We passed through the French Market and paused to hear a street band.
Miguel stopped and bought a praline.
He broke off a piece and gave it to me.
We resumed our walk.
We reached the corner of St. Peter and Bourbon.
The stop sign bore two stickers.
One read FAG and the other read DYKE.
Miguel turned to me: “So you’re a homosexual.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Maybe I thought I could seduce you.”
Miguel laughed: “Maybe you did! But I’m much too fond of the ladies!”
Was that Miguel’s hand on the small of my back, guiding me through the crowd on Bourbon Street?
I looked up at him and smiled. We stopped to watch a street mime. I reached into my pocket to fetch a cigarette, Miguel lit it, and I took a puff and smiled.
We went to the World Beat for drinks.
Miguel pulled my chair from the table and invited me to sit down, he took his seat and, when the waitress came, he ordered for me.
I leaned across the table: “Miguel? Are you looking for a job as my personal valet or what?”
“You don’t like my manners?”
“These manners are for a woman!”
“In Argentina when a man likes a lady he does things for her.”
“Well I ain’t a lady,” I said, “so chill!”
Miguel sat back and grinned.
There was so much sexual tension at the table that I thought we’d ordered it from the bar.
We listened to a band that was in the middle of a set of Cajun Waltzes.
Several couples were up and dancing.
One woman was so graceful that, watching her, I felt taken to the 1800’s.
“She’s beautiful.” I said to Miguel.
“20 years ago.” he replied.
His comment annoyed me.
We strolled up Bourbon Street and were back at the gay section.
I said to Miguel, “C’mon. Seeing the bar won’t make you gay.”
Miguel and I entered the bar but Miguel stopped and said, “No! I can’t!”
He was in a panic.
We left the bar.
I led him back across the street.
I wondered if Miguel was afraid to cross the street because he was afraid he’d cross over.
RG (c) 2015-2016