42. A HEALTH-Y Benefit

HEALTH for Youths hosted its annual benefit at Tribeca Grill Tuesday, and I had been on the fence about attending for a week leading up to the event due to my still uncertain h.e.a.l.t.h. The night before, shortly before midnight, the decision had been made for me.

The founder, Heather, had decided to send me a free ticket as a thank you for helping with their publicity efforts when I mentioned that I might not make it – possibly because I still look to be a college student and thus unable to afford the $90 entrance fee. I was feeling pretty terrible the next night, but I strapped on my geisha heels and a black skirt covered in matte sequins and hailed a cab downtown anyway.

The banquet hall was packed, and I milled uncertainly around, unable to take advantage of the open bar for what was possibly the first time in my adult life. I lingered at one cocktail table too long, inadvertently inviting conversation from a middle-aged man with a comb over. He apparently wasn’t feeling too charitable himself, keeping up the feeble flow of conversation so long I had to ditch any attempt at a graceful exit and make a beeline for the salmon tray.

By all accounts, the turnout was a spectacular improvement over the previous year. I was genuinely happy for Heather and what she had accomplished in such a short time, but I could feel the fever rising in the sockets of my eyes. On my way out the door, I caught her elbow and offered what I hoped was a heartfelt goodbye, wishing that I could have just spent the whole evening talking with her instead of pretending to mingle.

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