this has perhaps been the best birthday i've yet to experience.
it's sunday and i'm sitting alone in 'my booth' at the olde stone. saddled with a hefty pint of stout and my current overdue essay putputputtering out of me in seismic spurts of almost-academic-enough, and smirking with the satisfaction that sundays after-arthur article submission provides.
d is working in the back. i woke up at her house after another too-drunk to walk home party. dad and nate visited to give me birthday wishes and some of the best gifts i've ever gotten. dad bought me a pair of paratrooper goggles from an army surplus store, and matched with my same-shade leather coat, i look like a young amelia earhart. nate bought me a gorgeous pen. he says he made the would part of it...with aspen? i dont even know if thats a kind of wood...or tree.. but anyway, it's pine-y in colour and inlayed with gold and black. the weight of it in my hand is perfection. 'it's cuz you're a writer' nate says across our table at kubo, as he beams. his zest activates a part of my heart that only he is able to access.
i talked them into accompanying me to the remaining evening of the dub poetry festival. clifton joseph. lillian allen. klyde broox. afua cooper. ritalin. the line up was incredible. titans of the dub movement. word warriors. and my father.
my father, who listened to poem after poem hit syllable to microphone to air. affirming the neocolonial clutch that is cunningly grasping his privilege, in the parenthesis of his queer and only-daughter's life hitting its 25th year. i'm not about to say he drove back to uxbridge with any sort of revelation shackled to his hands, because it was nate that had to drive, courtesy of the gratuitous tequila shots.
but after a series of discussions that blew my mind every way that one's mind can be blown, save for a loaded gun, my birthday meal was literally and figuratively on my father's dime. generationally, i was gifted with time. this time. where queer won't cost my life. where disabled doesn't guarantee segregated, uneducated, immobile. where safety doesn't mean silence.
i exist in a space and time in a body and mind of my mother and father's making. the graces that nate and i have found are a direct result of the spirit and soul they allowed us to see in them. sure, my dad wants to be comfortable and provided for. sure my mom doesn't wave a rainbow flag for me. but they continue to love me here, now. and that speaks in ways that they don't.
i brought nate and dad with me to m and d's pisces party. we rolled with cigars, my dad giggling about how clifton joseph grabbed his hand and told him he'd been 'feeding off his vibe all night'. my dad stood in a circle with my friends shooting the shit, as i grinned and showed them my prezzies. outta of some unknown pocket nate produces a bottle of single malt scotch for me. as IF.
d slid into the booth with me after a shift of muck and grunt work. she orders us calamari to share, and we launch into an evening of conversation that keeps me perpetually smiling. about aging. about this queer community and power, used and misused. about our responsibilities. about of failures. about our future friendship.
we left and rolled into the only, not missing a beat. she read me the label of the chimmay her bartender macking skills afforded us, leaning in close, being sure to meet my cheek with hers. and as i let myself get romanced by her tender and careful intonation, i felt certain of my place in the world.
and i know that sorta thing, paired with the girl and the bar sounds so goddam trite, but it was a real moment. recalling it to you now makes me choke up, as i feel the terror of not having the ready access to d once she rockets from this city that wears her face in restaurant windows and street corners. i was fine before her and will be after but time is leaking a trail of tears behind me like hoda sputters in crackpot.
as much as i am over her, in the in-love sense, i'm still in love with the feeling of her around me. the way she insists on taking care of me. on steering our evening. on being the tempo to our intoxicated dancing. no one spins me like she does. ima miss that. in a way my reluctant heart isn't ready to speak.
and she gets quiet whenever i talk this way. about caring and loving. but i know she remembers me in the same sort of moments. and separation will mean less remembering. so i asked her to go to saskatchewan with me because i've never seen flatness and i've been dreaming of an imagined landscape and she readily-agrees in pipedream punctuation.
maybe this is what 25 means.
we are always mutable. we are always moving. up and away. and away from where we started. away from where our parents first planted our petite pies. its terrifying because its palpable, that distance from the couch to the coffee table. go.