Saturday night I hung out with friends. It had been forever and a day since I saw Hedda and Nishu, my neighborhood besties. All summer long we had brunched, gossiped, and turned the city into our personal playground. It had been a summer of fun and laughing. It had been a summer of success. It had been a summer of transformations.
In the latter spring, Nishu had made a transformation. Before this point, Nishu had been a party animal and had dated some interesting albeit psychotic women. While he was hesitant to admit it, Nishu was an untamed beast desperately in search of a female zookeeper. Enter Hedda. She was the one who was going to put the collar on and cage my friend. It worked out for the best. Not only are they a cute couple, but Nishu has turned out to be an excellent boyfriend. This does not surprise me though, because he has always been a good friend. Still, it was quite a change for him.
I went through some changes too. For starters, the hard work began to pay off. The cabaret world, one notorious for being cliquish, embraced me. Their publications not only answered my emails but highlighted my events. I felt as if I had become a part of a family. While I still tread the poverty line and am rather terrible with money, especially when I am tired, I saw glimpses of financial security and began to flirt with the idea of opening a savings account. Oh and I was working a lot as a performer. My dreams came true as I released a DVD and headlined theatres. The people who mattered started to pay attention. Basically I have gone from fledgling, to reality star, and now am transforming into the real deal.
Another sad change came when Hedda announced she was leaving to work in Spain teaching English to high school students. She had applied for the job before meeting Nishu, and then accepted it sort of as the relationship was beginning it’s life. It was nothing cold or covert, she didn’t know where she was headed with this love affair. Our motley crew was breaking up.
Yes, our motley crew. We had Keeley, a perpetual problem child who was basically evicted from every place she ever lived. Then there was Marcurio, who’s ex wife tried to kill him 5 times but they are still besties. Ron, the former paratrooper who has been on missions so top secret not even the government knows about them. Bobby, the small time porn producer who Keeley lives with but has a restraining order against. Lest we not forget Matilda, the Croatian Cleopatra who lives in many places at once and is fearless about offering men she has met sexual favors. Oh and her boyfriend sometimes not it’s not classified Ren/Ken/Ben who looks and speaks like He-Man and always talks in loud decibles. Then there is Nigel and Vivien, who love each other, don’t believe in marriage, but only married for a tax break and health insurance. Lastly how can I forget Jeanie, my singing telegramming compatriot who has a Broadway Belt that would make Liza Minelli envious, and often is the voice of reason in the circus we call our world.
Jeanie and I were especially sad Hedda was leaving. She had normalized Nishu, and he wasn’t spending as much time with some of the problematic characters from his former life. Because of Hedda, Nishu was less likely to take in Keeley after her run ins with some of the women Bobby employed that resulted in fist fights. With the intervention of her and Jeanie, Keeley merely became “The K Word,” the problem child no one spoke of.
Hedda was back for a furlough from her teaching adventures abroad. Despite their distance, she and Nishu spoke daily via skype and maintained their strong connection. There had been talk of our group spending NYE together in Times Square, but that would have been a $700 adventure per person. Plus the places were booked years in advance by big companies. Then I missed the big party they had for her because I was with my family in Pittsburgh. Now here we were.
Hedda wanted to get Nishu the perfect Christmas gift. For her, this meant brainstorming as it does for many women. Men can be hard to shop for. That’s why I always get my dad a book or a scarf. In the past my mom has tried to get him ties that while practical, even after years of marriage still occasionally picks out the wrong color. Anyway, Hedda commanded Nishu, “Show them the gift I got you.”
Nishu headed to his shelf. Jeanie and I waited in anticipation as he pulled down a certificate laminated. It looked official. “Read it, I don’t have my glasses.” Jeanie commanded as she held her glass of wine and cigarette. All weekend, Jeanie had been watching the Variety Marathon via Livamp. My regret was my friend didn’t sing. The motif made her look the role of a cabaret legend.
I read what it said. At first the language was complicated. Then I realized that Hedda had officially purchased Nishu an acre of land on the moon! WTF!? Yes, Nishu’s girlfriend had brought him property on the crater that lights our night and when it is full people go cuckoo. “You have an acre on the moon?!”I asked.
“Oh, and it is so exciting!” Nishu said. Yes, my friend who loves Star Trek could not hide his nerdiness. His dream had come true.
“What’s even nerdier is that he knew exactly what spot on the moon it was, and he knew which part, which crater.” Hedda told us, her face twisting in both confusion but happiness that her lover had liked his Christmas present.
“And she got me one of the best spots on the moon, too.” Nishu said, his face lighting up. My nerd friend who lived for comic books, comic book adventure movies and anything sci-fi had gotten the best Christmas present ever. Jeanie and I exchanged a look. Hey, whatever made him happy, right?
Hedda then explained she had agonized over the present. However, this had been the one that made the most sense. She had done all the footwork to get her man this present. Jeanie then told us her friend Len who I have met many times did work for NASA. She told us Len would absolutely love the idea of property on the moon.
That is when I thought of my dad, who before I was born had worked with Rockwell doing labor law. He had been involved on the legal end of the space shuttle project. My dad would like this as well. Of course, when Nishu found out about Len and my dad he was now beyond excited. He was in his glory. Because of NASA and the space shuttles, his dreams had come true. This was his best Christmas present ever.
Years from now, when we destroy Earth Nishu will have a heads up the rest of us don’t. When the planet is shot to shit, Nishu will have his home on the moon. Because of his advantage, he could easily become a Dark Lord of the Universe, and of course Hedda his lady. This would be another dream come true for my uber dorky friend. As he is on the same level as a sci-fi super villain I can say I knew him when.
Sure, my friends are nuts. My friends have their share of issues. My friends are all insane.
At the end of the day though, my friends are great people. Eccentric but good hearted, they are there for me when things are good, and when things are bad. They are there for me now that I am starting to become someone, but were there when I was no one. Nishu might have an acre on the moon, and I don’t have property there. However, rest assured I would go there and back for them, any of them, if I had to.