Julia Trimboli and Lisa Leibow

Julia Trimboli

Story Excerpt
By Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Inspiration piece

On the top deck of the ferry, wind whipped through Brad’s hair as he sat on a bench, recalling that weekend long ago when he had clasped Bill’s hand in public for the first time. Throngs of men had strolled arm-in-arm, relaxed, nobody looking over a shoulder.

The port appeared on the horizon. Brad stretched his arms wide and leaned back, inhaling the sea breeze as he pictured Commercial Street where scores of glitzy trannies strutted in front of the cabarets. A red head whose sequined gown had showed off bulging biceps had snaked a feather boa around his and Bill’s necks.

The drag queen’s knobby Adam’s apple had bounced as she crooned. “Let me entertain you. Let me make you smile…”

Brad jumped out of reverie at the blare of the fog horn, signaling arrival into Provincetown. This time when he disembarked, he walked his bike alone in a crowd of thirty-somethings lugging diaper bags and pushing strollers.

Next to him, a golden-blonde dad hoisted a caramel-skinned toddler to his shoulders. “Look, there’s Ben and Jerry’s. How about some chunky monkey?”

The kid slapped her dad’s head and shrieked, “No ice cream. Cupcakes!”

The little girl’s other father, a stocky guy with short dreads smiled at his daughter who was still kicking and howling on the blonde’s shoulders. “No worries, sweetie. Don’t your Dads always give you what you want?”

The hair on the back of Brad’s neck stood on end. He hopped on his Schwinn and pedaled away from the crowd. A row of art galleries led to a solitary, tired-looking transvestite in front of the cabaret. The Shangri-La of his youth looked like any old beach town. A Family Pride banner spanning Commercial Street near the post office made his heart feel as if it pumped blood laced with shards of glass. He rode past the Inn at the Moors, as far as the road took him. He left his bike, kicked off his shoes, and walked the peninsula, hopping over pails, shovels, and broods building drip castle cities. The sand was fleeting dust between his toes. He scanned the stretch of beach, longing to find frolicking lovers in Speedos. Water and light surrounded him as a lone seagull took flight from the tip of the world.