I remember the first time I held a girl's hand in public. It was actually a woman's hand. We were hundreds of miles away from anyone that would ever recognize me, but it still felt very identifying. I remember how natural it felt. I remember it felt like when I was a kid, running around without a shirt on . . . free and easy . . . shameless, before anyone told me that I was "supposed" to wear a shirt.
Then, that same woman and I, held hands in my hometown where anyone could see me "being gay..." where anyone at all could see ME being ME. It did not make me want to run and put a shirt on, or run and hide. I had done that long enough. I was glad to be free and shameless, finally.
I don't believe that woman felt the same way about holding my hand unfortunately.
When S and I are near each other, we really can't keep our hands off one another. It's her nature, though, she is a "touch-er" and I am craving to be touched. We really fit well together. We both touch people everyday for our jobs; we both love our jobs.
When I am out with S we exchange hugs and kisses, long embraces, hand holding, and sometimes... more. I rarely wonder what the public is thinking of these exchanges we are sharing. I rarely even think about the public. My energy and my focus is solely placed on her. Most of the time.
I catch the dirty looks. And that is why I hold her hand. I hold her hand and I smile back at the Dirty Lookers as sweetly as I can. Dirty Lookers are often of the male gender. Their scowl is often accompanied with a disapproving look and a head shake (imagine a finger wagging too). I want him to see me. I want him to see S. I want him to see me smiling at him with love and friendship and no hatred. I just want him to see how true our love is and then find fault. We are human, and our love is no different than his.
I hold her hand because the Other Mothers hold the hands of their husbands and why shouldn't I be afforded the same privilege? Is it really a privilege to hold her hand? Is it a privilege for them to hold their husband's hands?
I hold her hand because I can. Because I don't have to campaign or march to hold her hand.
I hold her hand because it's soft and strong.
I hold her hand because it fits inside of mine.
I hold her hand because I want our children to see. I want them to know love and affection of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. I want them to see and to know it's normal and visible and equal and fair. I want our children to feel included... not on the outside looking in.
I hold her hand because of the girl that I saw in Old Sac yesterday who was probably 14 years old. I'm guessing she was with her father. She couldn't stop herself from looking at S and I. We were sitting outside having an afternoon cocktail, sharing laughter, allowing ourselves to dream. I noticed her. She was doing more than noticing us. I remember being her. I remember studying women who I thought may be lesbian, and I remember studying gay couples that I very rarely encountered in my "real life." I felt her studying us.
We payed our bill and as we started to stroll again I felt my hand reach for S's hand... and there it was. It just fits.