I am listening to Katrina and the Waves sing Walking on Sunshine. Exactly a week after the start of the heatwave, I am left craving for some sunshine to bathe in on this very hazy Saturday morning. No, not the sunshine that she sings about but the real deal. I want to lay out on the Promenade with my shirt off and read Vanity Fair. (It has become such a desirable alternative to doing laundry and cleaning my apt during this summertime.)

But I guess it is better that I just stay in. I’d probably not be able to get a nice tan anyway (if there was sun out) since I’d be quite shy to take my shirt off when I can still feel my dinner from last night bulging in my belly. I had a late night dinner with my friend, Henry, at Grand Sichuan in Chelsea and had a LOT of Aui Zhou Spicy Chicken. (I luv Chinese food — the really good, tasty kind, needless to say — so much that I overindulge in it to the point of inconvenience. Ah, the story of my life in most cases.)

Herny is one of my really good friends in this city where acquaintances simply fizzle out and relationships, despite being more deliberate than random, are usually fleeting. He is Asian-American of Hongkong Chinese descent who grew up in Florida and moved to the city more than 15 years ago (which was right after finishing college.) I met him right after I broke up with Eric, this Jewish lawyer who was my first bf more than 5 years ago, when Eric’s friend dragged me to all these different gay spaces to meet people so that I could get over my first (real) heartbreak. I met Henry then and we’ve been hanging out since. He studied to be an engineer but his resume runs the gamut from fashion house whore to corporate slave to “consultant” (which is just another term for temp.) I luv that he’s been around and respect the edge that he carries owing to all these different kinds of experiences. His range can swing from mellow museum homo to leather top bitch. I find it hilarious and comforting.

Over Sichuan chicken and pork soup dumplings, we had easy dinner conversation. It’s always great when one can simply sit back and enjoy the food and silly banter that comes with friendly dinner. This is such a welcome counterpoint to all those date dinners that necessitate intelligent conversation and inhibited laughter. (First date dinners are always the worst since the need to impress is upped to a notch over crazy with the expensive entree more often than not being left half-eaten and where pregnant pauses become more like white noise than mere gaps in conversation. Of course, these kinds of first dates always end up being the last too.) Over bouts of laughter and chopstick chatter, we talked about work and bitched about boys. We made fun of our own hopeless gym routines. We planned vacations that will never happen. We talked of loves we haven’t found and booty calls that are always around. We spoke of Thanksgiving and of families. He asked me about my dad and my family. (My dad has since survived his triple bypass surgery and is now on post-op rehab.) He has lost his own 2 years ago to a heart attack.

My family is still the same. I don’t think families ever change except that everyone grows old. We do talk more now though. I just don’t know if that’s owing to the maturity that comes with age or with the breaking down of walls that comes with a family emergency such as my dad’s heart illness. In any case, I like my family a lot now. We’ve moved on beyond the sadness of small talk to more open conversation and have actually even enjoyed some genuine bouts of hearty laughter together. We will never expose our bare souls to each other (since we were never brought up that way) but I believe that we have come to respect each other’s grown-up lives (which is already a big step knowing how we do.) I used to be asked all the time about girlfriends and marriage (since 2 of my siblings are already married and my oldest brother has a steady gf) but, recently, they’ve stopped. (I also find it funny how my aunts who used to buy me shirts that are medium men’s sizes — which I never wear because they’re too big — now go around buying large shirts at Bloomie’s boys which snug me just right. Luv it.) Henry says they already know that I’m gay. I don’t know for sure yet but I’m not pushing the buttons. I’m still enjoying and getting used to these welcome changes.

I also told him how, as I grow older, I realize that what seems to matter more, and not that it should matter most, is not the family we were born into but the family that we create around us in the space we spend our adult lives in. He paused to gather the thought in my statement and its heavy allusion. Then, we were back to our usual bitchy banter.

Blood is thicker than water which is why the latter is more fun to swim in.