I turned 30 in the Fire Island Pines while downing shots of tequila with my boyfriend and my ex-boyfriend at Sip N' Twirl. I had been looking forward to this weekend for a while, having booked a weekend at a place in Fire Island because I was turning 30, because I wanted to be on a sunny beach when the day came and not to be stuck in the city doing this or not doing that. I wanted to be away. I was away, and though the weather did not cooperate, seemed in fact to be working against my intention of washing over introspection and fear of aging with sunshine, I had a lovely time. I was sad, yes, at times, but also incredibly happy most of the time, and very grateful to be with these two people I love so much.
We had started our trip on Saturday a bit later than originally planned, it clearly not a beach day, rainy and gray, and thus there being no hurry to get to Fire Island. At Penn Station, Erica failed to meet us. Her dad was having heart problems and she potentially had to fly home. This news made me incredibly sad - one, because it was a close friend sad, and two, because it was also a reminder of the fragility of bodies, of what happens as we age, and of what a life actually consists of - that it's not all tight skin, good hearts, and lying in the sun on beaches smoking cigarettes and drinking concealed Coors Lights.
Bundled in sweatshirts, we rode on the lower inside deck of the ferry with everyone else, no one on top. We checked into our hotel, set our stuff down, unsure at first what to do in the weather, in the early day. We poured some cocktails and everything, as often occurs with such help, became easier - conversation, decisions, plans for what to do, desires. We talked about aging and shared friends and shared memories. We then went to a drag show at the Ice Palace starring Logan Hardcore and Dallas Dubois. It was your average drag show for the early part of it, mildly absurd and mildly funny. Everyone was inside, sheltered from the rain outside, cradling their cocktails, smoking cigarettes. During one number, Dallas Dubois circled outside along the patio and did a big dance around the pool. Some people went outside underneath the cover of a balcony to watch this, and soon everyone else followed. Inspired and egged on by the crowd's enjoyment of her dancing in the rain, she continued her performance out there, eventually diving into the water, wig on and all. Logan Hardcore followed that number with one of his own, also outside in the rain, and he pushed it even further, went for it, did insane dances in huge heels on a wet pool deck. It was beautiful and entrancing, a rare moment. We all ate it up and were screaming loudly, all aware that this was an amazing performance we were witness to, something we would talk about to others we had seen it with long down the road, saying remember when. The two of them eventually did a duet to "It's Raining Men," dancing with pool umbrellas underneath the rain, spraying the pool hose up into the air, and then diving into the pool in sync together with their make-up and outfits on, wigs lost to the pool by this point.
This really cheered me up and did so for everyone else as well. The weather became less of an obstacle. The lesson was learned. You have to do what you can with the things you are given. So it's raining and you're a drag queen? Do a dance in the rain to "It's Raining Men," while diving into a pool. Fucking amazing. I no longer had any crabbiness about the weather, seeing how stupid and uptight such a thing was, that you have to embrace these things as they are and not get upset when the world does not work as you had hoped. We are faggots. It never does. We should know this. We should not be so easily upset by things out of our control. We should have made peace with these things long ago.
We went back to the house, had a couple more cocktails, and then hiked through the Meat Rack to the Pines. We went to the tea dance, drank a lot, danced a lot. At ten o'clock, the dance bars closed after tea, not reopening again until 12. The three of us wandered down some boardwalks, ostensibly in search of someone with a hot tub. At some point, we came across a guy on his knees sucking off another guy. We stopped to watch, joined in, sniffed some poppers offered to us. The ocean was in the background, waves crashing. We left after a little while, leaving the two again to themselves, us three heading to Sip N' Twirl, the bar still open during this interim when the gays were cleared off the dance floor.
We drank and as midnight approached, I knew I needed to ring it in with a shot, maybe because I wanted to think I was actually turning 21 and partying with sorority sisters. And maybe because I actually was doing so. We drank tequila, sucked on limes, and I talked about being 30 and what it meant, it all seeming full of import, a little wise, and all certainly very histrionic I am sure in retrospect. Jacob soon threw up on the table. I told him to drink water and not get so wasted, that I wanted to party all night long. We danced more at this bar and the other one. At some point, we left Diego, deciding to go home.
Walking back toward Cherry Grove, through the night, through the woods, through the fog brought about alcohol, nostalgia, and thoughts about what it means to be alive and age in this world, we walked through the sand near the beach. At some point, we walked over to the beach, wanting to see the ocean. There was probably some making out, details hazy, but I do remember getting a blowjob from Jacob and that leading to sex, us stripping off all our clothes and fucking on the beach. It felt really amazing. Throughout I was aware of the act, yes, of the physical sensations brought about by it, but also its setting in nature, this communion with the world, and the harmony of waves crashing nearby us and us fucking in sand a few feet away. I was thinking of Whitman and nature. This revery was interrupted by the sight of headlights coming fast down the beach toward us. "Cops!" I yelled to Jacob, telling him we had to run, to grab his clothes, that we had to go now.
We quickly grabbed the clothes around us and ran back up to the boardwalk that led over the dunes. There at the top of these stairs was a man who had been apparently watching us have sex on the beach. The two of us ignored him and got dressed, laughing about the close call as we walked home. Jacob mentioned that his foot hurt and that it felt like he broke it somehow. We were tired, drunk, and now injured. We could not wait to be able to pass out in bed. Reaching in my pocket, I felt for the keys as I usually do when walking home, instinctual. They were not there. I asked Jacob to make sure he didn't have them in his pocket. Fuck, I yelled, realizing that I had lost the key somehow in the sand when we were having sex. Jacob stayed put on the trail, his foot hurting too much to come back and help look for the key. There were men cruising in the bushes. My drunk and paranoid brain imagined them as killers as I ran through the woods alone. I was afraid of all these men, sure they were going to kill me, that it would have been so easy out there in the middle of the woods. I searched around in the sand, using my cell phone as a flashlight, trying to hurry because I was scared for my life in a less metaphorical sense than I had been earlier in the evening when I contemplated turning thirty.
The key was nowhere to be found. I caught back up with Jacob. He cried during the walk home, his foot hurting so bad. We were hoping Diego would be home even though he wasn't picking up his calls and my increasingly crazed cell phone messages I kept leaving on his machine, begging him for the love of God to please come home, that Jacob had broken his foot, that it was raining, that it was freezing, and that we had lost our key in the sand while running away from the cops because we had been having sex on the beach.
He was not there at the house and did pick up any of my many phone calls to him, me sure that he was getting laid somewhere in the Pines. After trying to break into the house, and then after failing that and waiting too long in front of the house in the rain, we decided we had to go back and search again for the key. We walked back to that spot, Jacob crying the whole way in pain, both of us miserable, cold, and tired. We found our imprint of bodies on the sand and searched around with our cellphones, illuminating the sand, trying to, feeling around with our hands for anything that looked like it might be a key. After a good ten minutes of this, ready to give up, as we're walking back to the boardwalk, I spotted what I was sure was garbage, felt for it anyways, and pulled up our key! We were so happy. A golden ticket. We were overjoyed, our night now not going to take the nightmarish turns we were imagining of having to sleep outside somewhere in the cold rain as we were already so miserable, instead that we were going to be able to sleep inside in an actual bed.
The next day, Diego came home, told us about his night, and asked us about ours, having just heard all my insane and desperate voicemails that morning. We drank mimosas, smoked cigarettes, talked shit, and then went to the Pines for a drunk drag brunch hosted by Bianca del Rio. She is one of my favorite drag queens. She is so fearless on stage, so offensive. She says the most racist stuff I've ever heard a comic say and yet gets away with it because she is in drag and it's already defined as a character she's playing. I can't decide if I love her or hate her, and that inability to decide has me convinced that it's probably love and that there is something nearing genius in her performance. She pulled Jacob on stage to rip him to shreds verbally, called him a polio case, a Jew with a big nose (though he's not Jewish), made numerous other jokes about his big nose, and left him even more wounded. I thought it was brilliant and hilarious. Jacob's pride, however, was hurt and he took it very personally, remaining very upset for the next hour or so and trying to pick fights with other people because of this. Diego left back for the city and Jacob and I hung out near the harbor.
We chatted with some man, a Cory, petted his cute dog. He mentioned going back to his hot tub. I said Let's Go, having wanted to be in a hot tub since I got there. We got naked at his house and plunged into his hot tub. He roommates watched from their table next to the hot tub as we started to suck each other off and make out. He had a pool that we plunged into. It was dyed this very unnatural green color, perhaps because they thought it was a natural color. The three of us had sex in a bedroom upstairs and then continued to play naked in his hot tub, pool, and deck chairs, chatting about what we did, drinking rose, playing with each other's dicks, jumping into the pool, and getting pissed on. It was a very sexy and beautiful day. I had submit myself to the weather, quit trying to have an itinerary, and just let things happen, enjoyed the weather and the life I was given. It was a beautiful time.
We eventually left to go back home and nap for a bit. The alcohol of the past couple days caught up with us on the walk back to Cherry Grove. We passed out after getting home and slept the night away. Jacob woke up with a much more swollen and bruised foot. We hung out on the beach for a short while before leaving in the early afternoon so Jacob could get his foot looked at in the emergency room. It turns out that he did in fact break one of his toes.
Before he found this out though, on the ferry ride back from Cherry Grove to Sayville, the sun was out and the weather was so that I could wear a tank top. We sat on the top deck of the ferry, outside this time, enjoying the sea breeze and the warm weather. Everyone sat on the top deck.
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