I was sitting on the toilet at home, my head down, trying to piss. I was so drunk and needed to actively relax so I could get the damn urine out of my body. It was Sunday of Pride in Toronto — and I’d spent the afternoon at the Treehouse Party in the Ryerson Quad, an outdoor circuit party with house music, hard drugs, pretty boys and loads of fag hags. It’s not my usual scene, but it’s always been a great party every year. Even just having been there for a few hours, I had already met someone and brought them home with me. He was in the living room, waiting for me to finish peeing. His name was Ernan and he was Irish I remember that much, and there was great chemistry between the two of us — I remember that, too.
Just as I finally started to pee, Ernan opened the bathroom door. I looked up at him from the toilet seat. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“What are you doing?” he said. “I thought you were peeing.”
“I am peeing.”
“Get out!” I couldn’t help but laugh. He started laughing too.
“But I wanted to pee together.”
“If you prefer sitting down and peeing, I’m alright with it.”
“Jesus, get out!”
He finally closed the door. “Sorry,” he said from the other side.
“I really wish you hadn’t done that.”
“I really wish that, too,” he said with a chuckle.
I’d convinced my good friend Brian to go to the Treehouse party earlier that day, despite all the rain. “We need to make the best of it,” I told him. He’d been feeling down since it had been cold and rainy the entire Pride weekend. And he wasn’t the only one — Church Street was significantly subdued.
“I guess I can’t just stay indoors all weekend,” he said, and so we went out.
Tens of people danced on the grassy field at Ryerson with boas and umbrellas, celebrating sexuality, diversity and all — it’s hard not to love Pride, and damn those that don’t. It wasn’t as busy as I would’ve liked it to be, but those that were there were the right type of people: they’d have fun even if it were the end of the world. Brian and I were having a great time too, buying each other drinks, smoking some weed and meeting new friends. It wasn’t an ideal Pride, but we both agreed it was, at least, different.
We were at the party for about an hour when I noticed Ernan in the crowd. He was handsome, no doubt, with blonde hair parted to one side and a blue gingham shirt that made his eyes pop. He looked back at me with a mischievous grin. I could tell that he wasn’t the kinky type, so, rightly or wrongly, I didn’t give him much thought.
After an hour of partying and dancing, it started to rain heavily. I found myself under the canopy a few feet away from Ernan; he turned to me and smiled. “You’re taking way too long to talk to me,” he said.
“It felt like hours.”
“Is that right?”
“It is right.” He was very serious. It was kind of amusing.
“I apologize then,” I said.
“Don’t beat yourself up over it.”
“Thank you, I won’t.”
“I’m Ernan.” He grabbed my hand and shook it.
“What sort of name is that?”
“Eff off. What’s wrong with it?”
“I’ve just never heard it before.”
“It’s Irish, isn’t it? Can’t you tell by my accent?”
“The music’s too loud.”
“Cheeky,” he said, then laughed. “I like you.”
As we chatted, I learned that Ernan had been living in Toronto for 15 years but was originally from Cork. He’d always thought he’d end up in a place like San Francisco or Miami, but he was glad to call Toronto his home. “You haven’t got bored here yet?” I asked.
“Naw, I keep myself busy and I traveled often whenever I need to get away.” He told me how he had trekked through the Himalayas, had been to Petra in Jordan and was planning a trip to Mongolia, joking that he was going to be with his people, the Nomads. “I don’t tend to get bored,” he concluded. “If you don’t like something, change it. Worst are those that say they’re suffering and do nothing about it but complain.”
“Yeah, that’s very true,” I said, finishing my drink. As I stared at him I saw a passion in his eyes for life and of life. He not only survived but he thrived in this crazy world. And fine, I was little drunk (and high) so maybe I was making assumptions, but I felt there was something in his personality that I forgot about myself. He made me remember it all and I found it a little overwhelming . . .