Gary Rinsem

Tami's Gay Kiss

From 1976
Written 1983

?? August 8, 1983

I'm sitting in the Chaplains office on the ship. We all talked for a couple hours before he went to bed and left BB and I here. They went to their bunks a few minutes ago so I'm here alone now, but not sleepy. I should lock up his office and go someplace else, but this is the only private place for me on the ship. I often sit in the back seat of the car in the parking lot, but there's no light out there so it's only a daytime place to write. The flight deck is good too, during the day. The towing capstan on the fantail is my favorite place but it's darker than the parking lot. Oh well, Chaplain's office it is. He wouldn't mind.

I wonder? Do you remember the first time you saw two men kiss? I've been writing to you a lot lately, so I guess I'll continue now. BB got me to tell them this story today and it's been driving me nuts that I can't ask you about it. Do you remember? I would love to know if we share this memory, and a thousand others. You probably won't remember, but it doesn't matter anyway unless you read my journals.

In a quiet moment siting in my car, you asked to go to a concert. I remember my thoughts clearly. I'd never been to a concert and had no idea what to expect. I only related to the news reel images of teenage girls at concerts, screaming over the Beatles. Those days it looked like the concerts were held in high school cafeterias.

The idea of this concert sounded good. I couldn't guess how much money was in my wallet so I pulled it out and counted. You watched in anticipation with a big excited smile, counting along with me I'm sure. With a bit of math, calculating known expenses before the next payday and subtracting from the total on hand, I decided we could go with enough left for Taco Bell. You screamed that we had to hurry before all the tickets were sold.

You snuggled up against me and I drove with one hand, the other arm holding you as I hauled ass to the Celebrity Theater. In the middle of the day the theater parking lot was half full of cars. There was a long line to buy tickets, but it moved fast because they had all the ticket booths open. We found our seats on a big poster of the theater's seating. They were up high and way in the back. It didn't matter one bit to either of us. Your excitement was contagious. I had it too.

Much of our time alone together was spent very quietly, just being with each other. Days like this one are special to me because of how happy and excited you were. Also, it's special due to an intimate moment we had on the way home from getting the tickets. When we got back to Scottsdale and parked in front of your house, it was decided that we should both rest until time to go. I went home and set my alarm, then fell asleep. Five or six hours later you were still too excited to stop talking. On the drive you kept telling me how much fun it was going to be.

I thought we were early, but it wasn't early enough. The parking was lot almost full with cars blocking the street. It took a long time cruising to find a spot and a long walk to the theater. It seemed every car in the lot had it's windows cracked with smoke rising above. The theater was nearly empty when we got to our seats, the stoners were all out stoning themselves.

It was even more exciting as show time approached. We watched the seats fill while a gang of people messed with the stage and equipment. Rows of seats were jammed so close that we had to stand every time anyone needed to pass. The lights dimmed and a great many people were still in the aisles. We stood once again as two more men needed to squeeze by us. They looked like nice guys in their early twenties, very neat and clean with matching short black beards. I thought that they could be brothers, they looked so much alike I thought perhaps they were twins. They both passed me and the second one stopped right in front you, pressed against you. He stopped because they were at their seats on your right. In an instant, the first man turned and they kissed, just inches in front of your face. It wasn't a terribly long kiss, but it wasn't a dry one. They swapped spit. You and I were both shocked and looked to each other for an idea of how to react. I think we both smiled at the same time. Without a word spoken we knew neither of us gave a damn if they were gay. I'm sure it's the only time the subject came up between us. We talked about that kiss a few times in the following months.

You might think that's the end of my memory here, since I opened this journal with a reference to the kiss. You'd be wrong if you thought that. The concert created more vivid memories for me. Both of us were surprised by a gay kiss, but we were shocked when they pulled out a joint and lit it. It was a very long concert. The band kept playing at least an hour after the show was supposed to be over. The entire time our pals had a joint lit and passed it between them. I can't guess how many they smoked, but it didn't matter because the entire theater was filled with people smoking pot. That was shock number two. Neither of us had a clue that it was OK to smoke pot in some public places.

Next up... I was perplexed by people waving cigarette lighters in the air. A lot of Zippo fluid burned and we couldn't figure out why. Years later I still don't get it. I saw people do that at a Beach Boys concert, outside in the middle of the day at Compton Terrace.

Your Dad gave me the talk before we left. He managed to get me alone any time he wanted. I think your mother was helping him by distracting you. After the concert I realized that your father knew about rock concerts. He trusted me but this night he was concerned. I got several warnings about the trouble we could get into by being too wild. It was cute, he was worried about us getting drunk and having an accident on the way home. Why didn't he know that we never drank alcohol? Well, there were two times that I brought you home too drunk to walk...

So Tami, I have a second question I'd love to ask you about this night. Do you recall the band? Who was it? They were loud! It was hard rock, but who? I desperately want to reminisce with you about this night and so many more. It's a constant urge I feel, to talk to you about our lives, before, during and since us. BB want to know you so badly that they often ask "What would Tami do if..." or "What would Tami think about..." It's their only way of knowing you and it helps me to miss you less. It's been four long years since I last saw you.

OK, tomorrow is a busy work day. Time to lock up his office and hit my bunk, right after mid-rats.

Tami & BB, I love all three of you and Vicki too... there's no doubt that I always will. I'm certain, without a doubt I know it can't fade. We Can't All Be Wrong!