Paul Parillo The Day I Fell in Love With a Drag Queen

She stepped onto the stage wearing a shimmering dress that reflected light across the dim, yet vibrant room. I hadn’t seen her before (in fact it was my first show) but judging by her undeniably effortless presence on stage and the quiet entrapment held by the audience, this diva was a veteran. There was moment before the music began and I couldn’t help but contemplate the life of this queen. In an instance, I imagined her trials and transgressions; all the hills climbed and defeated that lead her to where she was now, and as the music began, I could feel her proud soul being released from whatever shroud of sorrow was captured by her past.

It was Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, and although her eyes penetrated every heart in the room, I knew she was singing to me. Her lip-syncing was flawless; every audible vibrato was synchronistical with the confident motions of her head. The song ended, and as the diva was slowly moving away from the stage, the audience held their applause as time had become suspended, allowing for the sensation of this moment to remain intact. She disappeared, but the show went on.

I could hear a new song rumbling the walls of the men’s washroom – is it her, is she back on stage? Running up the stairs I could more easily recognize the song being played. It was some lame modern pop tune – a bubblegum, no good, commercial piece of garbage that seemed unbefitting for a queen with such high standards. Alas, my intuition had not failed me. In her stead was the new queen: a heavy-set blonde with a failing facade. Her audience interaction was contrived, and her incessant high kicks left me wishing my eyes were giant cataracts.

The show I had once found endearing had become a laughable feast of non-romance. Where did the afro-boasting diva disappear to?

Suddenly I had lost my interest in her, and whatever enjoyment I received seemed only equaled by the audience I shared it with. Sometimes I wish I would cease to imagine the hidden stories behind my experiences – sometimes these experiences are too shallow and one dimensional, and ultimately disappointing.

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