I had only moved to the city a few days ago. It was quite the adjustment, going from the family farm to Belfast. The big smoke. And I don’t know if it was the air pollution or the anxiety of finally being here, but my chest did feel tighter.
This was my first time out on Union Street. I wasn’t out back home, but now, here, I could start anew.
The street was littered with packs of men and women, laughing, joking, getting off with each other. I’d never seen two men kiss each other before in the flesh, I tried not to gawp, but I couldn’t help myself.
I made my way into the Kremlin, my heart thumping in time to the music. As I approached the bar, a woman sidled up next to me.
“You're new here, aren’t you?”
“What gave it away?”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t know many gay blokes who’d go clubbing in khakis.” Georgina was a stalwart of the Belfast gay scene. She was so glamorous, I didn’t think people like her existed in Northern Ireland. She smiled-
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be a cow. Look I’ll buy you a drink and let’s have a chat outside, after all, anyone worth knowing knows who I am darling.”
After buying me a drink, she led me through the dance floor and into the smoking area. “How are you finding it then, Belfast?”
“It’s definitely a big change. But, I needed it, you know. I was ready. After years of hiding, of being lonely, I just can’t wait to find my people, find my place.”
“Can’t you see?”
She took my hand, although it was the middle of November, our breath hanging in the air as we spoke, somehow her hands were soft and warm.
“You're standing right in the middle of it."
Published in Issue #9