As I drove down Route 6, I turned off the air conditioning, rolled down the windows, and let the salt air penetrate the car. My hair blew in the wind. The noise made me turn up the music to defining proportions. Intrusions I normally did not enjoy. But this was Route 6, on Cape Cod, on the way to P-Town. I grinned like a fool.
I continued to seek out the pink triangles, rainbows, pro-choice bumper stickers. They grew in ratio to the general car population. I grinned wider. Our not so secret migration on Friday was on. The traffic was irrelevant. The week I had planned for so long had started.
One year out of a long, unkind relationship, I had gathered all my courage, as well as saved all of my spare change to spend a week at a woman’s B&B in Provincetown: Gay Mecca. One week of freedom from work, freedom from judgement: I was ready.
The smell of the salt air hit strongest at the top of the hill overlooking P-Town. I always wanted to just pull over and relish this view. So I did! This was, after all, my week. Before me was the winding end of Route 6, the split to 6A into town. On the left was the bay, full of boats, decorated with delightfully small and intensely New England cottages. The shore curved out to the lighthouse, protecting the harbor. That ubiquitous phallic symbol, the Provincetown Monument stood up on a hill in the center of town. The wharf jutted into the harbor and tended to the fishing boats. New England gray, white and sand.
To the right were the dunes, leading down to the ocean. Green and white mixed in rolling hills and secret places. This year I would ride the entire length of the bike trails and savor their fragile beauty.
Grinning wildly, I hopped back into the RX7 and cranked up Donna Summer. Get ready P-Town, I am here!
After the mandatory cruise down Commercial Street to comments of “nice cah” I settled in at Gabriel’s. Right in the middle of town, all women, hot tub, this place was perfect. The room was on the small side, but cozy.
My first dinner was another staple: Pizza at Spiritus. Greasy normally, I overdosed and went for the linguisa – regional specialty. During my walk from Gabriel’s, I reveled in the end of day crowd. The straight tourists were thinning out and we were taking over. Women holding hands, men walking arm in arm, outrageous costumes and skimpy attire, we were everywhere. I caught the fever of the sheer freedom of being where we could be ourselves. Intoxicating.
I had carefully chosen my wardrobe for this first Friday night. There was an image I wanted to maintain, to create: Ready to dance, feminine, but strong and caring. Walking confidently into the Pied Piper, I felt full, brave and ready for that special dance, that glance that would confirm the image.
What I did not expect was to see that glance from someone working at the Pied as soon as I walked in.
She was a waitress. Young, about 23 with a vibrancy that someone living the easy life of college has. Dressed in cutoff blue jeans that were frayed to the best possible point and a Hawaiian print blouse, she was casual, but perfectly ironed and groomed. Blond and tan, her blue-gray eyes bored into me. Then there was a smile, a dazzling smile.
The smile drifted over to me. “Hi, want something?” She paused and added, “to drink that is?”
Nice line. I laughed and nodded. “Fizzy water, please”
“Want a lime or lemon, or a cherry in that?”
“Lime will do for now.”
As she turned to go to the bar, I noticed how those cut offs really fit. I am a butt girl, always was and always will be. This one was nice – round and a good size. I do not like a twig, give me some curves.
She reappeared with my drink. I paid, tipped and thanked her. Someone else called out for drinks, rudely and, rolling her eyes, she was off. That gave me time to check out the room. The Pied had once again done a bit of redecorating and the dance floor was, thankfully, bigger. The DJ surveyed the room from the balcony and lights were playing colors over the women dancing. Out the back door was my favorite part of the bar: the double patio. Leading to the beach on the bay side, it let you cool off, talk in normal tones and enjoy the salt air. This was part of the Cape Cod mystique.
Couples were talking, hugging, making out and showing the great diversity of our culture. What a delight to see. I saw a few friends and chatted for a while, danced a bit with them. When I finished one long set of dancing, the waitress reappeared by my side with a cup of fizzy water, smiling.
“Like the way you danced” she admitted.
“Thanks, don’t suppose you are allowed?” The owner of the Pied was fairly legendary for being unkind to employees and tyrannical.
“Later on when it quiets down. I would like to dance with you. I am Martha, by the way, and you are Becky.” She smiled a very sexy smile and wandered back into the crowd before I could come up with a smart retort or shut my mouth.
I watched her as she moved through the crowd. Cute, charming, she did well handling the drunken passes and maneuvering in the packed house. She caught me watching and winked. I blushed.
At one point there was a disturbance near the bathrooms. Someone had locked herself in and would not come out. Her partner was very drunk and out of control. And Martha was trying to calm her down. Not a good idea, the angry lover was big, tough and violent. I rushed down there and did my get in the middle act. So did the owner, whose power to “86” anyone surpassed even her butchness.
Once all was calm again, Martha grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, “Thank you” kissed my neck and went back to the bar behind the owner. Chills, just chills, and then the fire. I shook my head and went out to the patio.
As things eventually thinned out, I went looking for her. I found her, without a tray, at my side. “Hello, wanna dance?”
We did, oh boy, we did. Eyes to eyes, mutual smiles to the pulse beating music. Dancing was easy, mutual and downright fun. It became more than a prelude, it was a showing of how we could enjoy each other. We took a break and went off to the patio. I learned more about her, a business graduate student enjoying a last summer of freedom before joining the ranks of the working slobs, fulfilling a dream summer in P-Town. Bright, cute and a good dancer. Wow.
Last dance, Donna Summer and we had the brief flash of a slow dance. That settled it.
“I am staying at Gabriel’s. Will you come back with me?” I said this into her ear, afraid to look in her eyes.
Her hand moved up my back to my neck. She bit my ear and said, “Of course.”
We both leaned back, and smiled. I reached up to gather her face in my hands, looking in her eyes and kissed her. We ignored the quickening of the music that made the other couples pull apart. She moaned as we kissed. I moved slightly to put my leg between hers.
“Let’s go” I grabbed her hand and headed for the door. I do not remember the walk to the B&B, just that we never stopped touching each other. Once in the room, clothes were shed quickly.
The first time it was rushed, important, focused. Later that night we would gradually slow down, just to heat up again, and again. Waking up to her sweet face brought out all the fire, but tempered with a dose of reality. Ten years difference, two different states, a fling in P-Town. “Enjoy it, girl.” I told myself.
We enjoyed the
week, I started to call her my cure. The sex was great, the discussions
heated. But at the end of the week we parted fiends, never to
see each other again. But the memories of the waitress, oh my.