My Adored Collaborator,
We never said our wedding vows. Our special day was an automatic contractual turnover of our state’s domestic partnership registration to legal marriage on June 30th, 2014 after 16 years together. I spent the day the Supreme Court later legalized same-sex marriage for the whole country 1,110 miles away from you. My mother dropped me off in Boy’s Town so I could get drunk and stroll around alone, but in togetherness with the other gleeful sodomites. I sat in bars amused, French kissing salted margaritas, and crushing on the few, but very attractive Los Angeles lesbians surrounded by a fog of men’s cologne.
We don’t have an anniversary because we don’t know when it was, since we couldn’t marry for years. Was it when we met, the first date, rolling around naked for the first time, when we moved in together, when you told me you wanted to marry me, when we got the DP, when it converted to marriage in our state, when it became federally legal? We discussed just making it Valentine’s Day but nothing came of it. We aren’t into formalities or ritual. We love each other. Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, we already have many of them throughout each year. But I wanted to take the time now for the declaration that never happened and I wouldn’t give in front of my parents anyway.
I was genuinely in love with one man when I was young. The detonation of my need for women happened suddenly and unexpectedly but then all made sense. I wasn’t in love with a woman. I wouldn’t even meet a gay one for more than 3 years or touch a woman for another 4. It was just the idea of women. It was like going an indefinite number of rounds with Muhammad Ali, if one fist was the wildest love and the other fist lascivious desire. And if Muhammad Ali looked like Barbara Stanwyck. My honeymoon with heterosexuality was over long before I continued to put on a brave face and find myself under some guy reeking of beer and sweating in my eyes.
Now we are so lucky. We kiss and hold hands interacting with the light, sound, and feel of tides created by gravity, forests grown by rotting forests, desserts sculpted by patience, and all the beautiful and hideous things built by sweaty human hands. But most lucky in our interactions with the mundane events of our everyday lives built by love.
We are so different to be so devoted. You are a base. I’m a flyer. You crave sugar. I crave salt, literally and metaphorically. You think my disobedient hair is “adorable.” I think it looks like I’ve come off of a five-day crystal meth binge. My biggest obsession is sex. Your biggest obsession is numbers. Your obsessions pay the bills. Mine don’t. Poetry bores me unless it’s about love, lust, violence, or death. You don’t read poetry at all.
You are so practical. In fact, so practical I don’t know if you will even appreciate the confessional and descriptive language of this letter I’m writing you to tell you how much I love you. And I have to work to make it not sound pretentious. You hate that.
You’re the least complicated person I have ever met, odd for a woman. Not uninteresting, just not complicated. You aren’t complicated but you are unexpected. Your favorite music is crap only 13-year-old girls listen to and Rachmaninoff….strange. You are a butch in a girly hairstyle. You told me you weren’t very smart when we first met. It took me some time to realize you are much smarter than I am. Your intelligence isn’t a showy or arrogant one.
So many people love you baby. How could they not? You are the perfect balance between a toughy and a softy. My aunt would go gay for you. You should breed but you don’t. You may be the 3rd happiest person alive. Your greatest vice is your addiction to moisturizing.
You have to stop making me laugh so hard with your jokes that are somehow uniquely clever and ridiculously stupid all at the same time, that make me have to bend over and hold my crotch so I don’t piss myself. It’s undignified, it’s torture, and I can’t breath. Wait, don’t stop, don’t.
The only time you ever threatened to leave me it was justified. I never mistreated you or cheated on you. But my love had become like a stoned slacker, still living at home, sucking on a bong all day and not reaching their potential. But you were the parent and the bong was my ADD. You were surprised to find out I quite cared you were considering leaving me. But you gave me the chance to help you understand the difference between selfishness and the self-absorption of being unwillingly sucked hard like a riptide, into an internal world that’s so hard for me to escape. I changed as much as I could. I took good care of you. And you were glad because you seem to value many things about me.
Years later I truly completely lost it. I had swallowed every class of pill known to man, going into to offices again and again and again, crawling on my hands and knees begging for science to save me. Because I just couldn’t seem to be able to save myself. We helped fund a man’s lovely house, (probably on Lake Washington, perhaps with a boat and view of Bill Gates’ yard) to put electrodes on either side of my brain and electrocute the shit out of it, a truly bizarre and horrific experience. And this too failed. That’s when losing your fucking mind isn’t some expression, it’s a bitter reality lived in hell. One a person like you can never understand. Mental illness culminating from a serious anxiety disorder, a predisposition to depression, internalized homophobia, terrible experiences with women that didn’t love me, being dismissed or hated by many strangers, a friend’s betrayal, a business failing, and not knowing how to truly love you. I was already on the fritz by the time you got to me. And the utter, out-and-out, shame of it all I thought to myself. The gall to be so screwed up when I am so lucky that there is just no excuse for it. This is all of course what every wife dreams of.
I changed. It took a stubborn refusal and an intense self-discipline but I changed. The miraculous recovery no one told you, even me, to expect did. I’m the master of my sanity; the lack of it will never be the master of me again. But if I hadn’t changed? There is not one shred of doubt in your mind (or mine) you would still be here putting up with god knows what. And what is that kind of love even? I don’t have an insightful way to describe it because it’s not describable. All I can say is I wish it was the kind of love every halfway decent soul in the Milky Way could count on.
On websites I scroll past common headlines not meant for me. 5, 7, 10 ways to keep your relationship exiting! The advice is always the same. A new thoughtful gift, a new sex toy, a new adventure, a new position, a new therapist, maybe a threesome?, a new date in a new place…
I love the possibility of new experiences with you my love. We are babies of a big bang universe after all. But I don’t cling to the cult of new shiny things.
I relish the monotony of turning into your back in the morning, sliding my hand across your side, up the warmth of your abdomen, to rest the crux of my finger and thumb under your breast.
I look forward to the monotony of monogamy.
I accept the monotony of looking over my shoulder on the off-chance I may get my ass kicked for holding a woman’s hand in public but am glad that hand is always yours.
I crave the monotony of the feel of your hands and mouth on me, soft from your weird but amusing hand lotion and ChapStick addictions.
I honor the monotony of the weight of you on me, lighter than the other ones but the most intense, meaningful, and fun.
I understand the monotony of the stress of having lived in a homosexual relationship has made that relationship deeper.
I’m thrilled by the monotony of your tongue in more ways than one.
I’m entertained by the monotony of living life as an ordinary person with you.
I savor the monotony of your easily attained and abundant pleasure, in bed and out.
I’m grateful for the monotony of our true but disrespected love.
I cherish the monotony of being wrapped in your arms, overjoyed, protected, improved: rolled around by you in love, lust, and loyalty, until we are disbanded by the law of entropy that will stop me from loving you forever if I could.