She and Ellen wandered the cobblestone streets of Boston.
They stood in sunshine that fingered its way down through the tile roofs and alleys of the old brick buildings.
They went to Man Ray on the weekends, the club across the river where they were the straight girls amid the gay men.
They danced with abandon and without worry. The music was loud and they absorbed it into their bodies and their bones. It pulsed in their blood. The watched the beautiful men dancing with each other under the flashing indoor lights.
The women’s room was in the basement. They emerged from their stalls to find tall muscled men in drag reapplying mascara.
Back across the river, on the sunlit street by DeLuca’s, they talked with their Man Ray friends, their faces shadowed with the worry that was beginning to creep through the alleys and the streets.
More than twenty years later and she’s remembering those months, those years. She’s picturing again the basement of Man Ray, where next to the women’s room was a narrow window set into a brick wall, a window that gave onto a sealed-off 1950’s living room, a perfect movie set living room, cut off from the world, a lamp burning on the coffee table.
She remembers how she and Ellen used to stand on tiptoe, peering silently into the inaccessible room of the past. She remembers how the drag queens brushed by them, young and male and beautiful, tan skin stretched over muscles and that invisible blood.