The place looked the same, Katie thought to herself as she exited the bus from New York. Ten years away and Toronto looked exactly the same. Okay, sure, there were more tall condos and the stores were not the same ones that had been here when she’d left, but overall, it was the same dull, not especially exciting, city that she’d fled.
Or maybe, Katie realized, it was she who had changed so much, and her old hometown just couldn’t keep up.
She caught a streetcar to her Aunt Paula’s house. She hadn’t seen any of her family since her mother’s funeral three years previous, where, against her better judgment, she’d dressed in the only men’s clothing she still owned, a conservative black suit kept specifically for the occasion, so as not to upset anyone by her appearance. It went against her principles, but it had been her mother’s last request of her. Upon returning home she had taken scissors to the suit and then also set it aflame, just for good measure.
Continue reading “Pride Vignettes — Katie”
Heather and Mattie walked the few blocks to the street party at a quick pace. Heather hadn’t bothered to dress up especially, knowing that Mattie was always the subject of any attention when they were out anywhere together. Once they entered the throng of people, all eyes, and often hands, would be on Mattie. Heather was okay with this. She was content to let Mattie be the draw, and to bask in the glory that surrounded her, knowing that she could take the opportunity to engage people once they approached to see her beautiful companion.
They reached the crowds of Church Street and were immediately an attraction.
“Oh my god! That dog is huge! Lady, can I pat your dog?”
Continue reading “Pride Vignettes — Heather”
Terrence felt the sweat trickle down his back and pool at the top of his ass crack. It was hot, the humidity making the inside of his costume feel slimy, bits of the rubber chest covering and heavy pants chafing against his skin from the inescapable moisture.
Heads turned to stare at him as he stormed away from the vibrant crowds filling Church Street. Dusk was approaching and the street was lit up with strobes and spot lights. Rainbow flags fluttered everywhere; drag queens, sparkling with sequins and glitter, posed for selfies with tourists. Terrence realized his mistake, his miscalculation, too late to be corrected.
Continue reading “Pride Vignettes — Terrence”
The shirt was a little snug. Dianne rooted through the boxes to find another one a size up, one that didn’t fit so snugly across her ample hips. She didn’t mind her hips, “child-birthing hips” Bruce had called them once when she was pregnant with Madeline, they were part of her and part of her life story, but she knew a tight t-shirt would drive her nuts and she’d be fussing and adjusting the hem all day if she didn’t find something looser.
She tidied the boxes and shoved them back under the long plastic table, repositioning the table skirt and feathering out the pamphlets on top in an arch, making sure that a couple of boxes of tissue were within easy reach. They went through a lot of tissues at Pride. So, so many tissues.
Continue reading “Pride Vignettes — Dianne”
Darren looked himself over in his bedroom mirror. Cargo shorts, white tank top under an open, short-sleeve cotton shirt with a palm tree pattern. Sneakers and short socks. Should he wear a hat? His Mom would suggest a hat, he knew, as she kissed him good-bye and told him to have a good day with his friends. A baseball game, he had told her, hoping there was actually a game on that day, not checking the schedules himself.
He met Michael at the subway. Similarly dressed in a loose summer shirt and shorts, Michael had worn a baseball hat. Crap, Darren thought, I should have worn one, too.
Continue reading “Pride Vignettes — Darren”
Having spent a lot of time in the gay community and attending at least a few Pride events almost every year, I wanted to do something to celebrate both Pride itself and the interesting people I’ve come across. Most of the people I write about in this series are outliers, people on the periphery of the parades, festivals, and events who don’t exactly fit in, but who most definitely add to the overall atmosphere.
I started outlining this collection last summer, when it seemed as if this year’s Pride would be like all the ones before it. With no parades, marches, or street festivals to attend, no parties or dance clubs at which to gather, I wondered if stories celebrating those activities would even be relevant for Pride 2020. But unique personalities are always worth celebrating, and hopefully by this time next year, we’ll all be back out on the streets, sun-burnt and glitter-covered, reveling in the love and acceptance.
In the meantime, I offer you seven stories of the (perhaps not typical) Pride experience. Running each morning from June 22nd to June 28th, they are short bursts of “flash” fiction, each a quick, fun read, coming in at under 1000 words, and offering a unique perspective on the diverse and amazing people celebrating Pride.
Please stop by each day, starting Monday, June 22nd, for a new story.
June 22 — Darren
June 23 — Dianne
June 24 — Terrence
June 25 — Heather
June 26 — Katie
June 27 — Beth
June 28 — Willis