We missed the 8:00 ferry and had an hour to burn before the next boat to the mainland arrived. We sat on a dock, overlooking the Long Island Sound, and watched lesbians dance in a little bar that was at the water’s edge.
Barry White crooned as the ladies downed their beer. Brian rejected my offer for a nightcap, noting that the girls in the nearby bar, although festive, would likely want to fight with us, just because we were men on their turf.
A little boat came floating up to the dock. It was not the ferry we were waiting for, but was what the locals on Fire Island call water taxis. Two young men stepped off the boat and tied it to the dock. Moments later, at least a dozen homosexuals and their admirers poured off the boat. “How and the heck did so many people fit onto that little boat?” Brian asked, “It looks like one of those clown cars where a million people jump out of.”
We smoked our American Spirit menthol cigarettes and flicked the butts into the choppy waters, moments after the water taxi sped off. As 9 p.m. approached, many others joined us on the dock to wait for the ferry.
“I cannot believe how dead it is out here,” I noted. “It must be the recession. This is Friday night and this island looks like Gilligan’s.” Brian brushed the remaining sand from his legs and pulled up his socks as the boat slowly approached in the darkness of the water. Not a single person spoke. We all filed on the ferry without speaking words. Water lapping the side of the boat was all that could be heard.
We went to the top of the boat so that we could feel the cool air on our face as we headed home. We watched as the last of the passengers entered, and just as I took a deep breath, a ferocious voice pierced the silence of the evening. A butch lesbian with silver hair was standing on the dock, yelling to her friends who were leaving Fire Island—
“See ya later, Joey!” She yelled like a construction worker over a jackhammer. “I enjoyed having them, but I have to admit, I don’t mind seeing them go.” She chuckled like Santa, and actually grabbed her belly when she laughed. I reasoned she was saying good-bye to children—nieces and nephews perhaps. Whoever it was on that boat she was yelling to did not have the courage to respond to the raspy cries that seemed to shake the boat we were crowded onto.
“I better not show up on that Facebook either,” she cried, like an old dude who was not familiar with the new, quiet ways humans make contact with one another.
On the ride over the sound, I looked up and saw the Big Dipper for the first time in many, many years. It’s so bright in New York City that we cannot see the constellations. I rested my head on the seat behind me and wondered if there are lesbians on other planets.