It's after 2 a.m. and I just returned from a night on the town, which included a 4th year drama production followed by cheese and wine at The Juilliard School. My best friend Tokii is the lead role in Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel, a play set in the early 1990s, about a talented African-American designer and seamstress who is challenged by the sexual taboos of her time.
I don't know what it is about curtain calls at The Juilliard School, but every time I've seen Tokii take a bow after a production in New York City, I find myself slightly teary-eyed and moderately embarrassed. Pride, I guess. But it's history, too. I know how far she's come from small university productions in Western North Carolina to the bright lights of a renowned Juilliard stage in NYC.
After the play, we had wine and cheese in a dance studio while the actors schmoozed with some of the school's donors. While Tokii was chatting with several patrons, I joined two of her male classmates at a small table. Though I've met both of them, one attempted to introduce me to the other, to which came the reply of the latter, "Of course, I know her. Everyone knows that's Tokii's heart."
The other said to me, "I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but Tokii thinks and speaks so highly of you. She tells us all the time how you just up and moved to New York and landed right on your feet, got a great job, an apartment and fit right into this city. Not an easy thing to do."
"I've just been incredibly lucky," I said.
A friend who is visiting from North Carolina and attended the play with me tonight cut in: "Sometimes you make your own luck."
It made me think back to a brief conversation I had with my new boss a few months ago when I was still a temp and she invited me to apply for a permanent position. She had said, "I don't know why New York just works really well for some people and others just can't catch a break."
Maybe I've made my own luck, but I honestly don't know how I did it. I'll just continue hoping it doesn't run out.