A month after the shooting, I held a yard sale. Out with the self-help books, the roller skates, the painting of the fortune-telling cat. Have to make enough money to get out of Orlando.
A pink woman crisscrossed my lawn, a Margaritaville visor shielding her broad face from the sun as she connected the dots: The Judy Garland vinyl, the stack of old Vogues, me in my denim cutoffs sipping a mimosa at 9AM. She tilted her head my way, and maybe in that moment put it all together. He’s gay. He’s available. He must have something to say about Pulse.
Was I friends with anyone who was murdered that night, the visor was curious. I smiled so I wouldn’t lose her. It was too early to talk about dead bodies, however, was she interested in a drink or perhaps a gently-used cocktail shaker I can’t figure out how to open, though I’m sure if you just run it under hot water…
She was proud of me, she said.
So no to the shaker?
Proud of us.
I had to make enough money to get out of Orlando.
Pulse, the bar with the watered down drinks and the impossible parking and the annoying chain-mail curtain you had to push through to enter, was gone. People like us were wanted gone.
So what was it that she was proud of? That I didn’t die? Or that I found a way to keep living? I know what she wanted, it’s what everyone wanted when they gave me their sad looks.
Tell me about it you poor, poor boy.