“Circle In The Sand”

“GET IN THE CAB!!! C’mon!”, Kurt screamed as I drunkenly attempted to manage the passenger door, the irate taxi driver’s patience wearing thin. “You don’t want to miss this kickin’ party, boy!” So, in the cab I went on my way to West Philly with an inebriated but handsome Penn student at 1:30 am. 1988 was a particularly hot and humid summer and I was lucky enough to sublet and apartment with a built in window unit air conditioner. As we sped down Walnut Street crossing the Schuylkill River, Kurt moved in for a kiss, his mouth tasted like tequila and cigarette smoke. I immediately thought of Scott, so far away in Myrtle Beach, working until Halloween as a Johnny Mathis mimic. I imagined Kurt was Scott and pushed deeper into a French kiss. As we approached 42nd Street, I loudly asked the cabbie to stop, and, much to Kurt’s dismay, disembarked from the vehicle to sleep off the booze. As I lay in bed, club clothes strewn about, I began sobbing, realizing how much I missed Scott. It had been a tumultuous year since Dad died suddenly last fall from a heart attack. I still can’t remember many of those weeks following his death. It took Mom months before she could really cry and begin to mourn. I spent nine months at home in Cherry Hill with Mom and my 15 year old sister. Many nights, I comforted my devastated sister as she cried herself to sleep. When I heard about a sublet opening up in May, I jumped at the chance to escape the sorrow and start anew in University City. In the morning, John-Michael rang to see if I was all right. Hazele and the gang were meeting in the basement of the Bellevue to sing at some new event called karaoke. It sounded fun and I agreed to join. I stared out the window at the alley beneath me as the temperature began to rise. A squirrel straddled a trash can lid and froze as I stared. “Just for a moment I was back at school, and felt that old familiar pain….” I reached for my Black Celebration tape and popped it into the cassette player.