After an hour in the labyrinth of the French Quarter, Elizabeth remembered, “I think I know a place where we can dance—it’s near the water.” So we moved like a herd of cats towards what turned out to be a polka bar. “Perhaps I should have been more specific,” I said to no one who could hear me above the drone of accordions. My friends drank dark beer from a big boot being passed around. Elizabeth said, “Just let this happen to you!” Then she went off shrieking and leaping around the dance floor like it was electrically charged, bumping and battling for space. Lisa yelled over the din directly into my ear: GOOD GOD, THE POLISH ARE A CLUMSY PEOPLE.
Terri, Helen, Connie and I decided to find the gay bar instead. By now it was raining, so I shed my sandals and ventured barefoot into the late twilight. “There are diseases on the sidewalks here,” said Terri. “There is certain death in my shoes,” I countered.
Four sore blocks later, Helen said this whole night was beginning to feel like a pilgrimage. Terri said we should be getting close. Then Elizabeth was running at us from up ahead, “It’s up here!!” We had no idea how she got ahead of us. “My head feels like 11:59pm in 1999,” Connie said. There was no cover, so we all went in, absorbed by a purple haze of music.
The fog machine made us cough so Terri bought a medicinal round of drink. We danced wild and primitive to a pulsing thrum of ‘90s rock with one hundred of our closest, sweatiest new friends who indiscriminately gyrated against any gender. A tall skinny kid limboed into me . . . he asked my name and I said my name is too old for you . . . he looked affronted. WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? Well, of course that is the question ‘xactly I said… ah come on he smiled Sid Viciously don’t you wanna dance with me… sure ok I’ll dance with you and you and you and you dervishing around everybody until a little Filipino man constricted me. His eyes glittered and his hands slithered but he couldn’t hold me so he conjoined Connie who later worried that some sort of fully-clothed consummation might have occurred and Elisabeth admitted she, too, most definitely felt his filipenis, so hey, maybe we are all sister wives now.
Only Helen made the final leg of the journey with me, into the dripping wet night with naked feet sore from conflagration . . . stepping over the No Trespass chain onto an old loading dock tilting into the delta. We watched reverently on our knees as the Moon revealed a dabbled path of light across the water in the first hour of morning. Before the perfectly balanced scales of the cosmos, we silently spoke the names that weighed heavily on our hearts. We tossed flowers of their faces into ripples that widened with grace and absolution on the equinox.
~ Leeanne Seaver © 2012