It was 4PM when I got into the Lyft and greeting my driver. We’ll call him Adam.
After the normal convo about where I was headed, we started to discuss plans for the evening of New Year’s Eve. He mentioned going to the Go Bar. After a bit of conversation, I learned that this bar – which I hadn’t been to – was closing after this New Year’s Celebration. We talked about the varying thoughts on reasons for this; it was a successful bar 20 years running, but there were multiple complaints about noise from people nearby… from a known club… that’s been there for 20 years.
You can only imagine the kind of people who would do this.
This was especially concerning for Adam because that bar was one of very few regular gathering spaces for LGBTQIA+ folks and I felt that pain of a world where you constantly fight to make your own space only to have it evaporate with the morning mist and always being at risk of doing so at any time.
We exchanged some information and later on that night, I went to the bar for the first and last time it would exist. Every person there was talking, dancing (to damn good music, I might add), and generally being enjoyable. There wasn’t a single unpleasant person on the premises. I bought a t-shirt and ran into a few familiar faces and made friends with new ones.
I watched it all like the final fluttering heartbeats before a flatline. Only hours before, a friend who is chronically ill and facing their own mortality told me that a letter I sent them cemented their decision to go out and have fun even as they felt the life seeping from their bones. They went out and had fun not knowing how long they’ll live beyond that night.
My hands should be covered in third-degree burns from all of these dying embers I’ve been carrying.
Happy New Year, Go Bar. Happy New Year and may I find somewhere worthy to put these embers.