Jesse Tise

Though Memorial Day is most commonly associated with picnics, NASCAR, and day drinking, it is traditionally a somber day of remembrance. I have no evidence to support it, but I assume more than a few soldiers have taken the opportunity to recall the loss of a gay lover since 1868, and in that most abstract sense, this may be the most traditional Memorial Day I’ve ever had to observe. No, my partner hasn’t died, made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, or performed any other grand deed of patriotic heroism, but she is moving to New York with her spouse, and I’m sad about it.

Sorrow and problematic abstraction aside, I paste on my biggest and most supportive smile, as my kid and I exit our vehicle. Dí (pronounced the same as “D” just to keep our relationship as gay as possible) and I have been together for more than a year of misadventures—laser tag, beer, corn mazes, froyo, and roller skating—but I still don’t know which apartment is hers. Luckily (and predictably) it’s the one flying the rainbow flag. Sadly, it’s also the one that’s been emptied in preparation for goodbyes. All that remains are a pair of river tubes, a small television broadcasting early aughtie R&B from atop a rainbow-colored milk crate (à la Sesame Street, back when the block was hot and a bit ghetto), and an inflatable mattress.

Dí, her spouse, and another friend play a card game on the inflatable mattress with a deliciously inappropriate deck. Ancient Greek erotica adorns each card. The images are taken from pottery and feature every imaginable (and unimaginable) sex act. Queer and intersex bodies interact with partners whose appendages include tails, horns, and horse cocks, while ancient dildos probe male and female crevasses. You know... good, old fashioned, traditional sex. The game of the day is Bastard (AKA Shithead). Between the cards and the name, this game is really coming together.

Each player takes turns attempting to explain the game to me, as if I’ll play the next round. Real talk? I’m an adequate chess player and will defeat anyone on an Othello board, but the rules of Black Jack and Go Fish elude me.

The hosts have prepared a traditional farewell spread: veggies and dip, alcoholic lemonade, chocolate chip cookies, frozen margaritas, and a variety of partial bottles of liquor.

A fourth guest arrives and sparks up a lovely conversation about asparagus pee. Apparently—and I haven’t fact checked this (nor will I, because I’m a comedian; not a fucking scientist)—some people have the gene responsible for extra rank asparagus piss and the ability to smell it, while others neither smell nor produce the notoriously noxious concoction.

A fifth, sixth, and seventh guest arrive. My kid finds a hula-hoop and rocks the shit out that hoop. Goddamn. Where did he pick up such wicked-ill hoop game?

Farewells complete a bittersweet 10 out of 10.