Then we went to Little Five Points, where I failed to find either a single Jeff Buckley bootleg cd or a t-shirt - but I did find the second Insane Jane cd. They also had the Hollyfaith cd that I wanted, but that will be acquired on my next trip up. We went to The Vortex for lunch and I got to meet one of Damien's best friends, a lovable little guy named Brian.
From there we drove up to Damien's Aunt Sally's house. Aunt Sally is actually not related to the family, she is in fact his mother Debbi's best friend. I got to meet her, her husband Neal, and their children Alex, Meghan, and Drew. It was fantastic spending time with these people. Sally & Neal were great. I felt sad when we left their house yesterday morning, I really wanted to spend more time getting to know them. Sally is the type you just want to hug all of the time and be silly with, and Neal and I woke up before everyone else and had coffee and conversation for an hour while the rest of the house slept. It was great.
We (Damien, Debbi, and myself) left their house and drove to the train station at Doraville and from there went to the Civic Center for the Pride parade. As soon as I got on the train, my sweet Maggie called to let me know she and Shannon were on the opposite train and would meet me at the station. We got up to the street level and waiting for us were Anjelica and Donnie, and shortly after came Maggie, Shannon, Cheryl, and Shad.
We all went walking in search of lunch and wound up at Mickey D's. From there we walked down to the start of the parade and waited for a space to walk, as it was just a little too hot to march. Lo and behold, the first really big float we saw was the Queer As Folk float that Showtime provided, which I thought was just the coolest. We were directly behind that, with a great view of this all-beef hottie dancing in a cage right in front of us. There was a cute lesbian couple behind us carrying a walking billboard proclaiming "Just Married" on it, which pleased me no end. Every few feet or so into the march the crowds on either sides of the street went nuts at the sight of them, cheering, congratulating, clapping - it was precious.
Of course, Fred Phelps and his lap dogs were there protesting with their God Hates Fags bullshit. There were about 15-20 of them. Everyone else around me seemed to just stare blankly at them, so of course I gave them the finger and a few "F U C K O F F"'s before bending over in front of them and smacking my own ass a few times, which made me feel like the king of the fucking world. What do you want from me, man - it felt REALLY good to do that. I took a few pictures of them, I'll repost this entry sooner or later once the pictures come back and insert them here somehow.
We ended up in Piedmont Park with all of the other folks, and my friend Amy met me at "The Tree". We all saw Jennifer play live that evening. There's a lot more to tell, but I'm tired and kind of frazzled at the moment.
To all of my friends that came up for Pride:
You guys absolutely made my day by being there having fun and showing your support for love, freedom, and tolerance. You mean more to me than you could possibly know. For that and all of the other gifts you bring to my life, I love you and thank you. It felt phenominal being with you all and sharing that time with you, you really pulled me through a rough time.
Now that I'm home and life is resuming its cycle all over again, I'm tasked with what to do now. There's a lot I'm trying to cope with and there are times throughout this morning alone where I've not been myself and strange things have happened, but that's another journal altogether and really not one I'm interested in writing to tell the truth. I'm doing the best I can, but there's not a lot of energy sustaining me right now.
To Damien and Debbi:
I don't know how I could have managed this weekend without the two of you there to be with and lean on. I still cannot imagine what I've done in life that was so good as to have earned either of you, let alone both. Having you by my side was what made the day for me, nothing could have topped that.
I'm all written out, I'm going to go get some cleaning done around here and avoid thinking more than I absolutely have to.