Thursday, July 21, 2011

When forever Starts, there's no stopping your heart

A life not lived, appropriately.   Page 4

 Go directly to Page 1

My husband had found his new job and was safely tucked away at some motel in Chicago for school. I had activities planned, mostly involving clubs. I was looking forward to this holiday from marriage and knew I had Anna and Debra to watch the kids. But all of a sudden, it was bargaining time. They said they would take the children if I appointed one night to going to “their” club. Kindred Spirits.

Kindred Spirits was a women’s bar located at Richmond Avenue and 610.  Marion Coleman, one of Houston’s most successful entrepreneurs, owned it.  Ms Coleman created an atmosphere of amenable ambiance safe from the drug issues that plague all the clubs in the city.  On the issue of drugs and drinking, Marion was quite stringent.
What should one expect in a “lifestyle” bar?  I rather expected “Clockwork Orange” milk bar.


Or a lot of black walls leather and chains.  (Actually, the Ventur- In confirmed this idea, but that is for a later installment). 
I was not expecting a cheerful, vibrant, and classy place as this when offering myself in sacrifice upon the hypothetical Sappho’s altar. I loved it!  There was a feeling of other worldliness, dreamlike, that overtook me The first person I met was Bootsie. She was the bouncer at the door.

She looked like Matt Damon. And as smooth. Later Bootsie would become one of my most torrid affairs that took place anywhere and everywhere. It would be both treacherous and euphoric.

She took my hand “I haven’t seen you before, are you new to town?”

No, I have lived here for 6 years. I am here with Anna and Debra.”

Without breaking her gaze "I do not know them, sorry, but I should know you. Shouldn’t I?” she asked without looking at them. "What's your name?"

"Dianne" I said "with two n's" 

Anna and Debra were standing right next to me. Anna laughed with encouragement. Her own brother’s wife out galavanting around town with lesbians in gay bars. Debra took me by the hand and pulled me away.  She wasn’t quite as humoured by this.

Debra slipped her arm around my waste protectively, (after all she promised to keep me safe) leading me into the club as Anna, Debbie, Sabrina and Cynthia followed.  I was totally enveloped.  Warm, secure and out of my mind!

The music set the mood for the evening like the opening of a movie thriller...
I honestly do not know what I expected, but that wasn’t it.  There was a certain amount of gratification in being charmed by Bootsie.  My sister-in-law Anna said I would be hard pressed to do worse! 
I still had that regretful feeling.  There we were, there I was, in a gay bar, on a perfectly good clubbing night.  We found a table right away which was unheard of on a Friday night.  We had reservations. I was beginning to feel a bit unnerved, feeling like something was in the wind, yet I could not identify the smell.

"I have come in here a hundred times" Debra scoffed "she knew us"

"Debra, we never speak to her excep to offer ID" Anna retorted.  "Hmmm, you're right, she doesn't usually seek us out"

"Hmm, Dianne, this is going to be your night" Anna found this humorous, but I do ot believe she was encouraging me.

Debra seemed to be in deep thought.

Bootsie was waiting tables and bee-lined to ours to take our drinks. “Can I help the pretty lady” she asked.

Again, I reiterated, "I'm straight." "Sure you are" she sighed as she walked away.  

When she came back with an entire tray of jello shots, the others were shooting them down as she sat down on the chair next to me.

"You don't need to sweeten the bait by saying your straight", Bootsie remarked "I'm sure you can have your pick". Okay, now I'm going to have to be rude. Oh fuck,,, straight women are a commodity. I really need to leave.

And again, there was Debra, intercepting inappropriate behavior. "Uh, can you just serve the drinks and leave my guest alone?"

As the drinks started flowing, I eased up on the paranoia and figured I might as well make the best of this. It isn’t costing me anything. Debra and Anna were buying drinks and Bootsie was doing her part by bringing me doubles. And, needless to say, we had the cleanest table and ashtrays due to Bootsie's diligence. She was quite the character, taking drinks out of Debra's hands as Debra was STILL drinking, all the while talking to me.

Debra was not too humored and reached out to get her drink back.  Bootsie shoved her table cleaning rag into Debra's empty reaching hand.

Bootsie had a twinkle to her eye. She would always have that magnetic personality and be surrounded by fans. Everyone loved her. A few hated her as I found out later.

As flirtatuos as she was, she always had a cute girlfriend or 10, a the other's infomed me.  They were all enjoying the added attention.

Debra asked me to dance. Ooooh nooooo. What does a straight girl do?  She dances. I had an urge to be asked by Deb (as Debbie and Sabrina). She was a tall thin cowgirl type. Very intelligent, trying for acceptance at A&M for veterinary school. But she was preoccupied with Cynthia, much to Sabrina’s chagrin.

Without provocation, both Anna and Debra, independent of each other started to use me as a confidant. Anna wanted to be with a more feminine women. (she didn’t think…no…please no)!  Debra secreted the same wish to me. They both wanted a more feminine woman. And since I was not informed about the gay lifestyle, I immediately drew the conclusion that I was going to be sandwiched between the two of them, such was my narcissitic, bible studying, judgemental self.  And there were quite a few women with broken bones out that night. I figured the sex must be rough .Anna reassured me, it was softball and soccer injuries.

I accepted Debra’s request to dance.  Bootsie watched intently.

“That woman needs something to do” Debra retorted as we moved to the dance floor.
As Debra pulled me to the dance floor holding my hand, she turned to me and laid that hand on her left shoulder.I moved it to the back of her head and started twirling her hair.
Yes, I did it purposely to get a reaction.  I mean, that's what she has been doing to me

She smiled.  I thought for certain she was going to pull my hand away and say  "Now we're not having any of this, are we?"
She pulled me closer.  I tried to reoccupy my myself by watching my feet do a two-step.

She and Anna had given me two-stepping directions at home. I was a quick study and learned without them pasting footprint markers on the floor. I did it to humour them. I had no intention of dancing or touching in any way.

Yet their I was, in Debra’s arms and shaking like a leaf .  It wasn’t as if I never danced with women before.  (okay, I've never danced with a woman before)  I was trembling noticably, she held me close, too close for comfort. 

"I'm not gonna hurt you" she whispered in my earsaid

"I know, this is just so..."  I had no idea what it was.

"So, how do you like it' she asked

"How do I like dancing"

"No, how do you like all of this, my friends, the bar?"  She said quietly

"I know you friends already DebraI wouldn't pick any"

"Oh, cmon, just pretend"  "Okay Deb"

Debra laughed, but never told Deb, until we left.

But then the song ...

I get so high with you I may never come down..
when forever starts....
there's no stopping your heart

As if in reflex, I fell closer in as she pulled me in.  I was lost in the moment as suddenly another hand brushed over mine and stopped at my wedding ring,  I jumped, Debra jumped, and Bootsie smiled.

"The next song is for you,” she said

We headed back to the table.

"Anna asked what the altercation was on the dance floor

 “Nothing, Bootsie said the next song is for Dianne.” She responded, “as if anyone can determine what the DJay was going to play next”  she continued,  “I gave the DJay $10 once to play a song especially for someone” Debra continued “and it still took an hour before she got around to it”  "They never play the songs you ask for."
“This is for Dianne” announced the DJay "with two n's"and the song said it all.  
“Like hell it is” Debra shot back.  As the music faded. “If we don’t continue to dance” she said, “Bootsie might think you are saving it for her” .

Saving what?   Hmmmm.  Oh, saving a dance for her.
 Bravery was not Bootsie's strong suit.  In the ensuing years, Bootsie and I were reckless in our mutual desire.  But Bootsie would turn tail and run rather than get in a physical altercation.  Yet she managed to incite these situations more often than not. Debra rose from her chair as Anna reached for her, and Bootsie dropped her rag and serving tray and scurried behind the bar. 
Debra could look scary, but she resembled a Cabbage Patch doll more than GI Joe.  Affectionately, I called her “Rambo Patch”. 
We had a brief respite from Bootsie which seemed to calm Debra and in turn the entire table.  I ws surprised to find myself craning my neck, looking for her.
Then a spotlight scanned the floor as a rather rotund woman, in a “cleaning lady” get up appeared.  The costume was stuffed in the front and the back.  She romanced her broom while dancing to “Don’t mess with my Toot Toot”. It was the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen, and it was Bootsie.
That night was one of the most enjoyable times I ever had

We went to the House of Pies after the club closed and were joined by half Kindred Spirit’s clientele and staff.  I ran to the ladies room… drunk.  I started singing like some four year-old I ran to the ladies room.  I started singing like some four year-old.

When I came out of the stall there she was, there I was, okay there we were. 
You need me to be the executor of your friend’s estate,” Bootsie said as she moved towards the door to let me out“; I can make that happen soon”

to be continued...

As I write and remember that precious night, I am at once sad as two of these people, half of the main players (Debra, Anna, Bootsie and I) in this saga would be taken from us forever. 

Too young and too hopeful.  They will be missed.  But they will be remembered.  I will make certain.

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