Licensed

I dreamed all night about bombs outside the courthouse. About the same boring haters with their same boring signs. We speak for Jesus! And we — I mean, Jesus — Jesus hates you! I dreamed about arriving too late. I dreamed about losing my wallet and not being able to provide a picture I.D. and cash. I dreamed we overslept.

The last one actually happened. Gavin-wakes-every-morning-at-6:51 had to be nudged up and we all sprinted out with wet hair and scattered moods. No haters outside the courthouse. Press. Photographers. Laughter. And we followed the revelry indoors to find cookies, coffee, donuts, and ministers with their giant smiles congratulating us. The staff walked up to shake hands and meet the kid. You’re our first family, they all said.

Fuck yeah, man. Fuck yeah. Behind us, a pregnant woman leaned against her wife-to-be. I’m pretty sure I was trembling with nervousness. The clerks kept telling us they were working with all new forms, and they wanted to get it right, so they were taking their time. Yeah. I feel like that’s an apt metaphor. We’ve taken our time getting this right. And we still have miles and miles to go, but goddamn this is a beautiful step.

Mary’s faux-fur coat accentuates her hello, I’m a transplant from the 1950s thing. And the kid in his jaunty cap waving a small rainbow flag. “History is awesome,” he said, midway through his donut. I agree. And it often takes place in a courthouse. Bride. Groom. Spouse. Select one. Designate your gender.

I’m licensed to be married in the state where I live. I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed of this, brothers and sisters. I can’t tell you how my heart aches for those of you who live in places where this is not yet true. I can’t tell you how my heart aches. Full. Stop.

We’re getting there. State by state. County by county. We’re getting there. I have the paper to prove it. Signed and everything. The ceremony is on December 15th. And I’ll be thinking of you that day because marriage is about community. I’ll be thinking about how much I love you. Out there in the world. Loving like you can change the fucking planet. City by city. Ceremony by ceremony.

3 thoughts on “Licensed”

  1. I have been sick for the past week. You guys are two of the coolest (yeah, that’s a word!) people I know. I believe in marriage. I’ve been married once. He was a guy I really wanted to be married to…my best friend. It didn’t work out, and now I’m with the right guy. But…I am so happy for you and Mary. Marriage (to me) is the commitment between two people who want to be together, live together, raise children together, and just snuggle together on a quiet Sunday. I’m so proud of you both. I am so happy for you both. I will do all I can to be in Seattle next weekend. I witnessed a marriage between the two of you that felt legitimate last year. I will do all I can to witness the union in a legal way.

  2. I am very happy for you. That happiness also carries deep envy. I live in the state of Florida. It could happen here, I tell myself. Someday. We have been together for 12 years. I would like an official ceremony, with everybody smiling.

  3. congratulations. I’m sorry you had nightmares. I’m glad you had a pleasant welcome with cookies and hugs. the pics were gorgeous. love you and your family!

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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