Thursday, May 15, 2008


(Photo of a 1920's gay and lesbian marriage in San Francisco, from family photos of Rodney Karr -- not sure if this event was serious or humorous)

Here's a special edition section of my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates, to honor this particular day. It would occur chronically between the previously published posts labeled "Entropy" and "Cell Division". If you are already a familiar reader, begin below. If you need background, check the links in the sidebar on the right, fifth item down, to get caught up.

15 May 2008

When Myra got up, Ginny handed her a bowl of just-baked granola and said "It passed."

"No kidding? I mean, no further appeals?" Myra couldn't believe it.

"Well, I'm sure the wingnuts will get a state constitutional amendment on the ballot as soon as they can, but Ah-Nold has said he'll oppose it. For what that's worth."

Ginny and Myra stared at each other. Myra said softly "This means Allie and Edwina -- they're officially married."

Tears stood in Ginny's eyes. "I didn't think it would matter to me this much, but it does."

"I know. We'll have to celebrate tonight."

Ginny wiped her eyes and said "I already left a message on Edwina's phone. Plus Sima and Chris."

David came in from the back yard, his basket full of small cabbages and lettuces. Myra looked at the cabbage and said "I could split those and stuff them for dinner, Allie'd love that. Pork for her, turkey for you."

"I'll run to Pike" said Ginny. "This is a lobster night."

When Ginny came back from shopping, she said Edwina had called, verified they'd be over by 5:00. "She said her department at school is throwing a lunch party for her and Allie. Let's set up the projector so we can play their wedding video tonight, okay?"

Myra decided to make biscuits, sweet potato pie, lemon chess pie, and a roasted chicken, in addition to the lobster and stuffed cabbage. Ginny planned spicy green beans, two kinds of salad, and creamed spinach, all their friends' favorite dishes.

When Gillam walked in from school, he called out to the kitchen "Did you hear?"

"Yeah. We're in the midst of making a feast for them" called out Myra. He came to grab a warm biscuit and said "I'll help after I swim." As he split the biscuit and smeared it with butter and honey, he said "So...does this mean you'll now consider a trip to Cal-ee-for-ni-yay for yourselves?" He couldn't keep the hope from his voice.

David, sorting seeds at the dining table, looked up expectantly. Myra drew a deep breath, but before she could speak, the front door opened again and Margie strolled in, Narnia shoving past her to skid into the kitchen and Rimbaud in her wake.

"I took the day off!" she declared. "Where are they?"

"They'll be here later" said Ginny, going to hug her. "How long are you staying?"

"We might as well make a long weekend of it" said Margie, pointing upstairs with her head at Rimbaud, who re-shouldered their bags and went in the direction she had indicated. Margie sat down next to David, kissing his cheek and saying "You shoulda been at their wedding, Zayde, it was the best ever."

Ginny plunked a bowl of green beans in front of Margie and said "Snap, please."

Gillam had finished his biscuit and snagged one more, ignoring Myra's frown. He said to Margie "I just asked them the $64,000 question. About them getting married."

Margie's face lit up with interest. "Do tell."

Ginny returned to stand next to Myra so their hips were touching. They didn't look at each other; they didn't need to.

"No, we're not going to get married" said Myra. "No matter how legal it becomes."

"Why?" demanded Margie. "And don't hand me that lesbo-fem line -- "

"That lesbo-fem line, as you so respectfully put it" said Ginny "is a complete ideology which illuminates the darkness for us. The idea of allowing the state to regulate love and family connection is ceding power to them, the power of definition and naming. A power I've spent my adult life trying to wrest back from them."

"You're willing to let the state force parents to behave or else lose their kids" argued Margie. "That's a definition thing."

"No, that's prevention of mistreatment, the same as laws against assault or cruelty to animals" retorted Myra. "Until children have the same legal rights as adults -- which will mean they are not owned by their parents, then we have to act in their behalf. As flawed as it is."

"But don't you, like, have powers of attorney, and all this legal kinda stuff already tying you two each other?" said Gillam. He was eyeing the plate of biscuits, and Myra moved it to the counter beside the stove.

"Yes" said Ginny. "And we took each of those steps after obtaining good legal counsel, one by one. Most people who get married don't know all of what they are choosing legally. It's a decision made from emotion, not rationality. Therefore, it should be removed from the legal realm."

"The reason for marriage laws is primarily economic, and it wasn't the economic rights of women or children that motivated their creation or keeps them on the books" said Myra. "The church was very happy to conflate their definitions of marriage with economic crap from the state, because at that the church and state were pretty much one. The more control they could have over people's lives, the better."

"If you believe that taking this step, getting married, makes you somehow more emotionally committed to your partner, then of course it does have that effect" said Ginny. "As it did for Allie and Edwina, and I completely support their desire to make it so for them. But if you don't believe it, then it's a sham. It's looking for approval and gratification from a culture that does not whole-heartedly want you to have it. I prefer to speak my promises to those who believe me and will defend me."

"Hopeless" Margie muttered to David.

"I don't think my signing a piece of paper identical to what Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson signed makes me 'equal' to them in any way" said Myra, with a grin. "My commitments are far superior to theirs, and I don't want to pretend otherwise." Which got a big laugh from David.

"Whatever" said Gillam, giving up on the topic and the biscuits. "I'm going to do laps. Will you save the pie-making for me? And talk me through Allie's recipe for the sweet potato one?"

Myra nodded. She asked Margie and Rimbaud "Do you need a snack? If not, you can clean floors for our company coming."

Rimbaud looked unpleasantly surprised, as he always did when he was assigned housework here. Margie sighed and said "We're on it."

Over the next hour, Myra decided to also stuff small sweet onions with the same mixture as for the cabbage. Chris and Sima arrived with home-made cornbread and blackberry blintzes from Sima's favorite deli. Ginny chilled some sparkling grape juice and seltzer water. David taught Rimbaud how to set the table according to this family's specifications, and Margie escaped by taking an extra long walk with Narnia. Myra was picking up a knife to carve the chicken when Allie came in the front door. As Edwina put her arm around Allie's waist, Allie yelled "We MARRIED!"

Everyone crowded into the living room to hug, exclaim, and do a little spontaneous dancing. David taught Margie how to jitterbug; watching them, Ginny gave Myra a look which plainly said "Expect to learn these steps with me."

As they sat down to eat, Edwina said "We're flying to Baja as soon as the semester ends for another honeymoon. We'd like to coordinate our flight from there directly to meet up with ya'll at Galveston, if we can get our dates together."

Ginny said "We'll over over calendars after dessert. Are you going to have another reception, so you can rake in another round of gifts?"

Edwina thought that was hilarious.

Margie and Rimbaud cleared plates as Gillam set down pies, declaring to Allie "I made these!" Chris instructed everyone to refill their glasses, and she stood, gathering her thoughts. Myra realized she'd never seen Chris make a toast. She was not a public speaker. Allie looked amazed and expectant.

Chris grinned in the way that melted hearts, her best, and said "Most of the time, the phrase 'Good things come to those who wait' is a kind of prayer. Or appeasement. But, sometimes, it is truth. However far back human history goes, we've been turning to each other and saying 'I love you in a particular way. I intend to blend my days with yours.' It's not just what our hearts have demanded. When done with honesty, it's been the smartest acts we could perform. It lifts us all above the flood plain. It gives us joy to witness. Tonight I'll reword the saying: The best things come to the best of us, who waited long damn enough." She clinked her glass to Allie's, and everyone roared as they followed suit.

© 2008 Maggie Jochild.


shadocat said...

wow gurrl---you are quick AND good!

Maggie Jochild said...

When these characters feel strongly about something, I just sit down and transcribe what they tell me to write.

letsdance said...

Great celebration!

Jesse Wendel said...

*does happy dance*