Pride

Photo source: The Huffington Post

“Sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.” -President Barack Obama on the marriage equality Supreme Court decision

What a proud day to be an American.

Today, in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t identify as gay; I don’t really know what I identify as, honestly. But it’s comforting to know that whether I fall in love with a man or a woman, I will be able to marry them.

And not just me, but everyone. Everyone will be able to marry the person they love.

It goes even farther than that though. It’s change like this that make it that much easier for future generations to accept themselves for who they are and to be proud of who they are regardless of sexual orientation. This legalization shows people that it’s okay if they love someone who happens to be the same gender that they are.

This is the type of change we need.

I think what’s most amazing is seeing people throughout the nation celebrating. Celebrating the Supreme Court ruling. Celebrating the fact that they can marry whoever they want. Celebrating the progression.

Celebrating themselves.

What a proud day to be an American.

What a proud day to be yourself.

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“So it’s a date”

The café door greets me with a cheerful ding! as I push it open. She’s the first thing I notice when I walk in. I pause for a moment, unprepared for her presence. She’s sitting by herself at a table next to the window, the sun spilling onto the textbook resting in her lap.

I pull myself out of distraction and find a place in line. There are a handful of people in front of me and only one person working behind the counter. I steal another look at her while I wait.

Wavy strands of auburn hair escape her messy bun. Messy, but still perfect. She reaches out sweater-sleeve covered hand to grab her mug and takes a sip, glasses sliding down the bridge of her nose as she does so. Her index finger repositions her glasses in one fluid movement so that they sit directly in front of her brown eyes. They’re like gingerbread–initially spicy and demanding your attention, but then unraveling into layers of secrets and unsaid feelings that maybe one day, I’ll be lucky enough to figure out.

“Next!” the barista calls out.

How long was I staring at her?

Did anyone notice?

I order a cappuccino, hand the barista my money, and give him my name for the order.

“It’ll be ready in a few minutes,” the barista says with a smile.

In the meantime, I take a seat at a table near hers, hoping she might notice me. I glance at her, but she’s engrossed in her reading. A sigh escapes my mouth as I pull out my biology notebook, intending to study for the upcoming final.

I mindlessly flip through pages of notes covering photosynthesis and mitosis. It takes me a bit to realize that my mind is wandering, wandering back to the first day of the semester when her and I were assigned as lab partners.

Right from the start, I could tell she was different from all the other girls. She emanated kindness, but a certain aura of mystery followed her around. For the first few days, she was quiet; we both were. But it wasn’t long before I got to know her bubbly laugh of hers.

“Hey.”

My thoughts are interrupted by a voice. Her voice. I turn in my chair to face her.

“Hey, fancy seeing you here,” I remark, acting surprised.

“Back atcha,” she giggles. “I was just studying for finals.”

“Me too.”

“Oh yeah? What class?” she asks.

“Biology,” I answer.

“Oh man, I heard that final was hell,” she laughs again. It’s so cute.

“We should study together sometime,” she says suddenly. I’m completely caught off guard.

“Ye-ye-yeah,” I stutter, trying to mask my excitement.

“I actually have to get home now, but want to meet here tomorrow?” she asks.

“Sounds good.”

“So it’s a date,” she confirms. She looks directly at me. My heart flutters. I hold her gaze as her eyelashes bat over her gingerbread eyes. All too quickly, she flashes a smile and walks away. She glances back at me from over her shoulder before pushing the door open and stepping outside.

“So it’s a date.”

Her words play over and over in my mind.

“I have a cappuccino for Katie!” the barista calls.

My drink is ready.

Her

I see her

Eyes determined

intense

so sure of what she wants

so sure of herself

Drinking up every moment

of her precious life

Feeling everything

the frustration

devastation

happiness

love

Not settling

Not caring

Every smile so true

Every moment with purpose

Bursting with passion

wonder

Emitting confidence with every step

 

I see her

I see the girl I want to be

The Beginning

The Beginning

“Could you put the forks pointing down when you load the dishwasher?”

My mother gave this seemingly innocent request to my father one evening.

My father gave an unconvincing “Yes honey” in return.

My mother paused, apprehensive, but didn’t say anything. Neither did he. The conversation was over.

But it wasn’t over. It was just the beginning–the beginning of the end.

The next week, my mother agreed with gritted teeth with my father on how much to tip at the restaurant.

The week after, neither of them held back. They weren’t afraid to let the other know that they didn’t agree. Innocent requests turned into criticisms.

Every week after that it was something new. How my father didn’t fold my mother’s shirts correctly. How my mother wouldn’t stop backseat driving. How my father was late coming home that one night she wanted to go out. How my mother rolled her eyes whenever my father cracked a joke.

Months dragged by of my parents making something out of nothing.

 

The Middle

Now it wasn’t an issue of leaving the toilet seat up or having one too many glasses of wine. My father said things like “controlling” and “manipulative.” My mother said things like “lazy” and “impulsive.”

I woke up early one morning before school to find my father sleeping on the couch. I stand there for a minute, taking it in. I leave before he wakes up so he doesn’t know that I know.

My mother curses under her breath whenever she finds something she disapproves that my father does. She thinks I don’t hear her. But I do.

My father took his wedding ring off to do the dishes. All of the forks are pointed down. But he never put his ring back on.

 

The End

“Let’s take road trip,” my mother said one morning. She usually isn’t one for spontaneity, but part of me saw this coming. I knew my mother wanted to take one last trip.

So we drove to the beach, blasting The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel for all 247 miles. We told jokes and made up stories and laughed–really laughed–for the first time in a long time.

At the beach, my father and I ran toward the water and splashed each other and my mother and I collected shells and it was like the past year hadn’t happened.

I sat by the shore, letting the waves caress my toes before retreating back to the ocean. I listened to my parents talk in hushed tones behind me, thinking that I couldn’t hear them. They said things like “Let’s just enjoy today” and “Let’s try not to fight.”

I steal a glance at the two of them sitting side by side on a beach towel. It’s the closest they’ve been to each other in the past year. Their idle hands are pressed into the sand, almost touching. But not quite. They think I don’t know what’s going on. Part of me wished they were right. Part of me wished that I was blind to their deteriorating relationship.

That day the three of us existed in a bubble–an alternate universe in which everything was okay. It was a last hurrah, one final good memory of my parents together.

It was the end.

The end of the end.

 

The Beginning

The next day, everything was real again.

They sat me down with solemn faces and bad news one year in the making.

They said things like “Things will be different from now on” and “It’s for the best.”

“It’s for the best.”

The house was calm after that and for the first time I felt like this wasn’t the end.

It was the beginning.

The beginning of the beginning.

 

Sometimes, she felt like a kite

Sometimes, she felt like a kite

like the smallest push

or puff of air

could sway her

derail her

mask her true self

and change her direction

 

Sometimes, she felt like a kite

like she was useless

without the breeze

without someone

to help her along

to lift her up

to reassure her

 

Sometimes, she felt like a kite

like she was so close

to touching the sky

that she could see

the hopeful patch of blue

just before being

dragged back down

 

Sometimes she felt like a kite

like her freedom

came with conditions

like outside forces

could pull her down

like her flight

was just an illusion

 

Love in Color

I remember seeing his name and phone number

scribbled on a crumpled napkin

I remember his name was blue

with all the freedom of the ocean

and comfort of a worn pair of jeans

I remember the waves of gold

that drifted through the air

as he spoke

and his laugh

that sent light green spirals

down the walls

I remember the first “I love you” was pink

with all the whimsy of cotton candy at a street fair

I remember when we yelled at each other

maroon triangles flew across the room

I remember the door slamming behind him

there was a brown spike that pierced the air

then nothing

nothing but a handful of rainbow memories

to fill the grey silence that hung

like clothes on a clothesline heavy with water

nothing but a blue name

on a crumpled napkin