I woke this morning thinking about this contributor’s story. I write at length about fluidity and grief and love and when I asked for stories I had no idea what I would get — if people’s stories would sound similar. No one’s does. I woke this morning thinking that marriage is like god, we assume everyone pictures the same thing when they say the words, but they don’t. Meet my guest for today’s Marriage Project:
Very soon here, us Washington girls who like girls (and those boys who like boys) will get to marry. I can’t wait to celebrate that. I can’t wait for a day of kissing and high-fives and smiles and happy tears and giddy, breathless hugging. I can’t wait for my friends and neighbors to have the right to marry their beloved. I can’t wait for my girl friends to say “Oh yes, meet my wife” and have it be a state-sanctioned statement. I can’t wait for my boy friends to get to have husbands and have the term seem so real.
I can’t wait.
But that day, a small part of me will sit, a quiet spot in the gaiety (oh, puns), a grey spot in the color. A small part of me will be in mourning. My mourning will be purely selfish, but then again, I think all mourning is. I do not have this anymore, and that makes me sad. You can drown in that kind of thinking.
Ten years ago, I loved a girl. Nine years ago, we started dating. Eight years ago, I proposed. Seven years ago, we moved in together. Six years ago, we had a commitment ceremony, despite it not being recognized by anyone but our friends and family. Five years ago, our state allowed domestic partnerships; and four years ago, we registered for ours. Three years ago, we got a dog together.
Two years ago, she left me. One year ago, she met someone else.
I’m not mourning the relationship anymore, or at least, I don’t think I am. I moved on, too, and married the greatest man I’ve ever met. But I do mourn that she and I never had that and never will have that. I feel cheated. I was with a woman for seven years, effectively married, but not legally so. And I wanted that legality, damn it. We came so close to having our turn at City Hall and telling the world “Yes, this is real,” and we fell short and that makes me sad.
So I’ll need a moment to myself, on that glorious day. There’ll be a point during the party where I’ll close my eyes and slowly count backward from ten. And with each number, I’ll get closer to the surface. I’ll let the dead rest. I’ll get over myself. I’ll rejoice for my friends and revel in equality and thank the cosmos that I found a person I love with a whole heart and who loves me back and not give a damn about our genders. I’ll thank any and all gods that he and I and she and her and he and him can love openly, and that the state supports that.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Breathe.