“Hell,” TBB said to me, “I’d wear a wig. A huge, beautiful wig, hair so high it lifts me towards God. A wig, and eyelashes and even a great gown. It would be wonderful!”
She was in a chain motel across the bay from San Francisco where she has been working hard as the professional she is, managing a crew and a ship, making sure that things are done right. This head-down focus, all sensible leadership, has been her work for most of the year.
Tonight, though, was Halloween, and across the country she reached out to me, feeling the pull.
“If you were here,” she told me, “we would be singing showtunes and cutting a swath through the city. Tonight, tomorrow night, who cares. Halloween is for amateurs who come out once a year, but The Drama Queens, well, we can make magic anytime.”
TBB and I had each other’s backs in performance from literally the first day we met, going on stage in front of 400 people with no rehearsal. Since then, we have had two decades of work, families and such, that demanded we keep our head down, serve other people, be “appropriate” and tame.
Magic was close to the surface tonight, the pull of playful touching both of us. We don’t just play powerful witches from time to time, we are always shape-shifting change-eaters who just usually keep ourselves hidden under placid wraps.
The pull of our mother in the sky, of the huge and playful transformational energy that she put in our hearts so long ago, bubbled up in TBB, through the stalwart engineer, almost demanding to come out in sequins and brilliance. This happens when the queer gets high, like when she walked into a legendary gay bar in Key West with a few shipmates and they were stunned to have her treated like an honoured guest by a drag mother who knew of her accomplishments.
Last night, though, the queer explosion had to be virtual, an open and beautiful heart crossing the country via electrons. She would go and eat at a restaurant and I would try for a party that seemed to have fizzled, leaving me with a $3 Boo-Rito and a jug of drink infused with real mouse droppings. Icky & scary, indeed.
She will make a bit of a pilgrimage across the bay, but without the affirmation and safety of another damn Drama Queen to create safe space to go big, bigger, biggest.
That flash of magic came, though, from inside the huge and powerful heart that she so often has to box up and keep under the bunk, hidden away for the sake of professionalism. She is a real pro, of course, grown up and eminently sensible, but she is also a woman with a trans history, a woman who needs to pile up her hair — who cares where it came from — and sing with that shining, shimmering queer voice.
It as lovely to share a that magic flash across a country, knowing that someone still has my back after all these years, the huge energy we let forth together not gone, just packed away, waiting for a moment of fertile ground, affirmation and play.
Neither of us got a big, dramatic Halloween last night, but we did share a transformation ritual, revealing and being seen beyond the role we each end up playing in a society that doesn’t really get the joke.