“For Tonight”

The line went down New York Avenue that balmy August evening as The Saratoga was the top discotheque for gays and their admirers in Atlantic City in 1986. As we leapt from Bill’s old Toyota Celica, which barely ran, I sensed something splendid in the air tonight. Nancy Martinez was to perform her huge club hit, “For Tonight” and there was an electric excitement in the air. I leaned over to my bestie, Cindy, and gave her a fast squeeze as we quickly moved through the line and into the club. With its fake tropical décor, so reminiscent of the 80’s, I scanned the room and saw casino manager friend John there.
“Well, if it isn’t the tall willowy queen herself! Ready for action?” Even as HIV took its toll on his body, John was deeply tanned, hair and moustache coiffed to perfection, decked out in a Bill Blass summer weight white suit. John instinctively bought me my drink, a rum and coke, and we watched the 200 plus crowd bouncing to “Call Me Mr Telephone”. I noticed Cindy had disappeared and, after about 10 minutes, found her alone on the outdoor patio crying. “What’s up, Miss Thang?”, I said. Knowing she could tell me anything and I would always keep her confidence she carefully confessed, “My period is two months late.” I thought for a moment. I knew her creep of an ex was definitely out of the picture so I offered to go to the clinic with her. She turned to me and cautiously queried, “I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I know, if you’re there, I will get through it somehow.” Looking up, I saw a soaring seagull amongst the stars as the full fiery moon snuck behind a cloud. I reached for Cindy’s hand.