Friday, May 27, 2011

They Really Are A Scree-um

In 1998, I'd been with Joe #1 for three years. My first real boyfriend, I already knew our relationship wasn't going anywhere. Joe was older and set in his ways, and I really believe he instinctively kept (and still keeps) an emotional distance because of his HIV status. But I enjoyed being a couple with Joe and, yes, I loved him. I still love him. That was the year his sister was the highest bidder at an HIV-AIDS fundraising auction.

Liz invited us to to participate in her prize. I didn't realize at the time how my life was about to change. I was simply looking forward to a fun weekend in a city I'd never visited before, and spending time with Liz and her husband. Joe and his sister have always been the close, and I can't look at Liz without thinking, "this is Joe as a woman." They have the same sense of humor and the same streak of crazy that keeps me from ever getting too comfortable around either one of them on their own. When they're together I keep a constant state of alert.

After landing in Portland, we freshened up at Liz's house as some of their friends started to arrive. Eight of us climbed into a chauffeured van and headed toward the city.

The part of town where we stopped looked transitional, and we walked up to the porch of an ornate old house, run down yet grand and stately. I imagined at one time in Portland's history that this was the home of an important family, a family that moved long ago to another part of town when they noticed their neighborhood beginning to decline. I could sense history, and foreboding.

The others must have sensed it too as Liz broke the tension with the Addams Family theme song. "They're creepy and their kooky, mysterious and spooky..." Our laughter must have alerted the inhabitants to our presence on their doorstep. It stopped abruptly as the heavy front door unlatched, then started swinging open on creaky hinges. As it did, opera music began pouring out from somewhere inside.

I was half expecting Lurch to greet us. What I wasn't expecting was Uncle Fester's gay brother.