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It was my birthday, my nineteenth birthday, and I was in the bar of one of the Art Deco hotels on the beach when I met her. They were always using this hotel on Miami Vice, although they were careful to take tight shots of the pink front and not show the bums and junkies down the street, not until later in the episode, so it seemed like they were miles away, in another Miami.
The bar was beautiful—exquisite, that's the word that came to me—black and white and chrome. It was an upscale, laundered money kind of place, and I felt odd there, like I was in a movie, although I didn't know which one. I was with this guy, Roberto, who I met at Timmons College when I thought I'd made it out of Miami, had my ticket to the real America.
But I'd left Timmons after just one semester and gone back to working as a bellboy at the same hotel, the Royale Palms, where my mom and I used to live, where I'd worked in high school, a big '50s not '30s kind of place, not too far from the Fontainebleau but not nearly as nice. It was Roberto who went on with pre-law, building his grades, his sights on Harvard Law, while I got moved up from bellboy to parking attendant.