We stood crowded in front of the door late one night. Each of us having a bag in hand from the store around the corner. I could hear a TV going in one apartment across the hall, and music blasting from the parking lot below on the first floor as I knocked twice.
Balled up fist hovering over the wood before knocking one last time.
“They need to hurry up,” a voice muttered behind me in the cold. “It’s freezing out here.”
“Shhh,” I hissed, hoping they didn’t hear her.
The apartment hallway had one light that seemed to flicker on it's own with moths fluttering around it. There were four doors leading to four apartments. Two on each side of the hallway. All doors were a dark pine green except for the one we were knocking on that was painted over with black. Obvious by the green edges outlining the wood. Railing against the stairs overlooked the parking lot and other apartment buildings as the wind began to pick up. We huddled closer to the door as I pulled my sweater over my chin, tucking my head into my chest as I began to bounce on my knees.
Come on...Come on...I know yall are in there just making us wait.
“I don’t even know why I come here,” another voice on the other side of me said.
“Because we all need this, that’s why we come to this shit,” another answered just as loud laughter on the floor below us echoed in the hallway.
“Hell nah! Tell Keisha and em I’m bout’ ready! We coming through! We finna pull up!”
“Bruh man it's cold as hell outside though! Let’s go! I gotta make a stop somewhere! You know the club finna be packed. Money ain’t a thang tonight, you feel me!?”
“Where are they going?” One voice asked as I grabbed her arm to focus her back to the dark green door.
“It’s a distraction, don’t fall for it. Stay focus. You do this every time,” I snapped.
“I just want to know where they’re going is all,” sucking her teeth.
We remained quiet, hearing their feet, and bodies shuffle below us as car doors opened, and popped shut with bright headlights aiming below. Suddenly, the faulty light above us suddenly twitched off. Blinking a few times before going dark completely.
“Finally,” I muttered. It was a sign we were about to be let in shortly. There was no way to explain what was about to happen. Had to see it for yourself. Every Friday night in Atlanta, it always started like this. Never knew what we were getting ourselves into or how we even got to this point, but we knew never to miss a beat as I heard the door click from the lock. We huddled together as the door opened, hearing music and smelling a faint scent of weed trailing from the house as a dark skin woman with thick locs the width of an arm stood before us wearing a black t-shirt, and black shorts. Feet bare, hands decorated in rings, she looked each of us over with her slanted cat like eyes.
“State your purpose,” she spoke.
I cleared my throat as we spoke in unison.
“Our purpose is to release, heal, and learn as a black woman in America.”
She stared each of us in the eyes as the laughter, and sounds of glasses clinking together slipped out from behind her. We couldn’t see beyond her, but we knew what awaited us...For the most part anyway.
“Question,” she started, glancing at our feet as her cat like eyes slowly trailed up our bodies. “What are you?”
“We are black women,” we stated in unison. Her brow shot up.
“Only?” She asked.
“We do not recognize any other color but our own.”
She smiled. She loved hearing lowkey racist things like that.
“Who is our number one enemy?” Glancing back at the ruckus behind her with a smirk before looking back at us.
“Anybody against us. Anybody in our way.”
“Who ain’t shit?”
“Niggas,” we spoke as she smiled slowly with a single blink.
“Beautiful, strong, intelligent, lit, and magic. We are the be all to end all. We are the mothers of this earth. We are the culture. The most hated, most disrespected, most imitated, and above all? We are what they could never be, unlike any other walking this earth.”
“That’s right! Yall better say that shit!” A voice from inside yelled as I tried to hold in my laughter.
“Do you believe in magic?” The woman asked, standing up straight as our hearts began to race with anticipation.
“Yes?” She repeated. “Have you seen it?”
“With our own eyes,” we said together. There was a flicker, a spark gloss over her eyes, showing that hint of magic that I’ve seen her do before she nodded, leaning against the door once more as she picked at her nails.
“My only rule?”
“Believe in only what you hear or see tonight, but never repeat it twice.”
She flicked a piece of dirt from her nails before stretching her fingers out as her eyes pulled towards us.
“What yall tryna get into?”
“Sheeeeit,” we sang as she laughed.
“Shoes off ladies. Welcome to another Friday night in Atlanta,” she said, stepping aside with her arm stretched out, inviting us in.