Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last dance

I heard today at dinner that someone died onboard the ship a couple days ago, apparently he was 27. Everyone was discussing what a terrible tragedy it was.

If I die one day aboard a gay cruise, do not be sad. As soon as I heard the news, I was reminded of the immortal words of Liza Minnelli.

“I used to have a girlfriend
known as Elsie
With whom I shared
Four sordid rooms in Chelsea

She wasn't what you'd call
A blushing flower...
As a matter of fact
She rented by the hour.

The day she died the neighbours
came to snicker:
"Well, that’s what comes
from to much pills and liquor."

But when I saw her laid out like a Queen
She was the happiest corpse
I'd ever seen.

I think of Elsie to this very day.
I'd remember how'd she turn to me and say:
"What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret."

And as for me,
I made up my mind back in Chelsea,
When I go, I'm going like Elsie.

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn't that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!”

Then later tonight, I went to Matt Yee’s piano bar show and near the end of the set he sang Luthor Vandross’ “Dance with My Father”. He related a story about how when his father died four years ago he scattered his ashes by a tree in Haiti. He mentioned how he goes back there from time to time and feels a connection with his father once again.

Last year when he went, the tree was now right beside a zip line and you could hear Caribbean music playing, and he didn’t feel the connection and he wondered if he had lost the connection forever.

This year when he went back earlier this week, the tree had been cut down.

As he walked back to the ship, he saw friends who hugged him, and he thought of his partner of 15 years and all the friends he’s made as he travelled the world. And then he began to cry, the show stopped, and he cried.

And I cried too, for the end of this vacation, for parents, for friends, for lovers who are gone, for lovers I don’t have, for injustice, for happiness, for the man who died, for the chance to be a part of that moment.

And this is why I return; for this moment to share with 3,700 people with the same experience. To relate, to feel, to forget, to remember, to laugh, to cry. And to feel the circle of life and humanity tighten and squeeze in just a bit.

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