Saturday January 9th, 2016 will mark the best day of my life. There I was, trying to forgetall the crap that happened with “Prince Player”- one of my favorite people at college. The fact we won’t be going out to celebrate my birthday, and no more Valentine’s day either 😦 And then there I was, celebrating mine and “Heart’s” two year anniversary- solo. He probably doesn’t care for Valentine’s day either </3
But I had decided early that day, that my friends worked hard to plan whatever birthday celebration they have for me so I’m going to look my best and smile my big smile all night long. As Mr. Photography dude and I continued talking, our friend Mariam shows up. I open the door.
“Damn mami! You look amazing!” she says as she walks in.
I pull her in for a hug and laugh. “Stop habibti. Look who’s talking!” I tell her as we kiss each other’s cheeks.
“I can totally see Shahz being a MILF one day” Mr. Photography dude says getting in between us.
My jaw drops. Mariam laughs and kisses his cheeks as well, “I mean. She does get hotter every year”.
I smile. Same thing “Heart” said… I shake my head. “You guys, we’re all hot. Come on Mariam, I was just finishing up my make-up” I say.
Mariam follows me to my bathroom and helps me do my make-up. We get the call our friend Kameron is here to pick us up and we need more time so we send Mr. Photography dude to distract him.
I help Mariam as well and we laugh hysterically as Kameron keeps calling us to rush as we have a reservation. When we’re finally ready, we step outside to walk to Kameron’s car. Kameron’s car is on the other side of the street. Holy crap. It is 10 degrees in Chicago, streets covered in snow. I am in a mini dress and 4 inch heels :0
“Wallah you want me to carry you?” Mr. Photography dude asks tossing his cigarette. I give Mariam a look.
He picks me up. My dress is blowing in the wind and I’m pretty sure everyone can see my Victoria’s Secret…um…stuff.
Mariam and I start laughing uncontrollably. “Ahhh! Ahhhh! Oh my god put me down put me down!” I say laughing and screaming at the same time. He puts me down.
“Okay, easy now” he says as he hold one hand and Mariam hold my other hand as I literally jump off the sidewalk over all the snow clumps.
Phew. That went successfully. And then we have to cross the street. “Ahhhhh” I moan cold and uncomfortable in my heels.
“Yalla siti!” Mariam says as we run across the street. I start laughing even more. Siti means “Grandma” in Arabic 😉
When we are done with that shenanigans, Kameron opens the car door for me and tells me that it’s okay I took forever to get ready because I look good ❤ Aw.
“This is what I go through like every week when I try to take her somewhere” Mr. Photography dude says. Hahahaha so funny. We all laugh and blast the radio 🙂 Random songs like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” play and Mr. Photography dude says it’s probably a sign and I should listen. Haha.
Soon, we arrive at the venue. My jaw drops. I couldn’t believe it. “Oh my god! This is the place you guys???” We have arrived at the largest Arabic entertainment club/restaurant in Chicago! ***I can’t say the name for privacy issues but let’s just say it has the word “palace” in it. They had told me they were taking me somewhere where I will have to belly dance, but they didn’t tell me it was this! I have always dreamed of going here! My friends surprised me ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
We give the car to the friendly vallet and we enter. Instantly the sound of Arabic music and the smell of hookah hit us. We sit down and mingle as we wait for our other friends. We have started ordering mojitos when our friends Sherry and Kali have joined. Sherry has brought a guy friend, Azher, for Mr. Photography dude and Kameron to mingle with.
She kisses me on both cheeks when she comes to our table. “You remember Kali. And this is my friend Azher” she says introducing me a cute Pakistani boy.
“Hey, happy birthday” he says smiling and hugging me.
Mr. Photography dude gives me a look. I pinch him. “Thank you so much. I appreciate you coming!” I say. At this place, you have to spend at least $40 and goodness- I would never go there for any random person’s birthday. I start to wonder if Sherry is setting me up :0 I shake it off, he isn’t a bad looking guy.
Our mojitos arrive and we begin to order food. As we wait for the food, I am surprised to learn that Sherry, Kameron, and Mariam have gotten me gifts! I had told them I didn’t need anything…But Sherry and Kameron give me a beautiful Tommy Hilfiger purse ❤ And Mr. Photography dude and Mariam gives me a purple belly dance scarf that goes oh so beautifully with my dress!
I couldn’t believe it. So much love from my friends. I have been missing this the two months I have been away in Texas. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, the performances begin!
There is a belly dancer, Arabic drums and guitar, dabke (traditional Palestinian dance), and an Arabic singer. When the Arabic singer performs, Mariam says it’s time for me to belly dance :0 Holy moly, there was like a 100 people there. “No way” I say. But…she drags me onto the stage and claps for me. Well now I have no choice. I start shaking what my mama gave me! I could feels everybody’s eyes on my hips. The singer looks at me and smiles as he continues singing. And ah. All the nerves float away. I am in pure bliss ❤ I see “Mr. Photography dude”, Kameron, and Sherry recording. Oh goodness.
Soon the singer stops singing and it is back to his band playing the drums and guitar (which by the way was AMAZING but my hips were too tired :0) so I sit back down.
“Everyone was looking at you move Shahz” Mr. Photography dude says.
“I know” I say.
“Including him…” he says eyeing Azher.
Oh brother :0 “Shut up, you guys made me!” I say.
“And damn I am so proud of you for it” Mariam says.
Soon we go back to the dancefloor when the singer comes back. I dance with everybody and when my legs get sore, I go to sit for a while. It’s just Azher there.
He smiles at me and walks over to sit next to me. “This is the perfect place for a (insert my full name that means PRINCESS here) isn’t it?”
My eyes light up. What. He pronounces my full name in the beautiful Arabic way and what it means ❤ And oh, the way he asked me ❤ I laugh to myself, “It definitely is” I say.
“I know right? This palace is perfect for her” Mr. Photography dude comes up from behind us.
Oh my god. “Come back and dance guys!” he says. And so we get up.
Mr. Photography dude grabs me, “Dance with him Shahz”.
My jaw drops. “NOOOOOO” I say.
“I dare you. You dared me to dance dabke with that one chick, now you dance with him!” I roll my eyes.
But then, one of our favorite Daddy Yankee song’s “Sigueme y Te Sigo” start playing. My jaw drops and I look at him. “It’s a sign!” he says. Sigueme y te sigo, it means…follow me and I’ll follow you ❤ So as each of my friends dance with each other, I dance for Azher. And damn, he dances back! Azher has moves! When the music goes back to belly dance songs, he claps as I shimmy and do my hip swings. All my friends do ❤
And then, we are done. I say bye to Azher, Sherry, and Kali. Mr. Photography dude keeps telling me to get Azher’s number but I ignore him. Mariam, Kameron, Mr. Photography dude and I climb into Kameron’s car. We drop him off first. When I get out to tell him goodbye, he says for the billionth time- “Happy birthday, princess.” And then, “Happy birthday for real this time. You have a hickey, flashed your underwear to many people, and danced in front of a huge crowd- I hope you really feel 22 this time! We’ve been celebrating you since last month. I hope you realize now that just because one guy doesn’t love you, doesn’t mean no one else does”he says kissing my cheek.
I smile. He is absolutely right. As Kameron, Mariam, and I drive away, “22” starts playing. And oh my goodness, every word feels like it was written about that day ❤
After Kameron drops me off, I walk into my apartment building in my mini dress and bellydance skirt- jingling as I walk…everyone staring…but I don’t even care because-
“It seems like one of those nights,
we ditch the whole scene and end up dreaming
instead of sleeping”- Taylor Swift, 22
For once that week, the first week of the new year- the first week back at school, I woke up the next morning without tears in my eyes and and a smile on my face 🙂 I have the most wonderful friends ❤