It started out as just a normal night out with two of my girlfriends. During Miami’s infamous Art Basel Week we decided to go to a special event being hosted at an art gallery in Wynwood, Miami’s Midtown art district. The event showcased a talented lineup of artists’ work, the spotlight of which was a Burning Man exhibit that featured colorful, LED-lit art installations that were interactive.

After taking a walk around the gallery and even wandering through the color-changing LED plastic tube tentacles of a giant, hanging jellyfish, me and my girls made a bee-line for our first drinks to the bar, which was serving free cocktails until midnight.

Luckily there was no line, and one of my friends knew a bartender there who came out from behind the bar to give her a hug. Then she went back behind the bar and proceeded to make drinks for us. After receiving a gin and tonic, I thanked her with a $1 bill and we escorted ourselves back to the gallery floor.

The crowd was generally semi-artsy looking people, mainly folks who wished they were hipsters, trying to blend into their not-so-usual surroundings.

Camo jackets, crop tops, and fake eyeglasses abounded. The music was bumping, but nobody was dancing, and I was the only black girl for miles so you know I had to keep my instincts in check.

Now, one drink felt good, but I can really hold my liquor so after talking for a bit about a few of our favorite paintings, I suggested we grab another before the open bar closed. My girls agreed so after grabbing drink number two we went back to our spot by a pair of LED-lit golf carts that had been transformed as part of the Burning Man exhibit into giant psychedelic ladybugs.

We had sat on them earlier, taking selfies and even attracting the attention of the professional photographers from the gallery who took some shots of us as well, probably thinking my afro looked rather well-placed there. We stood up from the carts and let another group take some photos.

As we were talking a few feet away, I noticed that the group of people who had replaced us in the cart was, unlike the wannabees in the gallery, successfully executing the hipster vibe. One girl had body art painted on her legs, ripped jean shorts and messy blond hair that was shaven on one side.

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The other girl had a high ponytail braid off to one side that was as long as her waist, and a 90’s style black lace ribbon choker. The guy that accompanied them was dressed modestly, nothing showy, with wavy long hair and glasses.

The group looked like all they were missing was a tall black chick with an afro, and I was intent on filling that void. Seeing an opportunity for some good conversation and thoroughly bored at this point, I told my girls to hold the drink I had only half-finished while I quickly said hello to this group.

I enthusiastically approached them, making a comment about their eclectic look and how I needed a picture with them. They cheerfully laughed, making room in the cart for me to join them. The girl with the ponytail braid smiled and offered me an extra drink they had kept in the cart, handing it to me.

I got Roofied at an Art Gallery

I was taken aback by their friendliness and started a conversation with her, and she quickly introduced me to the guy seated between us as her boyfriend. The two of them made a joke about having a threesome, which was surrounded by so much laughter and winking that I couldn’t possibly have taken it seriously.

I took a sip of the drink, which was not really my style—very plain—it tasted almost like water. I asked them what it was and she responded “tequila and soda”, which led to a conversation about how she was from Columbia and that was a very common drink.

After about two minutes of conversation and sharing that her boyfriend was from Russia, she withdrew to her phone and the blonde got up and walked away. Her boyfriend and I became engrossed in conversation about film, finding common ground in this subject since he told me he was a director and I expressed my interest in acting. I kept looking to his girlfriend to join in but she got a phone call and walked away instead.At this point one of my girlfriends came over to the cart and told me she was going to walk our other friend back to her car, which was parked a few blocks away from the gallery.

Anticipating that they were both bored and wanted to ditch the scene I made her promise not to leave me there. She promised she would come back as soon as she dropped her off and they left. Sipping on our drinks coolly, her boyfriend and I spoke at length for about fifteen minutes before my head started to feel foggy.

It was strange because I had only drank about half the cup, rounding me out at about two drinks total for the night. I put down the drink, telling him that I was suddenly feeling really hot and he asked me to describe how I felt, reaching out to me as I stood up from the cart.

I thought it was strange that he asked me to describe how I felt rather than expressing concern, but as I stood up, I was hit with a weight of drunken stupor unlike I have ever experienced in my life, and I have been wasted plenty of times before.

I was nearly unable to walk, something I have never experienced in all my drunken adventures, and as the room spun around me, I panicked, immediately recognizing that something terrible was happening to my body. I wanted to get as far away from him as possible so I made my way outside the gallery, grasping the building for support and walked around the corner where, if he came looking for me he would not see me.

Instinct told me to remain out of sight and as I was gripped with overwhelming nausea, rather than keep myself together, I forced myself to vomit, thinking I would feel better. As I threw up, I held a fence for dear life and alarmingly noticed that I did not feel better, as is normally the case after drinking a bit too much.

It was at this point that I called my friend to tell her what was happening. I explained the situation to the best of my ability, begging her to please hurry. I felt like I was going to die: My head was pounding, my speech slurring, my vision spinning, and my body weakening to the point where it was difficult to stand.

As I got off the phone I kept vomiting, and as I weakened, I could hear my friend’s voice screaming my name. I called out to her and when she found me she was shocked.

She had never seen me like this in all of the nights we had gone out together, including a ladies’ night when we had downed almost ten free drinks together side by side. She knew I had only had a couple drinks. Calling an uber, she helped walk me to the car.

I still did not feel any better and she explained the situation to the uber driver, telling him that he might have to pull over if I needed to throw up at any point. Rather than react in disgust, the driver was very compassionate and offered me a gallon of water he had in his car. He asked if I needed to go to the hospital, but I did not have health insurance, so that was not an option.

As I downed nearly half the gallon of water, I felt the need to vomit again and the driver pulled over on an empty street in Wynwood. Rushing out of the vehicle I threw up nearly every drop of water I had just drank. I began crying and the driver got out of the car and asked if he could pray over me.

I nodded and he held a hand over me and prayed for me, asking God to get whatever it was out of me, to keep me safe and return me to health that night. After a few minutes I finally began to feel better, and climbing back into the car, I lay down and slept until we got to my apartment.

My friend stayed with me that night and in the morning, we rehashed the events with clearer heads. She told me that when she got back to the gallery, she saw the girl with the ponytail braid come outside and she appeared to be looking for someone. Was she looking for me?

Suddenly the couples’ joke I had brushed aside about a threesome came back to me like some twisted clue. I know they say never to take drinks from strangers, but I would never have thought that a girl, who was sitting next to her boyfriend, in an art gallery, would attempt to roofie me.

Thank God I was not on prescription drugs or antibiotics; these people did not even give a thought about the possible ramifications of their actions.

I have heard since about a girl who drugged other women, lured them into a bathroom when they started feeling unwell and then robbed them of all their possessions. I’m still unsure of what the motive was in my situation, but I know that I am lucky to be alive.

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