we were there to work. For a minute we were sleeping in the kids’s playroom, until one morning when the wife opened the door without knocking. We weren’t doing anything other than trying to wake up. Yes, our heads were close together. We were enjoying a delicious and innocent morning cuddle, talking about the day ahead and how hard we were going to work, how much money we were going to make. What we’d pay off and what we would do with the extra.
A few minutes later the husband walked in. We had worked really late the night before, and it was almost ten o’clock – his kids were waiting to get into their playroom, he explained, and maybe we would need to move outside to the trailer if we wanted to sleep later. It actually sounded great to us. We moved out there, and the next morning we had a delicious sexual snuggle in private – no risks of children, wives, husbands or anyone else (mostly a mix of people who were unconcerned anyway) walking in, catching us in the abominable act of enjoying each other.
Work went easy. We were happy, relieved of some tension. A great selection of music was played, marijuana was (legally) smoked…
And then eventually, the husband walked into the room. In front of a group of people who had laughed together, passed joints, exchanged music and Facebook pages, and struggled through the tedium that is often a marijuana harvest, he proceeded to humiliate us.
I just started to figure out the past few days that you were lesbians, he said to us. There were a number of disconcerting things wrong with this statement, including the fact that, while loving a woman at the moment, I personally don’t identify as a lesbian. I have had, and will probably have another, male companion at some point, unless she’s the last. I go for people. Second – we had been warned, he follows a particularly strict strain of Rastafarianism, and people like us were the aforementioned abominations.
My girlfriend, however, is a lesbian. Not only is there absolutely nothing she could ever do to hide it, she doesn’t want to, shouldn’t have to, and basically has to expend an awful lot of effort into defending herself and the way she is. This is, to her, part of her calling. As a person of two spirits, as well as (yes, in all seriousness), a reggae artist, she has a road that until this moment, I was sure I was going to travel with her, because I was completely unaware of how insanely homophobic the reggae world can be. And then this. For the first time, at 42 years old, I was being chastised for enjoying one of the sweetest loves of my life thus far, with someone who shared similar dreams and aspirations, someone whose mere presence made me a better person, someone who could sing a single line of song in my ear and turn me to putty, and whose hands alone were capable of bringing me to some beautiful states of bliss.
He poisoned the room that day, and he poisoned my love.
Regardless of the fact that it took him days to figure out we were a couple (because like anyone else settling into something that is easy we were flaunting the togetherness a bit less), once he was sure, it was an issue that he felt needed to be brought up in front of everyone.
He represented a religion and spiritual practice that preaches one love, but that day he went on to tell us that men and women are meant to be together. Penises and vaginas make sense. What we are is an abomination, that according to all the research he’s done, lesbianism is caused by a chemical imbalance, or by being abused in childhood. Children, their children, need to be protected from it. They can spend days upon days breathing rogue THC crystals, but god forbid two women hold hands and take the dog for a walk.
His wife, standing beside him nine months pregnant with her third child, defended every word he said and gave some examples of her own, such as encountering a man in a miniskirt and heels and needing to shield her children from a man whose idea of representing “the mother” was so different from her own. You’re not the mother, she explained, and never will be. You will never bear children and without that you can never be the mother.
I was in awe. This was being said aloud – to a woman who had borne a child, and to a woman who never would. I asked her then what if I decided to wear a three piece suit – certainly not an immodest choice in clothing… But this, too, is apparently also an abomination.
I decided then that I was done with the conversation, said as much and put on headphones. I should have kept them on but when I headed my girlfriend’s voice rising in volume out they came. I needed to ask her to be quiet, to keep calm in the continued war of her life, because I had just been tossed to the front lines and had no idea how to handle it.
It was the first time in my life I had been faced with this. No matter what choice I made, I lost something. He had poisoned the room, and he had poisoned my love.
I tried to explain this to her as we drove the hour back to my cabin a couple of days later. This is why we don’t involve ourselves with bisexuals, she said, because for me it isn’t a choice.
I bristled at the word “bisexual” because it’s not what I think of myself as. People turn me on when they have brains and can sing, take care of themselves, walk with confidence and nice physical features, especially if those features are unique. Whether you have a penis or a a vagina in your pants isn’t exactly irrelevant, but not of major importance to me, either. I can work with whatever.
I also see her point, but at the same time I wanted to say fuck off, because how can you look down upon someone whose sexuality is equally as valid as yours, just different. One has to wonder.
I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t even look at him.
He had poisoned my love. He brought ignorance and shame and disgust into my love, and I had no idea what the antidote was.