He sat next to me on the BART. I was reading and I could feel him studying me.
“You’re beautiful,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I might be gay,” he said, “but you’re beautiful.”
“It’s ok, I’m gay too,” I said.
“Really? You’re gay? That’s amazing, that’s wonderful. Do you have a girlfriend?” he said.
“It’s complicated,” I said. He nodded.
“It’s my birthday,” I said. “It’s midnight. Right now, it just became my birthday.”
“Why are you alone on your birthday?” he said.
“I spent all day running around with friends,” I said. “I wanted to usher in this new year by myself tonight.”
“How old are you?” he said.
“26,” I said.
“You are so beautiful,” he said.
“I wish I could be alone,” he said. “I’m in love with this guy and as soon as he loves me back everything will be okay.”
“You don’t need him,” I said. “You’re just fine without him. You have your life to live.”
“I’m 22,” he said.
Yeah, I said. You’ll be just fine.
You are a gift, he said. I’m not going to forget you.
And then he smiled and said, know something funny? You didn’t usher in your birthday alone. You ushered it in with me.
Today, my friend told me that they marked me as queer right away. I asked what it was that made them think that, and they said they couldn’t place it. Something about posturing, or something.
Score! I’m queer-ifiable!
And then I went home and told ML and she was dubious. And spent twenty minutes messing with my hair to try to see if she could make it look “more queer.” Apparently it needs to be “piecier.”
Evidently, whether you “look queer” to someone is entirely subjective. Who knew?!
ML flew back to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still here on the east coast, flying back tomorrow. That means she’s spending three nights there without me. Here are a series of texts I woke up to on New Year’s Day, received from her in the middle of the night:
ML: I miss you it’s so hard to be in our house and bed without you. It doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t have the same life. Can’t wait until you come home.
And then, two minutes later:
ML: The only thing that is fun is getting to leave my clothes on the floor.
…Gives you a little insight into our relationship, dunnit? ;)
He wrote back. I love the internet.
You’re welcome. Yes I did feel a bit awkward, and I’m sorry if I didn’t seem talkative or friendly, and just nodded in acknowledgement when you said thanks (it was a long day).
I could see that you were handling yourself fine on your own, but it looked like the guy just wouldn’t let it go and I didn’t want him to escalate the situation, so I stepped in between you two to try to defuse the situation verbally.
As a guy, I can’t possibly know how annoying it must be to be in that situation, but I have two younger sisters, and I’ve seen them be harassed in a similar way before. I just don’t like to see it happen.
Glad you made it home safe.
To the blond guy at 5th & Harrison, 8:40pm, today
Thank you. Thank you for having my back, even though you probably felt a bit awkward about it. Maybe you felt like you should’ve said something, come to my defense, but honestly? Just the fact that you were there, watching, alert, making yourself visible to the douchebag who was all “what, can’t I look at your legs?” and when I said “uh, no” was all “oh I see how it is, you’d rather have a LADY look at your legs, right? Amiright? fucking San Francisco” and kept harassing me, so that he’d know that if he tried anything with me, you would do something about it. I don’t know, I think you did exactly the right thing. If you’d said anything, if you’d stepped in to defend me verbally, I mean that would’ve been fine but honestly I was glad to use my own voice to defend myself, to tell the guy to fuck off. You let me stick up for myself, but also subtly let me know that I wasn’t alone. And then you got on the 47, and a few minutes later I got on the 12, and that was that.
So, thank you. In this city, you’d be surprised how often people just look the other way when that shit happens, and you’d probably be even more surprised to know that even a small gesture from a stranger makes a world of difference.
Her: I like that you wear the pants in our relationship!
Her: …I mean, I like that I wear the pants, and you wear the skirts. But I like that you wear the pants!
Her: Yeah! I like it when you boss me around!
So far this weekend, I have: made strawberry shortcake, supported a friend through a break-up, bought a new sofa, found a small shelf for the bathroom, cooked mirza ghassemi (the eggplants at the market last week were too beautiful to resist), and dozed in the sun while reading.
Tomorrow, we get up bright and early to drive four hours south, to Cambria, where we’ll soak up the sun (assuming it shows itself, which weather reports insist it will), relax, take our minds off of anything regular-life related. We’ll be back late Monday night. I hope you all enjoy your long weekend! I’ll see you on Tuesday.
Me: Just looked at the Target receipts. Turns out the toilet paper we got really was unambiguously the best deal cuz it was an additional $3 off so was only $14 after all!
Her: Omg amazing deal! Greatest purchase ever – re: the toilet paper. EPIC.
Me: Thank God you’re around to keep my banality in check.
*hat tip to greg, whose own “Fun with Texts” posts always make me smile!
We were in our sleep position (big spoon: her, little spoon: me), starting to drift off. And then this little gem of an exchange took place, inspired by our previous conversation about how she really wants me to go to the doctor again about all the unexplained bruising I’ve been having:
Her (sleepily): It’s really scary to put all my eggs in one basket… you know?
Me: Yeah, I know. It is scary.
Her (as she squeezes me tighter): But I really like this basket.
Me: I like the basket MY eggs are in.
Her: But what if the basket falls?
Me: I know, then all the eggs will break!
Her: That would be so sad!
So, here’s to hoping both of our “baskets” will remain healthy and strong for a long, long time.
After a lovely day together (brunch, farmers’ market, working quietly together on separate things, fucking, cooking*, listening to apodcast on Anna Karenina which we just read together, and general fun), Lady Love went out tonight to a friend’s birthday, leaving me at home to ostensibly bake brownies and do my statistics homework. First goal accomplished. Second goal … I’m working on it.
[*For those interested, I made a swiss chard gratin and an asparagus and green pea ragout from Alice Waters' cookbook The Art of Simple Food, which is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks ever and which I highly highly recommend. A pleasure to read, pretty to look at, and, living up to its title, simple.]
But I got distracted, and this is why:
Fifteen minutes before she left, I mixed us each a cosmopolitan (“I can’t arrive sober!”), she put on Madonna (Like a Virgin), and we danced along giddily in the middle of my living room until she had to rush off to catch her bus. My flat felt empty after she left. This always happens, when we’ve been together and really having fun, and then we separate — there’s a sort of transition period of listlessness for me. Once I adjust, I’m perfectly happy to go do my thing, whatever it is, but for 10-15 minutes I often, well, miss her. Silly as it sounds.
So there I was, sitting with two empty martini glasses (cosmopolitan glasses are on my wishlist; until then, I’ll have to masquerade my cosmos as martinis), figuring out what I was going to do with myself, when I got a text message:
LL: “are you still listening to madonna and being cute”
Me: “yep :)”
LL: “I miss you”
Me: “I miss you too. We’re so silly.”
LL: “no we’re not silly. we’re just a little team.”
And it’s true. We are a team. We were talking earlier today about how, aside from just loving each other, we also really support each other. We have managed to strike a good balance of each doing our own thing and doing things with and for each other. And it just seems so easy right now. We listen to and hear each other, and do our best to clear up misunderstandings with an open mind and a willingness to forgive. We let go of most of the little irritations and instead bring things up for dialogue when they seem more important. We have fun together. We have fun fucking together. We continue to be open to learning from each other. We tell each other more than daily that we love each other, and frequently say things like “you’re beautiful,” and “I love when you look at me like that,” and “your ass is fuckin’ hot.” And we support and encourage each other to do the things we love to do and the things that make us tick. Her: music. Me: cooking. Her: socializing. Me: writing. Et cetera. We’ve finally found a stride that works for both of us. If we were in a three-legged race (did you ever have to do those on Field Day in elementary school? just me?) we wouldn’t so much as stumble; we’d beat every mofo on the fuckin’ field!
Which isn’t to say we haven’t had our rough spots. Oh we have. We’ve had our nasty blow-out go-to-bed-feeling-hollow-wake-up-feeling-ill meltdowns. Not many of them in our year and four months of being together (two? three?), but when they come they’re not pretty. Our last one was just a few weeks ago, and it was over something small that became something big because we weren’t being responsible about communicating, and I fell asleep crying and woke up feeling ill. Except that I quickly realized I wasn’t actually feeling ill, I was just feeling stupid. And that, I realized, was progress. Each time we pass squarely to the other side of a meltdown, I feel safer. Each time we end up still together and still ridiculously in love with each other, I learn even more that the meltdowns aren’t necessary. Because this one treats me right. She does the work. She pulls her weight. And she’s willing to go back and talk about what went wrong, why, how, and what we can do to manage it better next time. And my love and trust for her pulses through my body and I feel so fucking lucky to have her.
We have our differences. I’m particular, she’s easy-going. I’m tidy, she’s messy. I’m somewhat guarded, she’s much more outgoing. But we’re a team, and I’m steadily learning what that means. “She is the wind beneath my wings,” the saying goes, and though I’ve always scoffed at it, I think I’m beginning to understand.