There were beads. There were boobs. There were skimpy outfits, leashes and collars. We found ourselves in the absolute center of a Mardi Gras you don't hear much about. Labor Day in New Orleans is something everyone should experience at least once...and it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime for me. Two amply tufted burly men in hot pants educated us that we had landed in the midst of Southern Decadence. That explained the rainbows.
It was me and my elfin boyfriend...who was quite the sport in this most unusual circumstance. We met up with my high school soul-friend-mate and it was a party from the moment we realized what we had gotten our selves into. There were new friends, kisses, full body paint on a street corner by a heroin addict named Bone, a fun but creepy waiter who looked like Uncle Fester, amazing food and conversation, street performers on unicycles who let us try on their duds, beads, beads and more beads, whistles and cat calls and Hurricanes. Oh, the Hurricanes.
I think it was the Hurricanes that sealed the deal. I had spent the day sneaking into every bathroom with him, ravishing him as much as I could between the giggles and the knocks. It was after that first Hurricane that I quietly snuck behind him in the brick lined labyrinth of a hallway that eventually leads to the men's room. I slid under his arm and wrapped myself around him, planting a kiss right on his neck. Used to it now, he smoothly turned us around while kissing me back before turning me around and giving me a little shove the other direction. Two more of these back to back peppered with kisses and giggles, he stopped me in my tracks with a mid-laugh breathless "God, I love you." I lost control of every muscle, arms dropping to my sides and face going slack with wide eyes. "Huh? What did you say?" I responded oh, so eloquently. Confusion crossed his face for a split second before he began to turn pink. He turned me around again and gave that little shove again. This time I went the direction I was sent. I made it up to the bar where by soul-friend-mate had already ordered drinks and was sitting belly up to the grand piano being played enthusiastically and with flourish. When my guy made his way to where we were sitting, I had made a full recovery from my stupefication in the hallway. He tried to be heard over the piano and yelled "Did you order me a drink?" to which I replied with a slack look on my face and one eyebrow raised "Huh? What did you say?" This exchange happened once or twice more before he realized what I was doing. A huge smile crossed his face and he yelled, just as the piano player finished his song "I SAID, I LOVE YOU!" His yell echoed through the suddenly silent bar and was met by thundering applause and me launching myself into his arms. There were pats on the back and rounds bought in honor of his declaration. There were high-fives and equal amounts of "way to go" and "run, dude" comments.
I floated a foot above the ground the rest of the night, despite the enormous amounts of beads my love lavished on me from all the flashing he had done all day long. Now THAT is love.