The Eagle Has Landed. And There Are Bruises.
Sunday brunch with the girls turned into the Eagle at sunset with the gays.
Sunday Funday was followed by Mortified Monday.
Mine was spent piecing the night back together, wondering what happened to my sunglasses and where is my nose-ring and who are all these incoming text messages from? And why is a chunk of flesh missing from my index finger? And what is it about the Eagle that inspires me to peel off my inhibition like a dirty T-shirt?
* * *
Maybe it was the rounds of lemon drops last night or the disappointing sex with The Hat, but I’m repulsed with myself today.
All morning I tell myself the cure is up on 79th and Broadway at evening service.
All afternoon I tell myself it’s too cold to go to church and I don’t feel like showering and really, if I’m gonna do something, it should be get off this couch and finish unpacking my suitcase from Brazil already.
All day I want to bow out of dinner tonight with Gayson and the boys.
At six-something, I’ve accomplished nothing and decide the only way to salvage this lost Sunday is a shower and church. When I walk into Redeemer at half-past seven, the last notes of “O for a Thousand Tongues” are concluding.
The coffin-departing song.
Never been so glad to be late for church.
And an hour later, never been so glad I went to church. Meditated. Confessed. Checked some baggage. And found my footing in time to greet the boys for fondue at Trestle on Tenth.
We close the restaurant, lose one of the guys to an 8-am-meeting and head to the Eagle, a leather bar in Chelsea. As soon as we climb the stairs to the steamy second floor, Gayson’s T-shirt is off: his suspenders like a pair of leather parentheses around his pale paunch.
I am the only female in the place.
And one of only three people whose shirts are still on: the other two being the boys we came here with, boys who are fit as fiddles but refuse to take their shirts off.
Two Coronas later, I have an idea.
I go into the first-floor bathroom and when I emerge, my pendant necklace is against bare skin and my velvet blazer is unbuttoned.
I hand Gayson my elephant T-shirt and ask him to check it. He cheers, hands it off to the coat-cage and we head upstairs, where the bartenders look at me like I’m a rare, exotic bird.
When we find the boys, they practically perform on cue. All shirts are off and suddenly a gaggle of new boys surround us: tourists, native New Yorkers, a professor of Latin American studies who wants to know about my upcoming Cuba trip.
Between conversations, Gayson catches my eye and smiles.
What, I say.
Proud of you, he says.
Proud why? I ask.
Because last May you were terrified of doing a 3-minute comedy sketch on stage. And here you are tonight, shirtless in public, holding court with a dozen queens.
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