying in the townhouse. We were going through so much anxiety and mixed emotions. Most of us were ready to move out and continue enjoying our summer with loved ones and friends. I already packed most of my things instead of waiting until the last minute.
“Are you ready to move out of here?” I asked Bonny.
“Yes, I’m ready to go back to my regular life.” Bonny answered. “I miss my bedroom and bed. It is such a great feeling waking up in your own place.”
“Whatever. We could do anything. I think George is supposed to come over. Let’s wait around until he comes and then we’ll decide.” I suggested.
George surprised us and said we were going to fly over New York in his personal helicopter. It was déjà vu. First, a helicopter ride over Hawaii, and now a helicopter ride above New York City. We were all thrilled about the news that we rushed to get ready.
In the helicopter, high above the city, the view was magnificent. Seeing Central Park, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty were breathtaking! Besides the trip to Hawaii, I think this was my favorite moment of this whole reunion.
“This is amazing!” Bonnie said excitedly.
“I’m feeling you on that, playboy.” I said.
The sun was setting leaving reddish-gold streaks above the city. We had a barbecue on the roof of the townhouse. Kanye West’s The College Dropout album serenaded us. Joquim hooked it up on the grill. The ribs, chicken, and fish he cooked were slamming! Sonny and I had a water fight with Bonnie and Yesinia. We had so much fun and almost wet everything in sight. Christopher and Lotus were dancing, while Shakerah was going snapping pictures of us with her digital camera. Everyone was letting loose because we didn’t had that much time left.
As party, we popped champagne bottles and went around hugging each other. Bonnie and I kissed, and started dancing to “Through the Wire”. Without a doubt, this was the best barbecue of my life.
Well, the day had finally arrived for us to move out the townhouse. We packed our bags while listening to Hot 97. It really began to sink it that this might be the last time we see each other in life.
Sonny and I had a big laugh reminiscing on the wild experience we shared together. In a strange way we both felt like this was the last day of school again because of the emotions that built up.
“Well, homie, this is it.” I continued. “No more living in this Park Avenue townhouse feeling like millionaires and having a ball!”
“Good things must come to an end.” Sonny said softly. “That’s the bad thing about life. Do you know what you’re going to do after this?”
“Probably go to grad school.” I answered. “It’s not too late to register for classes in Hunter. Also, Bonny and I were talking about living together soon.”
“It’s amazing how you turned out, playboy!” Sonny smiled. “You were really never the school type and look at you! You already have your Bachelor’s degree and now you are about to study for your Master’s. I bet most of the people from our senior year already dropped out of college.”
“You know, since elementary I’ve been proving people wrong about me. I a few telling me that I wasn’t going to be shit in life. Look at me now, a college graduate with a 4.0 GPA and living in a house in New Jersey. I accomplished so much at an early age, and I’m still not done.”
“You’re crazy.” Sonny laughed. “The truth is Murphy; you will always be the man.”
After packing, everybody piled up in the living room to take some last pictures. Some of us felt sad that our reunion was ending. The most important thing was that we shared a wonderful experience together and developed a strong bond.
Little by little, we were departing starting with Christopher. Then it was Shakerah, Joquim, Sonny, Yesinia, and Lotus. Each person that left brought tears to my eyes and it felt like a piece of me left with them. Bonny and I were the only two people left in the townhouse. It was as quiet inside as if we were in a church praying, as we sat close to each other.
“Look like it’s just the two of us, baby girl!” I said.
Bonny smiled, and put her arms around me. “Yeah, it’s just me and you.”
“I’m glad that I not only got the chance to know you better, but was able to share this wild ride with you, Bonny. You really are a wonderful girl!”
Bonny kissed me and said, “I’m happy we did hook up. Without you, I don’t think this experience would have been so memorable. You will always have a special place in my heart. I love you!”
“I love you, too!”
Bonnie’s father finally came, and I walked outside with her. After helping Bonny with her luggage, we hugged, and kissed. Then I stood there and watched Bonny drive off down the block. Now all my friends were gone.
This was more than a reunion. This was our reunion-explosion that turned into a life-changer!
By Shamarie Knight, 13th Nov 2004