the ale fest: tents with transparent roofs, clear crisp air, a table full of crackers and cheese and cookies. when I arrive late, everyone is happy and tipsy and they all immediately pour me beer from their mugs to taste, which spills drop by drop from an unseen hole in the bottom of my cup. we grin at one another. we pore over the list of beers. which one, I want to know, tastes the most like a christmas tree?
next to me, jon is adorably drunk and we lament that I can't be his boyfriend and he can't be my boyfriend; we both like boys. behind us, a man dressed in an immaculate velvet santa costume comes up and we take his picture. a friend jokes, 'whatever you do, don't sit on that santa's lap.'
at a stand near our table, they are roasting chestnuts, the smell of which mingles with the christmas tree beside us. there are string lights overhead. we all eat too many oreos. we toast our friends tom and rob, who were married in new york yesterday after cross-planet dating (u.s. & australia) for years.
the chestnuts are expensive but worth it; I've never had one. I share them with jon and bob, and then walk through the tent flaps out into the cold, clutching the paper cone in my hand. the chestnuts are each cut so that they can be eaten with a squeeze of the fingers. the night is full of christmas shoppers and commuters, and the stars, for once, are bright and clear.