I’ve just finished watching Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, eyes inching close to sleep, when T texts me. He’s visiting from Lancaster, PA and schleps up to my apartment from Brooklyn, arriving at something like 11:30pm because our friend P, who he’s staying with, isn’t out of work until something like 1am. So we catch up and we drink whiskey or bourbon, I forget which and it doesn’t really matter. He got married last year and he likes it, that it’s pretty much the same as living together. He’s happy, and I’m happy he’s happy. P arrives around 1:30 and he has a drink with us. We laugh and bullshit. P says he is starting to act again, and there’s a sparkle in his eyes that wasn’t there a few months ago, a few months ago when he said he didn’t want to act anymore, that he just wanted to teach at a local college. I felt then that he was lying to me and himself. He seems to have realized at that, too. Soon we all finish our drinks and they leave, around 2:30am. They invite me to come out but the heavy weight of my eyelids makes me stay put. I feel like the mother hen, giving the children whiskey then sending them out into the night. If that’s what mother hens do. I’m not quite sure.
A&C are visiting from Maryland and I suggest dinner at Pocha 32, up stairs off a busy street in Koreatown, behind a door covered in stickers and drawings. Inside, it’s covered in green fishnet that’s been decorated with empty wine bottle wrappers. We drink a soju cocktail from a giant, hollowed out watermelon and they tell me about the house they just bought. We eat squid with pork belly and we laugh and they ask me how dating is going and I try not to answer. They look at me, trying not to make the facial expression equivalent of patting me on the head. Later, I take them for dessert at a crowded food court next door. We eat a chocolate chip oreo cookie and another dessert that looks like a potted plant. Toward the end of our desserting, we’re muscled away from our table by a giant group of nerdy teens in navy hoodies. “I think one of them just called me ‘bro,’” A says.
After dinner with them, I meet up with HanOre for margaritas. She tells me about moving in with her boyfriend, about their new apartment, about her new borough, about her new book coming out so soon. She eats nachos and I really shouldn’t because I just had a giant meal but I sneak one or two. I’m lonely, I tell her. How do I feel less of that? She cries a little then we laugh and go to another bar where some sport plays on the televisions. We laugh more. A couple in their forties makes out at the bar behind us. I drink a cider, peeling off the label slowly.
A few weeks later, for Hannah’s birthday, we go out to Quality Eats and eat roast chicken and complain about men. We walk to The Surrey on Madison Avenue for birthday cocktails and dessert. We order molten chocolate cake, which deliciously oozes when we slide our spoons through it, but they also give us a rhubarb vacherin and two glasses of champagne on the house. We cross our legs and lean backward on the black leather barstools and the bartenders call us “miss” and tell Hannah happy birthday. Going to a high-end Upper East Side hotel cocktail bar on a Tuesday night puts a swing in your step and makes you believe anything is possible.
In Woodstock for Stephen’s birthday, the sky is grey and the air smells of clean rain. There’s a babbling stream alongside the road up to our house, and when we arrive and there are yellow flowers outside of it. Inside there’s a curling wooden staircase. We try on wigs and laugh and drink too many bubbly drinks. I get food poisoning and wake up sweating, but a few hours later I’m a little better and buy a vintage dress covered in smiley faces. At dinner I lose at Scrabble even though I have the letters to spell ‘bidet.’ My stomach turns in so much pain I leave the table to cry, but in the morning I wake up and I’m better and I first pick at then dive into what’s left of Stephen’s rainbow birthday cake from the night before.
The following week, I have a tame weekend aside from Saturday night, when I go to a drag show at a private club housed in a townhouse on 14th Street. Before it starts, however, a man downstairs tells me there’s a party on the third floor with food and I crash it, snacking on fish and chips and sliders while drinking a dirty martini. It's a press party so as a journalist I fit in. I talk to a man from TV Guide, a woman who runs a film festival in Milford, PA, and a man in a gold and black suit who’s a former professional wrestler now going to mortuary school and writing a pilot. Tiny cupcakes appear when I am talking to the former wrestler and I eat one. He declines, saying he’s trying to get abs, but then indulges anyway. I am a bad influence, he says, and I laugh.
At the drag show, gorgeous, hilarious people wear all many of neon and wigs and mustaches and nails and glitter glitter glitter and strip or lipsync or both. Later, a wig tycoon and his friend in a black leather jacket whisk me uptown to a small cocktail party on 57th Street. I drink a warmish glass of white wine and nibble on shrimp cocktail. The friend and I disappear to find cigarettes, with laughter and whiskey in between eventual success. Somehow, it becomes 2:30 in the morning and the leather jacket and I go to another gay bar, Townhouse. Drag queens dot the corners of the bar and smile wanly. Soon there is more whiskey and vodka and somehow a bill happens and we leave. It’s around 3:30am when I get home. I untangle myself from my jewelry and slide some peanut butter onto a piece of bread, eat, and fall asleep.