their first ‘out’ Halloween.
They go to New Orleans because not only is it the most fun-debauch city in the South, but also the most accepting of all types of queer.
He’s come out as a crossdresser but transsexual is not an articulated option. Yet.
He dresses up as a femme fatale secretary with breast forms, blouse, tight pencil skirt and 5-inch black patent, Mary Jane fuck-me stilettos. She’s a Southern belle vampire. He’s nervous, especially riding down the elevator and walking through the posh hotel lobby but no one gives a second glance their way. And once they step onto Bourbon Street, they are given mouth-to-mouth pink shots within minutes. Between street shots, topless women, beads thrown for baring tits and all-around Halloween debauchery, he talks to loads of people and she is given a steady supply of absinthe and whiskey. They go to countless bars and laugh, dance, drink and chat. At the oldest bar in the Quarter, she sits on his secretary lap and they share a beer and a sweet, quiet kiss amidst rowdy, drunk-as-fuck jocks, professionals, costumed insanity and constantly thumping beats.
It’s after 4AM and they’re walking back to the hotel. His feet HURT from the heels and he needs to pee. Badly. She suggests he take off his heels so they can get back faster and he’ll be more comfortable. He refuses. They trudge on. He asks how much farther. He wonders if there’s not a place to stop. She tries coaxing him again to take his heels off.
“It’ll save time. We still have a good eight to ten blocks.”
“Okay. But I really doubt there’ll be a place to stop.”
She looks in all directions as they walk, wanting to relieve him of foot pain and bladder discomfort but along these smegma-lined streets that reek of old booze, there’s nothing but residences and an occasional bodega that may or may not be open.
“You’re walking too fast!”
“I’m sorry…I was trying to get us back quick.”
She turns around and he’s many feet behind her, his body language reads total exhaustion.
“What are you doing? We’re almost there…only 10 more minutes, I think.”
“I’m in pain. It hurts so much.”
She’s mad. The only option is to keep going. But he keeps stopping, which wouldn’t be so bad except he’s about to piss himself. She’s damn frustrated that he won’t hur— no, she’s frustrated because she has become intolerant. She can’t be nice, offer to support him, take some of his weight off those damn stilettos. She’s too concerned wondering if this is how it’s going to be from now. His costume isn’t just a costume, after all.
They argue back and forth, he’s too slow, she’s too fast. She’s fed up with his complaining. He takes off his heels. As soon as he does, the defeat he feels is palpable; he says he just wanted to begin and end the night in his heels and he cries. She is finally silenced and her face discloses her sadness and guilt: the heels represent a self-imposed test that he would have passed if not for her.
They deal with their own grief and regret as they silently ride the elevator and enter their room. He immediately goes to the bathroom then to the balcony to smoke. He looks down at the NOLA cityscape as dawn breaks. She has crashed before he finishes his first smoke. She wakes up after some hours to puke up excess absinthe. She wipes the tears induced by vomiting and looks at her tired eyes in the mirror, ringed with Halloween makeup and studies the countertop: makeup strewn about, bras, underwear and various outfit incarnations.
Her face mirrors the trepidation that her heart can no longer contain.
She doesn’t know if she can be the supportive girlfriend she’s been as (s)he figures out who (s)he wants to be.