an evening, divided
Those are my friends Drew and Matty. You may know Matty better as Renttecca, who is actually a major celebrity in Dublin, Ireland, and here in San Francisco. I met Matty 9 years ago on an Amtrak train while traveling between Sacramento and Oakland when I was still in the Air Force. Matty is probably one of the scariest, filthiest drag queens I've ever seen in my entire life. Try this: pulling blue anal beads out of your ass while lip-synching to "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by Crystal Gale, or having someone pee on you while synching "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage. Sick, sick shit.
No, really. You should check out the galleries at his website. I'm his biggest fan. Here's my favorite picture of him, ever:
I've known Drew(py) for at least 5 years now, and I've always harbored a secret crush on him since the day we met at the corner of Castro and Market back in the spring of 2000. He's intelligent off the charts, an excellent cook, has a sick, sick sense of humor, was raised in Manhattan, and is probably one of the coolest people I know. He invited me over to his house in the Castro tonight for a going-away dinner he was making, since he's deciding to do the bi-coastal thing and live in San Francisco and New York. This was the e-mail I got earlier:
The shopping is done and I have tonight’s meal planned. If any of you would like to bring some wine to compliment the meal.. here is le menu:
Baguette with French Raclette cheese
Chaudree de Saumon avec saumon sauvage de la cote ouest du Canada (Salmon Chowder)
Ham and Gruyere stuffed chicken breast, rolled in French pastry dough, served with Grilled Asparagus and Roasted mushroom salad… topped with Red Chile Mustard Vinaigrette.
Surprise a la Rick James.
See you tonight,
I was so there...I hadn't hung out with those boys in forever...the last time we did, a video was shot from the webcam off the top of Drew's computer, and history was made. We watched it, actually. I was horrified, as I don't remember half the shit I did or said on that video. No sex per se, but just a lot of un-pc humor, various stages of nudity, and Irish guy so drunk you could barely understand him (it sounds like an X-rated Lucky Charms commercial at one point...yeah that's you, Allen). This video will never, ever be shown anywhere except Drew's computer when we all get together. It all boils down to this: Ass, dry-humping, foreskin farts, and "Do mama a favor. Shut the door." Drew sent me a still shot of Matty and yours truly laughing hysterically with Alan's ass (not Allan from Ireland, Alan from Georgia) up in the air between us. It was a bunch of friends, having a good time, laughing hysterically for over 20 minutes while doing unspeakable things, and nothing more. It's done, it's over, it's in the past.
And I'm not saying another word about that video. Oh, and thanks a fucking lot, Drew, for shooting the damn thing. Bitch you know you gonna get cut for that.
Phatima, also known as the Retarded Panda, was there as well. Phatima is always good for surreal dinner conversation. Phatima spoke of a childhood in a Minnesota mental hospital, justified wearing a tube top, miniskirt, saran wrap, and boots to Safeway, and reminisced about the time she squirted me in the face with a colostomy bag filled with Bushmill's whiskey at Trannyshack about 6 years ago.
You know, the usual filthy dinner table banter.
Drew's dinner was nothing short of ambrosial...absolutely incredible...and was probably one of the best meals I've had in months. We laughed until we cried, Phatima gave us some of the craziest Humboldt county ganja I've ever had, grown by a friend of hers, and simply enjoyed each other's company.
The evening finally came to a close; I bid everyone goodbye, and walked through the Castro. From here, the evening took on a decidedly different cast.
divided, 2004 -- by chad
On my way home, I had to stop by Chris F.'s house to pick up some personal items I left there. It was late, and Chris wanted to go to bed. I hopped into a cab, and rode over to his house, where he was to meet me out front. On the way, my buoyant mood started sinking, as I looked out the rain-flecked windows at the streets of Chris's neighborhood. My mind was wandering through memories of the times we'd ride home together in taxicabs after a fun night, on this very route, holding hands, leaning against each other, looking forward to falling asleep next to each other in a matter of minutes. The lighthearted feelings from the previous few hours quickly evaporated, and shortly thereafter, the cab pulled up in front of Chris's house.
He was standing there, smoking a cigarette, and looking a little different than I remembered. I couldn't put my finger on it, but he looked a little harder. Edgier. Angrier. Deadpan. He took a drag off his cigarette and gave me my things.
"Here, and here's your DVD." He handed me a copy of "Amadeus" that we had been watching only a few weeks ago, curled up together in his bed.
"Thanks," I replied, a lump forming in my throat. "How are you?"
"Tired. Going to bed. Good night." He leaned over, and kissed me on the lips, which caused a burning sensation in my chest to quickly travel up my throat, and down my legs. Perhaps it was adrenaline, but it felt like liquid fire was coursing through my veins. The lump in my throat hardened a bit.
"Goodbye," I finally said.
"Bye." He turned around, took a drag off his cigarette, and walked away. I got in the cab, and we drove off, and I watched Chris close his front door. Driving back down the hill was a little stranger, as I usually walked down this hill with him in the morning, and I wasn't used to seeing it in a cab at night. Down and down we went, and through the raindrops on the windows, sparkling like diamonds as they caught the harsh rays of the streetlights, I watched the neighborhood rush by outside.
My original plan was for the cabbie to just take me back to North Beach, but when we got to Market and 7th, I said, "Please, stop here." Tears were starting to form in my eyes, and I just wanted OUT of that cab, and for my feet to be firmly planted on the grimy brick sidewalks of Market Street. He pulled over, I paid him, and got out. I figured I'd just take the subway to Montgomery station and walk home from there. I had the entire train to myself, and when I exited Montgomery, I savored the cool, damp night air that met me as I ascended from the station. I also did something I've never done before...I actually used the escalator instead of the stairs.
My friends won't believe it if they had seen it; I'm the biggest stair nazi there is. Escalators are stupid unless you're carrying a bunch of luggage at the airport. Other than that, if you have legs that are capable of carrying you up a flight of stairs, for fuck's sake use them or lose them, and get off the goddamn escalator already. /rant
I had my iPod with me, and put it on shuffle. Wouldn't you know it, "Missing You" by Diana Ross came on. I knew my resolve to not fall apart was quickly disappearing. I shuffled down Montgomery Street hunched under my umbrella, blinking back the tears that were really starting to form in my eyes. I couldn't deal with the song, so I hit the wheel to forward to the next song.
It was "Sweet Baby" by Stanley Clarke and George Duke. It's on a playlist I made called "Smoothbooty" consisting of slow-jam R&B from the 60's, 70's, and early 80' intended for the two of us to listen to while lying on the floor together in front of my fireplace. It was used only once. There are over 1500 songs on that fucking thing. Out of all the industrial, rock, classical, jazz, blues, dance, or ANY other genre on that damn thing, it had to pick that particular song. Lacking the resolve to stop it, I continued walking, listening to the lyrics:
Lyin' here alone I'm dreamin'
My mind keeps wonderin', my thoughts are only you
Wandering through the memories in my mind.
How could love so real have turned so empty, I just keep wonderin' why
Will I ever find the love we shared together, you and I?
Finally, I stopped. "Enough is enough," I mumbled to myself.
The pain inside me at that moment was quite real, and downright searing. Somehow though, it was comforting. Comforting in the fact that this was the way I was supposed to feel. Life isn't about being happy ALL the time. If it was, how the hell are you supposed to enjoy the really awesome times of your life? These emotions are natural, and what make us human. This is what living a full, rich life is all about! Artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world are familiar with this...this stabbing pain that's so horrible yet incredibly beautiful at the same time. It's what inspires people to write love songs, or poems, or create incredibly profound works of art. You just can't fight it sometimes, because you can't deny what's a part of every single one of us...one of the very elements of our human nature.
Fuck it...I decided to embrace it.
I was at the corner of Montgomery and California, and for the most part had the entire Financial District to myself. At this time of night, it's virtually abandoned, save for the occasional cable car rumbling by or the speeding cabs filled with intoxicated North Beach revelers. I lowered my umbrella, closed it, and raised my face skyward...letting the raindrops fall where they were supposed to. It tingled in the cool, soft rain, and I savored this very painful, rather difficult, yet quite profound and evolving moment in my life. The sensation slowly changed...from the agonizing inferno consuming my heart, to something not unlike the pain you felt when you had a loose tooth as a kid. It hurt, but it wasn't exactly unpleasant. It meant you were going to lose something that had significance to you in the past, but outgrew and didn't need anymore. It had to make room for something new, and stronger, and more permanent.
In the middle of downtown, I stood there alone...an anonymous person on a rainy San Francisco night.
And finally, softly, gently, I let myself cry.