This Is Not About The Space Program
Last night, the first thing Dale said when he saw me was that his company was transferring him to D.C., September 1st. I was so happy for him that he’d be with Danielle finally. He gave me a big bear hug outside that Jacksonville Beach bar. I remembered Taj protesting to me, after he’d moved back to Florida, that if he got a job somewhere in that state things would still be better, we’d visit each other more often. “We’ll be like Dale and Danielle,” he’d said, which had lifted my mood considerably. Taj never says how solid he thinks we are, that we’ll be together a long time. He just says things every once in a while that indicate he feels that way. It has been hard to learn it, to know it in my heart, so tenacious has he been in his own personal male quest that excludes me.
His frat brothers: why were they all so tall? Maybe it was just my drunken perception coupled with my choice of shoes. Taj thought I looked good in my ballet flats and a black one-shoulder dress that did not leave much to the imagination. “Anyway, it used to be,” I said, just before we left the hotel room, “one would never wear a short dress with heels. It pretty much meant you were a hooker. These days things are different. I saw these girls on U Street the other night, all in little tight dresses and huge platform heels.”
“How old were they?” Taj asked.
“Oh well, barely of age, I guess. And they were pretty. But they looked so, I don’t know, uninteresting to me. All the same.”
The frat brothers – I don’t remember any of their names, except for Dale – all shook hands with me, and some even hugged me, and screamed over the bar noise at me. “That Taj,” one of them said, “he’s a sexy bitch.”
“I know,” I giggled.
“And he’s hung too. I know these things.”
They asked very specific, very inappropriate questions about what I planned to do with Taj later that night. I confirmed their suspicions. It was exhilarating; I think I took their comments as acceptance of me, as love of Taj. Everybody loves Taj. He is wary, though, of my political leanings when it comes to his friends. He thinks I’m too sensitive and will get hurt. He could be right about this.
Earlier, over a seafood dinner and second drinks (fancy beer for him, Cabarnet for me), I asked him what he thought about the space program ending. He let loose a rant of anti-Obama-ism that I am by now used to hearing from him. I have to tell all of you honestly that I pretty much distrust politicians no matter what their stripe – who doesn’t – but also like many of us, I have a few cherished positions from which no one can dissuade me. The space program is not one of them.
But since we were talking about politics, I ventured that the Republicans would probably have to mount someone with more appeal and savvy than Romney, who at the moment seemed to be the frontrunner, to beat Obama. Taj agreed, and allowed – as he usually does – that Obama is a hell of a speaker.
“When is somebody going to come along,” I lamented, “who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal?”
Taj looked up from a bite of mahi-mahi (it was delectable: perfectly sauteed and tomato-glazed), regarded me with those lovely hazel eyes framed by curly lashes, and dared to raise his hand.
I sat back in my chair. “Darling, I love you. But you are not socially liberal. What do you think about gay marriage?”
Looking back, I might have to amend my stance. He was fine with everything except actually calling it “marriage.” Maybe that still counts as liberal. But my second glass in – and having finished the bottle of Alidis with our afternoon tapas, following Jack and Coke Zero in the hot tub – it didn’t pass my everyone-should-be-able-to-do-whatever-the-fuck-they-want litmus test. Not to mention I am a champion of love.
“Just don’t talk about gay marriage with my frat brothers,” he said equably.
“I definitely won’t. I’m not 23 anymore.”
“I’m glad you’re not 23,” he said, with more than a little force – as if he knew me all those years ago.