The LIRR train had just rumbled out of Ronkonkoma. Eric and I decided, wisely, to take the earlier train out of Ronkonkoma than to wait for the train out of Sayville which doesn’t leave until after another hour.

I am sitting in the front corner seat with a picture window right in front of me. The pitter patter of the rain drips diagonally on the wet glass. The trees passed whirr by in a blaze of green. The rain clouds remain in the horizon, ominous of another stormy afternoon.

I had spent the weekend out in Fire Island. I could only laugh at the fact that I chose this weekend out of all the other weekends that I could have gone. It must have been the wettest and coldest weekend out there this summer. Funny how Eric and I chose to spend another $100 for an air conditioned room when it was a cool 50s outdoors. It felt more like an October night than it did an August one. Then, again, it might as well have been wise since keeping the air at 68 made it feel warmer in our room than it was outside. Also, the a.c blocked out the noise from the tea dances right below our window. (After all, the Botel was in the heart of it all.)

‘Time flies when you’re wet and cold,” I overheard this homo say on the ferry from the Pines into Sayville. How apropos considering that I am now looking back at this very short vacation.

It was a wet weekend. I couldn’t say that I wasn’t unprepared for it. I always say, on the surface as jest but what in reality is a quiet affirmation of what bothers me to the core, that I have bad travel karma. The perfect Thursday couldn’t have been any farther from what happened Friday. Of course, the tornado warning issued in the Bronx that day was ominous of things to come. (It should be noted that tornado warnings issued in the Bronx are just as rare as the sight of a mirage in Midtown Manhattan.) The storm clouds formed a formidable blanket of gray over the summer horizon. Temperatures were dipping by the hour. I packed a Fire Island wardrobe of tanktops, cargo shorts and a skimpy swimsuit. (I ended up buying a sweatshirt on the only clothing store in the Pines aptly called All American Boy.) I realized the folly of not bringing thicker clothes already knowing that it was always 10 degrees cooler in the island than it was back in the city. (The forecast was a rainy 78 in the city which made it in the cool 60s in the Pines. It was even colder with the storm winds blowing out from the open sea.) But, the reality is that as much as I have bad travel karma, I love the whole idea of traveling. I was determined to make a good vacation weekend out of this Pines stay.

I needed a vacation anyway.

Eric and I walked into the Grove for dinner at the pizza joint that night. Of course, we walked through the Meatrack, this bucolic landscape of groves of trees and dunes that connects the Pines and the Grove together. This spot is notorious for its shameless cruising trails and on-the-spot sex. There hardly were people there that time so it was uneventful. My chicken parm dinner with Eric (who had pizza) was more of an event than our walk through the Meatrack was.

We headed back to the Pines for Low Tea where I bumped into Tom and the gang from my house share last summer. Honestly, I’m kinda regretting not doing the share this summer. Knowing how much I love Fire Island and realizing now how expensive it is to bunk out there, a share is always the smartest way to go. I was happy bumping into them. Tom was the only guy I really liked back in the house then and I was happy to see him again. (It’s always a dramafest when you put 12 highly-strung gay guys under one roof in a sexually-charged island.)

Then, Eric and I headed back to the Grove for the Funderwear party.

I knew it was going to be fun when we bumped into all these hot boys waiting for the water jitney that goes to the Grove. (We later realized that they all worked at the Pines since we saw them all the following day at the restaurants and the coffee shop and the Botel.) Most remarkable was this one guy who wore matching tanktop and undies, cowboy boots and nothing more (except for a wallet that was hidden in his undies which gave him an even bigger bulge.)

I didn’t expect to see a big crowd at the Tides considering the weather. But I must have underestimated the msucle queens who are resolute in running around in their skivvies. I wore my gray DKNY bikini that night. Eric wore his blue boxer briefs. (Were they Hanes?!) Chris, an acquaintance, was there too in his tighty whities. There was a bar with a gogo boy and a dance floor full of almost naked homos. But the spot where the funderwear lay was in the back room downstairs. I must say I missed this party from last summer and coming out here this time to be in it was worth it.

I hooked up with this tall boy in blue swimtrunks with a really big dick in the corner. (It was the same corner where I lost my $20 that was hooked to my undies’ garter strip.) I also made out with this tall, thin, buzzed twink in his blue undies. He was such a dreamboat. There were other nameless but not-really-faceless guys I fooled around with. The buff, old guy I was lusting after all night long. The bearded, salt-and-pepper hairy guy with the unzipped sweatshirt nicely framing his exposed pecs. The thin, dark-haired twink in his white boxers. I don’t think I was up to any more intense playing after coming that one time.

But it was 3 am and Chris mentioned a foam party at Sunsets on the Bay, this other bar. I have heard of foam parties from these straight ex-frat boys I work with but have never been to one. Eric has never been to one either. We giddily went and were floored by what we saw. There were the underwear party boys frolicking in a sea of foam. It really was a sight to behold. Naked boys wet and wild in a sensual sudfest. We were both dreading the long walk home being cold from the foam but the sight was too inviting to resist. So, once again, Eric and I stripped to our skivvies and dove into what seemed to be what the insides of a laundry machine looked like if you were washing dirty undies and horny boys.

I’m amazed that we found our way back after such a night of debauchery, We were wet from the rain and clumps of wet sand clung to our feet (since we took the safer, less-scenic beach route over the Rack) as we reached our room. All I could remember was light flowing through the thin sheet that served as blinds creeping through our window as I lay to sleep. Day had broken when our night had just ended.

We woke to a cloudy Saturday. I had already resigned myself to a sunless weekend. But what I was unprepared for was the onset of the cold. It felt more like the fall than it did the summer. What made things worse were the winds that I had to buy a sweatshirt to keep me warm.

It was a cold weekend.

Eric loved to take naps so I was allowed time alone to walk and stop and think. I usually walked out to the edge of the dock where there were two benches with the loving inscription, “In Memory of Philip/ From James.” I sat on the edge of one bench and stared straight out, a large Starbucks coffee from Bay Bar in hand.

I remember the usually calm waters of the bay being very choppy. What used to appeal to me as inviting in their rest were now sinister in their restlessness. The storm clouds were a daunting presence, looming and threatening with the onslaught of very heavy rain. The boats tied to the dock flailed back and forth in their places. Very few people were scuttering about, reasonably choosing to remain indoors in this weather. I wanted to walk out and see something different. I saw something unexpected. I saw the waters grinding into each other, endlessly out into the open ocean. I saw the skies above seemingly forever gray, resolute in their blanket of darkness. I saw the winds swooping down upon the island in unabashed fury. I saw, for the umpteenth time in my life, something bigger than myself.

I went out to Fire Island looking for sun and sand and sex. I come home bringing with me this quiet realization that I am not the world. I am so used to overstimulating myself in this big city and biting into a routine that smacks of egoistic adulation, personal gratification and self-masturbation. I have worked really hard and played even harder all summer long. This past weekend was the first break I had and I come out of it tendered with perspective. Yes, I live for myself but I am not only about myself. Yes, I can plan but I cannot execute without being affected by somehting by and beyond me. Yes, I can calculate but, ultimately, I risk. (This world is full of risks.) I live in a world of the unexpected.

It was a cold and wet weekend, albeit quick, but I come home with a heart warm with meaning.

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