Today, the heart beat of another soul suspended my own.
Connection and community are the elements of life that feed me.
And I can only call it Pride…
“What a Difference a Year Makes”, is what I named the Rivers of Honey post. Cause last year Pride, I remember feeling a whirlwind of emotion, too. Do you remember where you were last pride? The people you were walking with? The lovers you were greeting?
My current Pride story has yet to unravel, but here’s my Pride Story from a years’ prior… and what a difference a year makes, indeed!
I remember my last year pride 2010; I was up at 6am, to pick-up the vehicle for the march. Something went wrong, and I was unable to get the reserved truck. So, in tears, I had to ask my dad to borrow his car. Then, my brother who drove, got into an accident. Once I saw the people, the women, the pasties, the love, the appreciation, I felt better about it all, but it was a hard day.
That night, after telling my dad that I scratched his car, I began working a WOW show; I waited and waited for two lovers to help me, had expected them all day, to march with me, to support, it was the only thing that could have made me better (so I thought). But they finally appeared in a convertible, gay with leisure, while I was sweaty, needy, still with a shift to work.
“Hey, wanna hop in, we’re gonna get some Indian, or sushi!” was their purpose.
“What happened, you missed all of pride!” I hissed.
“Oh, yeah, well, we had a long morning, and we thought we would have caught you, blah blah blah blah blah blah…” I stopped listening.
“wamp wamp wamp, wamp wamp wamp wamp” the small femme one giggled.
Their appearance didn’t hurt as much as their vehicle. After three hours of car drama, never once had she offered her car! Their uselessness was paramount in that moment (as was my verge of a breakdown). That must have been the first time I experienced disappointment in community. I had to remember, some folks just wanna “hang out”, not everyone cares as much as I do… not everyone is attached to an organization… not everyone is out professionally… not everyone holds other queer people of color accountable… not everyone thinks spending money on Moshood or convertibles is less useful than organizational sustainability… not everyone thinks like me! and this was my mantra for them and others who are here for recreational purposes only. My expectations of others had to stop destroying me. I demanded refuge from the existence of people who made me feel superior. In the midst of that thought bubble, I may have yelled for them to go; I may have kissed them, and they had no idea of my rage; I can’t tell you which, I just know, I was furious until they finally drove away!
As the new couple headed east for sushi, another lover appeared walking from the west side. She saw me pressed against the scaffolding affront the WOW Cafe Theater, likely gasping for sanity.
“I knew I’d find you here” she said, her face half-slit with a smile, her brow arched, voice heavy. She grabbed my hand and pulled me close. “Let’s get outta here, go get a drink!”
I don’t think I kissed her then. Instead, I worked my way closer and closer to her ear.
“I can’t play, I’m working, Hypergender” my sigh was larger than it had been with her before. She sensed that I had been recently disappointed, and swooped me up in a bear hug, (cause she is big like that) and begged me, since she had come all this way, and I had only time to see her this one night, that it was pride, it was our night.
Suddenly, the couple and the car and the convertible no longer existed. Thank you grandmother for sending me this lovely distraction, from other distractions, to remind me that none of it is real, and it is all god, and I create it, and that all things are transient, and that when evil flames ride east, the west airs new wind to blow the fire forward.
I ran upstairs to ask Jaz (or was it Cris-tina or both?) for relief on my shift. I promised to return and clean up at the end, but I had a long day, and there was a woman outside, waiting… for me.
They saw my glow, and Jaz, for one, had witnessed my annoyance at the failed relationship with two women that I had constructed in my head. Practically pushing me out of the door, I grabbed R’s hand, and headed south.
With R, the night was always an adventure. Roaming theater row, lower east side bliss, we ran into playwrights and performers, each drunk from a show well done. We exchanged laughs with a bald man and his brunette fag hag with legs that made me lose my place in the conversation, and whipping eyelashes that locked in her eye’s glassy moisture.
R was so cute that night, she said, “So, you know I’m in love with you!” and I laughed, knowing full well that her boyfriend wouldn’t approve of our once every six-weeks love affair.
“How could a strapping, wide-backed, butch like this goddess in front of me have a boyfriend?!” I asked myself as I moved my toes up her thigh from across the table.
“And that’s why I came: to break up with you!” she finished her thought, not paying attention to my fondle.
“Oh yeah!” I said, playing along with this game that she conjured, where I could be her lesbian fantasy, interrupting her heterosexual consistency with some real life role-playing, and she could be my doppleganging butch other half. I wanted this game that night, more than I ever had. Suddenly, I felt the pain of her break-up, and I wanted her back. I wanted to fuck her, and slap her; the whole ordeal made me wet, and to compensate, I took another swig of gin. She whiskey. “What if I won’t let you go?” I responded.
She rubbed her moist finger around the rim of her shot glass, and pulled it to her lips, then sucked the acid.
“Your pussy is lethal. And I can’t allow you to control me like that” she said this while peering into her glass. Then made eye contact with me, moving her head slowly forward “so, it’s over!”
“Oooh,” I purred, keeping her eyes in my grasp. Her locks were in my hand, and I could feel her breath cooling the sting of gin on my tongue. “Okay, so it’s over.” I mouthed.
After a second wine bar where we had a glass, then a bottle of overpriced Grenache, R walked me back to WOW. We joked that the carriage would soon become a pumpkin, and I had to mop the floors! Against the metal theater door, R grabbed my face, both palms suckled my cheeks, her fingers cradled my ears, our lips touched before she said, “You know I’m yours right.”
“I know” I said, finally, after she had already sunken into the 1am darkness. And I stood with my eyes closed, still tasting her height, as if shadowing the lamplight at the door of WOW Cafe theater.
What’s your pride story?
Last year, this year, next year?
Don’t miss out on the possibilities.
Walk with Rivers this year, and I assure you, it will be a year to remember.