Cheers Bitches: An Ode to the Chosen Family

"Blood family is nice. But there's something indestructible about the home you build as an adult."


I’m stuffing a rhinestone-encrusted wheelchair into the trunk of a Long Island town car in towering Mary Janes when I realize the wine’s gone to my head.


“Leee-eeeee-ssssSSSAAAHHH!” I over-articulate, trying to repress the slur begging to bleed from my lips. “Can you HELP?”


The town car is parked on the grass and my heels are sinking into the earth. Lisa rushes to my side. She looks like Barbie’s little sister, Skipper — only lesbian. And like all good lesbians, her GIRL IN NEED alarms have been sounding off since the moment I dragged the 200 lb wheelchair outside. “I’ve got it,” Lisa assures. She maneuvers the contraption with great authority.


“Thanks, Daddy Lisa!” Dayna sing-songs from the front. Dayna is my best friend and temporary user of the rhinestone wheelchair. Three weeks ago, she tripped and broke her ankle on the cobblestone in the West Village after a day of martinis in pink platforms. A lot has changed since then. She filed for divorce from her wife of six months and has become a marijuana enthusiast. The divorce feels more on-brand than the marijuana — but who am I to judge?


Lisa and I pile into the car, where the rest of our girl gang is already tucked in and slugging wine from plastic bottles. “Everyone buckled?” asks the driver, Paris, a sixty-something wearing a Mickey Mouse tie.


“Yes!” we squeal as Paris peels off the wet lawn. We’ve ditched the city for Greenport — a manicured village on Long Island. We’re staying in the cottage Dayna rented during COVID with her soon-to-be-ex-wife, who’s fled for California. Dayna hadn’t planned on shattering a limb and divorcing — but you know what they say: We plan and Lana Del Rey laughs. We’ve been here a week now, helping Dayna heal from a broken bone and breakup. Tonight is our first stab at going out and we’re rabid dogs: drooling and desperate to be out of the house.


Dayna swivels her head around and faces us. “I’m buzzed,” she cackles.


“Same,” Lisa and I belt in unison as if we’re in a community theatre rendition of “Guys and Dolls” with a sapphic cast. “Gays and Dykes,” I think, dreamily.


“I need to catch up!” says Arielle, named appropriately with her raven waves and Florida tan. Our own personal Jewish Mermaid. Arielle has a real job so she missed out on a Wednesday spent processing feelings over sauvignon. But we’ll make up for lost time. We’re Olympians in both processing and drinking. All New York gays who aren’t in active recovery are. And the ones who are sober, make up for it by doubling down on the processing.


Farm Houses with Trump flags fly by.

“Will you miss Greenport?” I ask Dayna.


Her eyes turn black. “Fuck no.”


“Thank god.” I slather my lips in drugstore gloss. “I hate it here.”


“You do? Why?” Dayna’s black eyes soften into gooey brownies. I haven’t seen her eyes this warm and alive since before she met her soon-to-be ex-wife.


Dayna is a bionic lingerie model who decorates her prosthetic arm with Chanel stickers. She has: DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN tattooed across her pussy. She writes viral essays about body dysmorphia and clogging toilets and learning about blowjobs at a sleep-away camp for amputees. She’ll tear your heart out of your chest and make you howl with laughter at once. She’s the antithesis of Greenport. “I hate it ‘cause you never belonged.”

The sun is setting and the sky glows creamsicle orange. A cozy silence falls over us like a blanket. We might not belong in Greenport, but we belong more than we’ve ever belonged anywhere, together in this moment.

The car slows to a stop. “I pulled as close to the curb as possible!” Paris grins like the Cheshire cat.

With arms outstretched, we airlift Dayna, who’s adorned in latex and Louis Vuitton, Italian tits oozing like melting gelato from her corset, into the rhinestone wheelchair.


Getting Dayna out of the car is such a show, we should sell tickets. The handful of residents loping the sleepy streets jolt awake at the sight of Dayna and I. “What are they looking at?”


“To be fair, you two are quite a sight,” Arielle observes. I’m an adult woman wearing a tiara pushing a dominatrix in a flashy wheelchair, but if this were the city? No one would bat an eye.


“Sorry for being an icon,” Dayna vocal fries.


“Icons only,” I vocal fry back, as I catwalk us down the block.


Moments later we’re huddled around a table at a bistro called The Frisky Oyster. Don’t let her cheeky name fool you. With soft rock humming through distant speakers and no patrons besides a two-top straddled by heteros in loafers; there’s nothing frisky about this oyster. But we’ll soon change that. We’re not just lushes so good at processing we could out-process the most ethically non-monogamous couple in Bushwick — we’re frisky.


When drinks arrive we clink glasses. “To blowing up your life!” I clap.


“To blowing up your life!” Everyone claps back. The truth is, it’s not just Dayna who busted her old frame and is rebuilding herself from scratch. We’re all starting over in some way. Standing on the rooftops of the lives we thought we wanted, clutching hands, scared shitless but never more ready to jump.


I want to dive into a new style of writing — shake up my career — but what if I try and don’t land? I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but I’m nowhere near ready. I’m a late bloomer still finding her way and I don’t want to bring a kid into my orbit I’m still lost in. But what if I slip through the cracks of my biological window and the rest of my life is filled with the holes of regret? I crave a stable relationship with my wife but I also wish we could ride the waves of delusional lust we recklessly surfed in our twenties. Dangerous waves of raw desire that crashed into the white picket fence of adulthood, turned to foam and dissolved like most things. I didn’t think I’d be here; living on a seesaw. One minute I’m soaring in the sky chasing dreams like shooting stars; the next I’m on the ground, mouth full of dirt.


“Should we order oysters?” Arielle asks, salivating in the way only a sapphic can over seafood.

“If we order appetizers, I don’t need an entree,” Lisa pipes.


I remember that I have psilocybin mushrooms in my purse. I curl my fingers around the plastic baggie of shrooms. I hold out my arm and open my palm, slowly, like it’s a ring box. “Who’s in?”


The girls grab from my fist.


“I don’t know,” Lisa fidgets.


Dayna turns to Lisa “Babe,” she says, her Tri-State accent gritty and gorgeous, like a Strip Mall nail salon, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s this: Take the drug. Order the entree,” her eyes sparkle, “and fuck the girl.” Lisa’s eyes moonbeam into Dayna and a bomb of glitter explodes in my chest. Because this is my greatest achievement. It’s not what I expected: the dream career, the kids, the perfect marriage. It’s something better. It’s this chosen family of mine. Blood family is nice. But there’s something indestructible about the home you build as an adult. We laid down these floorboards ourselves; we know the strength of the foundation. We know that when we take the great leap — no matter how hard the fall — this home can withstand the weight of the heaviest mistake. So we close our eyes, scream “cheers bitches!” and jump into the unknown, together.


If you liked this story, please consider buying my debut book: GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP wherever books are sold!








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