The Best Time I Hooked Up With Someone Because I Cut My Foot
by Naomi Ekperigin
On December 31, 2009 I’m three months into a working holiday in Sydney, Australia, and am finally starting to feel comfortable in the heart of Caucasia: I have a group of friends, a cute apartment, and I’ve finally gotten used to strangers touching my skin and hair, and asking me if I’m Sudanese.
New Year’s Eve starts out pretty tame, as I head to North Sydney with some friends to a BBQ/pool party hosted by a brilliant gay man who knows the key to a good time: booze, booze, sausages, and potato salad. Around 10 p.m., I decide I want to see the fireworks in the city. After all, I’m 26, on the other side of the world on my own, and about to start a new year. As the editors of ladies’ magazines say: I’m worth it!
Shortly after midnight I receive a textual eruption from a Swedish chap I’d met a few days before at the bar I worked at — let’s call him Sven. We’d gone to the zoo a few days earlier, and although he was dull as dish water, he was cute and burly (imagine a really hot human version of a Lego man) and had worked up such a deep tan that you couldn’t even consider our dating interracial. He was at a friend’s place nearby and did I want to meet up with them?Sure, why not. But as I walk through the massive crowd in his direction, I bump into someone and hear a glass bottle hit the ground. I look down and see that there’s blood on top of my foot. Normally the appearance of blood would make me take a moment, but the idea I could be hurt was so far-fetched I didn’t give it a second thought. And at first I thought maybe it wasn’t even blood because it was so red and bright it looked fake. Who just drooled a Jolly Rancher all over me? I think as I push through the drunken multitude (imagine Times Square, only warm, and without open-container laws). As the red pool grows larger, though, I realize it’s blood but think it might be someone else’s (natch). You know how it can get when guys start drunk wrestling, and even though they’re supposed to be friends, it gets awkwardly intense and the next thing you know, the authorities have to be called? Right?
I wasn’t drunk, I swear.
So I’m walking through the New Year’s Eve crowd in Australia by myself, and can’t get through to anyone on my cell phone, because everyone’s calling their folks and baby mamas, saying “happy new year, I swear I’ll never cheat on you again” and stuff, and blood is flowing out of my foot like the levees broke. There’s no way I can catch a cab home, and with all the hemorrhaging, I figure I shouldn’t be alone. I have no choice but to call Sven, the only person I know close by, and ask him to meet me. I tell him to meet me outside of the Burberry store (gotta keep it classy, even in times of distress). As I’m waiting, I’m bleeding all over the sidewalk, and people stop to ask me if I’m OK. Not being sober or actually feeling pain from the cut, I’m weirdly calm, and assure them I’ll be all right. Meanwhile, crowds of people are walking by, totally grossed out and confused by the combination of factors: a young black woman leaning against the wall of an upscale retailer in a two-toned mini dress, sighing and muttering to herself, much in the manner of a weary prostitute, as blood pools at her feet. I looked like I was based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire.
After about 10 minutes two African guys come by, and our rainbow connection bonds us instantly. One guy is allegedly a doctor, so he takes out some disinfectant wipes (at least, I think/hope they were) and starts applying pressure to the wound. Obviously homie is a doctor without a border, because he tells me to sit on the ground and elevate my foot to slow the bleeding. “I can’t sit on the sidewalk in this dress!!!” I protest as they lower me down and I try to hold on to my purse and my cooch. After all, I’m wearing American Apparel.
An ambulance arrives shortly thereafter, and the next thing you know I’m in the back getting bandaged by a medic who doesn’t look a day over 20. He tells me that he hates blood.
Just then, Sven the Swede comes over to the ambulance window. I’m done being bandaged, hop out, and the Swede lets me lean on his burly arm as we walk back to his friend’s place.
It’s amazing how a day at the zoo can create such a false intimacy. I don’t know this Swedish meatball from a hole in the wall, but he helped me find the kangaroos and pointed out an elephant’s boner, so I considered him “safe.” I think I was so grateful to have someone around during my time of distress that I forgot about him telling me how much he likes black women.
Sven and I flirt on the couch as I elevate my foot. I drink some whiskey to ease the pain, and at around 3 a.m. everyone heads off to another party. Sven, who was off to Adelaide the next day, says he didn’t want to go. I’m oddly relaxed (thanks, Jameson!), and figure I’ll stay.
We sit on the couch flipping channels, finally settling on a Sex and the City marathon. We’re making fun of the show, I’m telling about New York City (“there’s no way a cab would come that quickly, I don’t care if she’s storming off dramatically”). He puts his hand on my leg and holds my hand while we watch. The combination is as deadly as the infection that’s setting in my foot. Ugh, SATC, how you mess with my mind, making me feel all empowered and delusional and sexy.
Next thing you know, Sven kisses me (right after he says something about how Charlotte isn’t his favorite character) and we’re making out on the couch like two boy scouts at camp after lights out. I’m sitting on his lap and he rises with me in his arms, Danielle Steele style, y’all! He carries me into his bedroom and — well… you know how babies are made…
He’s heading off the next day, and I start to mildly panic around 10:30 a.m. Should I just leave before he wakes up, and call it a day? Unfortunately, I get up and discover I can’t put any pressure on my foot, which makes a stealthy getaway impossible.
So when his friend asks if I want to go to lunch with them, I say yes. I mean, his friend has had his P in my V — certainly we can grab a turkey wrap like two grown-ass adults.
Apparently, no. As we eat, Sven acts like he doesn’t know me. He manages to say all of 11 words to me the entire meal: “pass the ketchup” and “I think this bus will take you home.” As I limp on the bus I can’t help but wonder if 2009 will be the Year of Hot Ass Mess.
Turns out my anxiety was well placed: I came back to NYC six months later — four months into what would turn out to be a year-long celibacy streak. I didn’t get a job until the following December, and I got bedbugs. Oh yeah, and as for my foot: the glass cut some tendons, I couldn’t move my toes for months, and it got infected. But even broke and busted, I knew how to ensnare a foreign man — and you know they’ll do anything for a green card.
Soujourner is a writer, comedian, and blacktress in New York City. She used to drink to feel pretty, but has decided to follow her dreams instead. You can find her doing stand up in some of the city’s most dimly lit venues.