(This is the first post by TheNot guest-writer Skinny Bones Jones!!)
Recently, the California Supreme Court overturned a ban on gay marriage, and in a few short weeks gay and lesbian couples all over the US can lawfully wed one another in our beautiful golden state. A few weeks after that, we will see whether or not the conservative Christian right has collected enough signatures on petitions which would introduce an initiative on November’s ballot that could, once again, rip the foundation of equality from under us, like so many SF weddings undone in 2004.
In celebration, hope and as a testament to my amazing loverbird and our unprecedented love, I’ve written a funny little story about the time she proposed to me three years ago.
(Editor’s note: Due to the serious nature of same-sex marriage, it’s really hard to come by any really snazzy, hip images to go along with this sweet story. So, I’m just going to be an asshole and throw in this video. Tell me if you hate it, Skinny, and I’ll take it down.)
Friday, October 14th, 2005.
It started with an unexpected proposal in an unmarked SOMA alley, newly damp with the half-ass San Francisco drizzle that can be either fog or rain or both. I was wearing hot pants. You could feel your skin prick with the approach of Last Call. Rows of lesbians sank into the walls with heavily lined eyes, juggling cocktails and cigarettes and urgent kisses as Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now washed facetiously over the crowd from the door to the dance floor. The alley was cool because of the narrow rectangle of blackened blue sky above it, a little sanctuary from the hot air pouring out of the club. The sweat in my hair cooled me off a little too quickly and I looked at my impossibly handsome date, whom I was living with but wasn’t in a relationship with, not officially, at least. Her body leaned effortlessly against the nicked silver wall, and though her frame faced mine, she was examining the crowd with dark, indifferent eyes, exhaling cigarette smoke deftly, offish and cocky at once. Impossible. You did this to yourself, I reminded myself.
It was the first time in my life that I’d ever truly treasured a person. Do you know that feeling you get when you’ve told the love of your life exactly how you feel and in the milliseconds during which the earth is suspended because you are awaiting their response, despite your bravery or foolishness or certainty, there is a sick, giddy knot in your stomach, throat or both? The one where you’ve jumped off that proverbial precipice and cannot take it back or temper it? I had known her for eight whole months and I was utterly suspended in that state of falling, blind. It had become a sort of masochistic challenge since we decided to move in together after six months – to see how much I could bear, what I could take, what was too much. Then, of course, I would throw my whole heart into the fall and start all over again. I should note, at this time, that because one month in lesbian time is equal to roughly three to six months in heterosexual time, we were approximately two to four years in at this point.
I had also developed a strange habit of observing my own ambrosial suffering. It was new, like blood shed from a first fistfight.
I was dreaming. “Jonesey, will you marry me?” her voice said. Damn whiskey, I thought, cursing myself, exasperated. This was ridiculous. It had begun to rain in earnest. The alley was emptying. We were, in fact, nearly alone now. She’d suddenly vanished from my line of vision and I tried to blink her back into sight. “Jonesey,” she said, and my eyes slowly followed the sound to her face, where she was looking at me with an expression that inched my drunkenness closer to sobriety. “Will you marry me?” It was something in her voice. Arrogance. A pleading austerity. I demanded to know what the hell she was talking about, even though I already knew. It was nothing, a silly party coming up, just a fake “White Wedding” for lesbians deprived of the honor and privilege of the real thing. I remembered the flyer. White Diamonds. A clusterfuck of glamour. This was also new, a sincere juxtaposition of ceremony against indulgence. I took a drag off my cigarette and gently feigned indifference, “If you’re going to ask me to marry you, dearest, you’d better do it properly,” I said.
She dropped to her knees in a puddle, raindrops pushing violently black hair into her eyes and she took my hands in hers. “Jonesey, will you marry me?” she asked again. The oxygen dropped like lead from my lungs and I braced myself against the great, opposing waves of fantasy and reality that threatened to lay waste what little was left of my mental health. But it was no use. It never was, not since the night we met and first kissed or how I couldn’t bring myself to say I Love You back when she’d said so a month before, because I had been too stunned to believe that any of it was true.
She knelt there looking up at me and, unexpectedly, I stopped bracing myself. Even if we were just two girls playing make-believe in a world that hated or feared us, it was the best I’d ever loved or been loved, and so I said yes to her, and we kissed like we’d never kissed before.
It was all that I needed!