Negative one hundred and seventy two dollars was the approximate “amount” in my bank account. A haunted apartment in West Harlem led me to a psychic gypsy in the East Village. Biblical warnings kept me away from those types, deemed demonic and unsavory, but I was desperate and scared. Ignoring the paranormal events taking place wasn’t working anymore. Hoping she’d shed some light on wtf I was, I went, my last resort. Psychic Shanna didn’t have a doorknob, you could see straight into her home. She feared no one for a reason. I didn’t know that then, but boy was I about to learn. Once I rendered her services no longer necessary, she placed an evil eye on me. I went from having my own apartment, a well paying job and an internship with artist Maxi Cohen, on the brink of becoming a full time gig, to couch surfing, losing everything down to my cat. The epitome of living on a prayer.
Getting a job became impossible. Thanks to her evil eye only scams came in, one I fell for which is how I ended up owing the bank. I needed money ASAP Rocky and escorting was not an option, I mean it was, but I’m not that type of girl. Serving was my only hope, a path I avoided for two reasons 1) the money was fast, consistent and addictive, I didn’t want to get comfortable 2) there are no margins of error, a simple mistake and someone could DIE; do you realize the weight of waiters? Hello allergies. Also between school and interning, back of house experience was all I had time for before. How hard could the transition be with Danny Meyer on my resume though?
Try super hard and not in the fun way. Without two years NYC serving experience I was met with constant rejection. Miss Lily’s, a tony Caribbean restaurant in Soho, was the only place that took a chance on me. Being hot was their main criteria, they’d teach me everything else.
By the skin of my teeth is how I finished training, there was so much turmoil occurring in my life I wasn’t focused (plus I called out to attend Kylie Jenner’s Galore Magazine party, priorities). Before my final training, the general manager, Krystyna, informed me this was my last shot. Out of my trainers six tables, I was given three to take as my own. Everything was riding on this. Truth be told no one believed I’d make it, just another pretty face on her way to getting cut. Couldn’t open a bottle of wine to save my life at the time, but Jaquana brought in the most tip money that night, by a landslide. We stood in a circle filling out the tip sheet, each of us announcing our earnings. I went last, when I spoke there was silence. Surpassing my trainer by nearly $200 on a slow night might I add, he stared daggers at me. Everyone was astounded. Turns out I had a knack for selling without selling, my specialty was getting people drunk. My liquor sales were unparalleled, I went from working dead nights like Sunday’s and Monday’s, to money nights Thursday, Friday, Saturday. A HUGE deal at Miss Lily’s, there was definitely a hierarchy and favoritism. Money nights weren’t given to just anybody, which left a lot of senior staff who campaigned for years to work those shifts fuming. Emptying pockets was my thing, bringing in the most tip became my niche everywhere I went.
Miss Lily’s was the Studio 54 of restaurants. Answers to questions I ruminated on for ages were answered there. Would Mick Jagger be into me? Would Anna Wintour disapprove of my attire, or person in general? Our regulars were celebrities, supermodel Chanel Iman always sat in my section. Musician Vic Mensa got so use to my service he’d try to pay me even if he ordered from someone else. Like the time he ordered take out from the bar. Mensa searched for then spotted me, sliding his credit card into my hand wordlessly. Confused.
“Why are you giving me this?”
“Ahhh, because you always do it…” he responded equally puzzled.
“Well who did you order with?” He points to the bartender. I instruct him to give her the card. Mensa walks over, looking back at me every other step, like a child being dropped off to pre-school for the first time. I nod giving him reassurance throughout the whole transaction, you’ve got this kid, I believe in you. And it is me he thanks on his way out.
Countless famous patrons poured in, nearly everyday and when Chef Andre won Chopped twice it got bigger. FKA Twigs planned a beautiful birthday for Robert Pattinson, I was their server. Getting hit on also wasn’t unusual for me. I became desensitized, this was the norm. The only time I broke down was when Fabolous came in, he was so swagged out. Nessa, my work wife had to take my table while I cried in the vestibule. Really, out of everyone Fab? My peers ridiculed. For the rest of the night I just looked at him from different areas of the restaurant. Fan girl-ing was a big NO NO, which is why my interactions with Solange, Kelly Rowland and Naomi Campbell were beyond awkward, especially Solange. Mortified was an understatement.
The first time I met Genc Jakupi I had no idea who he was. Wiping down tables in the front I smelled the most alluring scent, searching for the source I found him checking me out on his way upstairs. I thought he was just a neighbor, but the owners lived above the restaurant. Mistakenly I believed this lovely elderly couple, my first friends were the owners, Feride & Agron. They were actually his parents. I found out who he was the night of a blood moon eclipse. There we were patrons and employees alike craning our necks for this most celestial event, when a voice behind us ask “Is anybody working?” The look of fear in my co-workers eyes, pure terror as they scrambled to get back inside. Genc, who had presented himself as nothing short of polite in our small interactions notices I notice. “Relax, relax it was a joke. I was joking,” he adds. Taking one for the team I allow Nessa and Mo to stay outside while I manned the place. Genc didn’t scare me, he made me nervous, but I felt safe with him.
“You’re going to get fired,” Nessa pleaded with me to serve Genc’s table, but I refused! Yes he was in my section, but he was also pretending one of the aerialist from The Box was his girlfriend. He’d been in there with a different woman every time I’d seen him and this one was being super rude to me. He was trying to make me jealous, but all it did was anger me. Nessa, who had the entirety of the front had to come to service his table. He watched irately as I delighted tables with laughter and stellar service. If he fired me he’d never see me again, so he didn’t. Genc’s love for me gave me power (I thought he was my twin flame, he wasn’t). My bosses would be chewing me out, as SOON as he entered they did a 180. It became that he didn’t even need to be there, no one was allowed to disrespect me. Ever. Infuriating his brother, who was left in charge of watching me when Genc moved indefinitely to Europe. His brother watched me like a hawk day and night, night and day. He had it out for me since NYE, when I got wasted on the clock and went to sleep in the front of the packed restaurant. I should have been fired, I didn’t even get a write up. However I was punished. Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years A Slave was one of my tables. They were heading to Future’s concert after party and I was invited. Didn’t get to go for obvious reasons.
Genc moved to Europe indefinitely pretty early in my employment at Miss Lily’s. We never had a conversation, a date, sex, anything, he was use to women throwing themselves at him. I wasn’t that type of woman. Psychic Shanna told me the man I marry takes initiative and ask me out. I keep meeting boys with different faces and this would be how I know I found a man. Genc wasn’t a man. All he did was stalk me and run off potential suitors. His brother ended up falling for me when I blacked out one night. That’s when everything took a turn. Via: Buzzfeed