Published Mar 01, 2002This morning I wake up in bed with the Muslim, wrapped up in double bow. Actually it isn't morning, it's early afternoon. Last night or rather, earlier this morning we did ecstasy again after not having done it together for quite a while. Well, not since the last "Movement" at Roxy Blu in Toronto, anyway. I didn't really want to take it because I have so much work to do before I leave for Chicago, but he'd already taken his and I couldn't very well let him go it alone. Earlier in the evening we'd gone for dinner and a movie: I Am Sam, the one where Sean Penn plays a retarded father trying to get custody of his daughter. I knew that he'd like it because he has a daughter the exact same age as Sean Penn's in the movie, from whom he was recently separated for a while. Because of his strong religious beliefs and revelations, a lot of people think that he's kind of retarded, too, so he was really relating to the story like crazy. But he also noticed that one of Sean Penn's retarded friends had a habit of constantly quoting from movies and stating the year that they were made and who directed them, just like I do, so I guess we're both honorary retards.
I was blubbering and crying all the way through the movie, but whenever I looked over at the Muslim he was just taking it all in with his big brown eyes. He only cries when he prays. A couple of times I wanted to reach over and hold his hand, but the theatre was pretty packed and neither of us are really into public displays of affection. So I just put my foot on top of one of his big size 13 shoes. He says his feet got so big from walking shoeless all the time in the dirt during his childhood in Africa, or maybe he inherited them from his ancestors, Bedouins who came from the deserts of India. That's also the reason he says that he can go without water for long periods of time, like a camel, and why he can look directly into the sun without damaging his eyes. It's true, I've seen him do it.
So after the movie we stop at Tim Horton's, the brand new one at the corner of Bloor and St. George, to get his habitual medium coffee double double, to which he is addicted, and my small French vanilla cappuccino from a machine, to which I am addicted. Then we drive back to my place and park the car in the usual spot and climb up the back stairs through the inner courtyard to my apartment. Once inside the door he gives me a big kiss and lights up a joint. I rummage through my video collection and come up with Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, which he's never seen before. He's a real aficionado of old Bollywood movies and I'm a classic Hollywood freak, so we're trying to edify each other. I forgot how brilliant Strangers on a Train is, particularly Robert Walker as Bruno, who clearly plays it gay all the way. Marion Lorne Aunt Clara from Bewitched plays his dotty mother, who files his nails for him and listens to his tall tales. The Muslim laughs and laughs when Bruno breaks the little kid's balloon with his cigarette, and again when he uses a blind man to help him cross a busy street. Sometimes his sense of humour tends toward the cruel.
After the movie is over he pulls out two ecstasy pills and pops one, so I'm obliged to pop the other. The pot has made me a little anxious because I know I should be working tomorrow and here I am partying all night, and now with the E I know I'll probably squander the whole day away. The anxiety sticks with me like a lump in my soul after the E kicks in, and there's nothing I can really do about it. It's like in the movie The Anniversary Party, when Gwyneth Paltrow brings E to a Hollywood party and everyone takes it and has a bad trip. It's not a bad trip exactly, but I feel like I'm holding back against my will, unable to relax completely. But it's okay, because I just lie there and listen to the Muslim's side of things. I always notice his skin in this state, the most beautiful, smooth and natural brown I've ever seen, like chocolate milk. In this state, his eyes flicker and flash and roll and become translucent and I can see deep inside of him. I always think he's handsome, but now he's the most handsome man I've ever seen. He talks about the prophet Mohammed, about how you don't necessarily have to believe literally, as some do, that he was completely illiterate before the Qur'an was revealed to him. It may simply be that after his religious revelation his writing became more inspired and poetic. I'm always impressed by his interpretations of the Qur'an, which are deeply personal and unique and somehow vast.
I remember that I have the Muslim's wrapped birthday presents in the apartment somewhere, so I pull one of them out and have him open it. It's a ring with an amethyst, his birthstone, held in place by four hooks. He immediately relates the configuration to the four walls of the cube structure of Mecca. That means he likes it.
Sex happens and then we fall into a deep sleep and then we wake up in the early afternoon and then more sex happens and then we fall asleep again and wake up around five o'clock and then more sex happens. We're supposed to be at Convocation Hall at 8 o'clock to see Rufus Wainwright, who phoned me yesterday to invite me to his show, but we're moving in slow motion and finding it difficult to leave the warmth of the apartment on the coldest day of the winter so far. Finally we manage to drag ourselves out the door and it's so great to be outside that we decide to walk. After stopping at our Tim Horton's, we walk across the quiet, stately U of T campus and across a frozen field to Convocation Hall. We arrive just in time to be ushered in to the front row minutes before Rufus comes on stage. The place is packed to the rafters, but I notice that the Muslim is practically the only brown or black face in the entire crowd. That happens a lot at the places I take him in downtown Toronto, which is still unusually white, but the tables are usually reversed when he takes me to his haunts in the north of the city. Once, when he took me to a dance at a Gujarati Temple, I was the only white face in a sea of 700 Indian faces.
The Muslim has never heard of Rufus Wainwright before, but he loves the show. We took another half of an E before we came, so we're really feeling the love that is throbbing in the auditorium. Rufus's voice truly comes from somewhere ethereal, and his harmonies with his sister Martha are so pure and natural. Rufus has come such a long way since I first saw him three or four years ago, playing to a small room at C'est What. He's really starting to fit comfortably into his success. After the show a group of friends are invited backstage. I haven't been backstage at Convocation Hall since after a reading by William Burroughs over a decade ago. The mighty Mary-Margaret O'Hara is here, looking every inch the love goddess as usual. She's met the Muslim before, and he adores her as much as I do, although he still hasn't heard her sing. We're smoking this and that and drinking wine and having a good time. The Muslim asks Mary-Margaret if she has any kids, and she says no, a little wistfully, but then points to various people in the room and says that her kids are all the people in the world that she loves. I wish that I could remember all the cracks she makes, too, because she's funny as hell.
After the backstage party we end up on the tour bus, watching the season finale of Sex in the City and the Paul Morrissey/Andy Warhol movie Heat. Rufus and Martha seem to know all the lines from Heat by heart. Earlier I had been very impressed when Rufus had been quoting verbatim the lines of Edie Bouvier from Grey Gardens, who recently died. Lance Loud, the great gay star of An American Family whom Rufus and I both knew from hanging out in Hollywood, also died recently, and I point out to everyone all the people from Heat who committed suicide, like Andrea "Whips" Feldman and Eric Emerson, who both jumped out of windows. It's getting a little morbid. The Muslim doesn't really like talking about things like that. He doesn't even like watching black and white movies because he knows it means that most of the people in them are probably dead.
Rufus tells the story of how he had been travelling with his mother in Mexico and he was really strung out on speed and he told his mother and she was freaking out and then someone called him and told him that Lance had died, and so he immediately drove back to Hollywood and went to Lance's memorial by the pool at the Chateau Marmont and he sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." He said that it was sad that Lance's parents both outlived him. Pat was there, and Lance's father got up and talked about his fondest memory of Lance as a little boy, riding his bicycle on the suburban Californian streets with the golden sun gleaming on his hair. I wish I'd been there.