From the apartment, right down the street, a group of us walked to Cedar Springs, all in costume - save for me and a friend of ours, to costumed-Silas's chagrin. (I've been informed that next year I WILL be dressing up. Haha! We'll see!) I was in love with the night from my very first step. Thousands of people (I've read that it's anywhere from 15- to 20,000) attend each year, and this couldn't possibly have been an exception. As we walked up the block, loud music was playing, and costumed people of all ages, races, and orientations were flooding the street, 360° - but instead of tensing up, I surrendered, and let myself get swallowed by the freak-and-goblin-laden, rainbow-rippled sea. People were shuffling along the street, dancing, talking, singing, moving in all different directions. Body to body, seldom was there empty space around anyone for more than a few passing seconds. I inhaled the gorgeous aroma of sweat, cologne, cigarette smoke, and Life. I closed my eyes and listened to the noise, letting myself get pushed along. I rode the waves.
Much of the night was spent at JR's, going up and down the stairs, stopping at the bar, wandering from place to place. I loved having an excuse for whatever reason to dive back in - because anywhere you had to go, there was no passing freely. And I'd taken to the waters. I loved when I ran out of screwdriver and was called to get another. I loved when my bladder insisted that I pee again, and each time, the finding of women in the men's bathroom with us. I loved being at the urinal while many present, spontaneously burst in to a "WOOOO!!!" - myself included - for no discernible reason, other than that we were alive. I loved the way men would brush up against me - and everyone - eyes catching gazes, costumes getting love, the picture-taking and the smiles. I loved how I found myself heading upstairs again to smoke on the packed balcony, where I could see down to the crowd below. I loved when I would follow along Silas, holding either his hand or crocodile tail to keep from getting lost - and equally as well, the getting lost. I loved the floating alone, although I never was. I loved the cool air. I loved, most of all, the not-afraid-ness.
I'm sorry, my gay brothers for keeping you at bay, for thinking that I knew you, for assuming you're all the same, for casting you as hateful stereotypes, and as humans, not giving you more credit. I'm sorry I haven't come to walk, talk, or party with you sooner.