I Do by Andrea Gibson

7 Aug
I do.
But the motherfuckers say we can’t, ‘cause you’re a girl and I’m a girl (or at least something close) so the most we can hope for is an uncivil union in Vermont but I want church bells – I want rosary beads; I want Jesus on his knees. I want to walk down the aisle while all the patriarchy smiles – well, I guess that’s not true. But I do want to spend my life with you. And I want to know that fifty years from now when you’re in a hospital room and getting ready to die, when visiting hours are for family members only, I want to know they’ll let me in to say goodbye. ‘Cause I’ve been fifty years memorizing how the lines beneath your eyes form rivers when you cry and I’ve held my hand like an ocean at your cheek saying, “Baby, flow to me.” ‘Cause fifty years I’ve watched you grow with me – fifty years of you never letting go of me, through nightmares and dreams and everything in between from the day I said “Buy me a ring.” Buy me a ring that will turn my finger green so I can imagine our love is a forest – because I wanna get lost in you. And I swear I grew like a flower every hour of the fifty years I was with you – and that’s not to say we didn’t have bad days. Like the day you said, “That checkout girl was so sweet.” And I said I’d like to eat that checkout clerk and you said, “Baby that’s not funny” and I said “Baby, maybe you could take a fucking joke now and then,” and I slept on the couch that night. But when morning came, you were laughing. Yeah, there were times we were both half-in and half out the door but I never needed more than the stars of your grin to lead me home. For fifty years, you were my favorite poem and I’d read you every night knowing I might never understand every word but that’s okay – ‘cause the lines of you were the closest thing to holy I’d ever heard. You’d say, “This kind of love has to be a verb.” We are paint on a slick canvas – it’s gonna take a whole lot to stick but if we do, we’ll be a masterpiece. And we were – from the beginning living in towns that frowned at our hand-holding, folding up their stares like hate notes into our pockets so we could pretend they weren’t there. You said, “Fear is only a verb if you let it be. Don’t you dare let go of my hand.” That was my favorite line. That and the time we saw two boys kissing on the streets of Kansas, and we both broke down crying, because it was Kansas and what are the chances of seeing anything but corn in Kansas? We were born again that day. I cut your cord and you cut mine, and the chords of time played like a concerto of hope so we could feel the rope unwind, feel the noose of hate loosening, loosing from the years of “People like you aren’t welcome here. People like you can’t work here. People like you cannot adopt” – so we had lots of cats and dogs and once even a couple of monkeys you taught to sing, “Hey, hey, we’re the monkeys.” You were crazy like that – and I was crazy about you. On nights you couldn’t sleep, I’d lay awake for hours counting sheep for you and you would rewrite the rhythm of my heartbeat with the way you held me in the morning, resting your head on my chest and I swear my breath turned silver the day your hair did, like I swore marigolds grew in the folds of my eyelids the first time I saw you and they bloomed the first time I watched you dance to the tune of our kitchen kettle in our living room in a world that could have left us hard as metal, we were soft as nostalgia together. For fifty years, we feathered wings too wide to be prey and we flew through days strong and through days fragile as sand-castles at high tide and you would fold your love into an origami firefly and you’d throw it through my passageways until all my hidden chambers were filled with lanterns, now, every trap door, every pore of my heart is open because of you – because of us – so I do, I do, I do want to be in that room with you. When visiting hours are for family members only, I want to know they’ll let me in. I want to know they’ll let me hold you while I sing, “ba be de bop de ba ba, baby I’m so in love with you. I’m so in love with you. Ba be de bop de ba bop be be da bop ba – goodbye.”
Side story: grand aunt is dying, and no one is there beside her. It’s double tragedy. I don’t want to grow old and die alone. I don’t want her to experience the same thing. I want us there for each other. Lesbian fears. 

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