I Won’t believe It When I see It

There’s almost nothing else on my mind these days, because it just isn’t possible.

I’m tempted to say I’ll believe it when I see it. But that isn’t true. I won’t believe it even when I see it. After a lifetime of knowing I could never get married, many decades of looking at weddings as a lovely but alien rite and  marriage as a status that had no reality in my life, I can’t seem to switch off the “What, are you kidding?” mode.

I was my sister’s maid of honor, a bridesmaid for my cousin, a happy participant when my niece got married, and then my nephew. One after another, my old friends married.

I have to admit my feelings weren’t all charitable and loving. There was that edge—not directed at the people I loved, but at the world—of anger. Of “Why them and why not me?” Everybody else expects it. It was like being a non-observant Jew at Christmas.

I had plenty of relationships. I even lived with a number of them. We could tell ourselves we were married, but we weren’t and we knew it. Of course, as it turned out, these were not exactly not-marriages made in heaven, so every one of them would have ended in messy divorce anyway.

For the best? Maybe. But I also kind of thought  I was as entitled to a messy divorce as the next woman.

And I wondered: that one good relationship, the first serious one way back in the Sixties. The one I wasn’t ready for. If we’d been able to get married, would I have found it harder to be a damned fool?

Now, even though it hasn’t happened yet, everyone seems to think we’re about to be allowed (Allowed. Grrrrr, as our cockapoo would say) the complete, blessed-by-society union. That Prop 8 will implode like a pig in Angry Birds. That maybe even DOMA will fall.

And, in wonderful synchronicity,  that first woman, the good relationship I messed up in the Sixties, has come back to me after all these years. So we’re planning a wedding for summer. Maybe we’ll play some Supremes music and Scalia won’t be singing.

We’re already domestic partners, which means, weirdly, that we will have to divorce from that state of unwedded bliss to actually make it the  real thing instead of separate but unequal. We’re planning to do it at home but even so, we walk around the house singing “Going to the chapel, and we’re going to get mah-ah-arried…”

Of course, we could have used all those sheets and towels and small appliances back then. Now I don’t know where we’ll put them.

And I don’t believe it anyway.


14 Responses

  1. I can barely believe the shift in public opinion nationwide over the last ten years. When the wall comes down, it’ll give us mystery writers even more great material. Think of how a gay or lesbian partner of a murder victim could be a suspect in a whole new way: “You didn’t get married? Why not? It’s legal now.” 🙂

  2. You go, girls! Best wishes and felicitations!

  3. We were domestic partners for years. Then we got married. They are not equivalent – married is better. We wish you all the joys and frustrations of married union. And many duplicate hand mixers.

    • We could actually use a hand mixer. Yeah, the domestic partner thing isn’t the same, but I had to go through the equivalent of divorce to end one. “Here’s half a cup,” they said, “but it’ll cost you a quart to get out of it.”

  4. Shelley, I’m so happy for you. And sending good vibes towards California and the Supreme Court decisions. They had better come through for the right to marry! I have the equal sign glued to my car. And you can always come here to Vermont! We’ve supported every one’s equal rights here–not that we haven’t had to fight the Neanderthals with their signs on the bias..(Nancy)

    • Thank you. We were thinking Iowa, since we have family and friends in Minnesota and Illinois. But at home in the garden is a lot better. Not that I’d ever turn down a trip to New England.

  5. Go for it, Shelley. I just celebrated my fiftieth.

  6. Can’t wait, Shelley! I’m looking forward to lifting a glass of champagne to offer you and your wonderful bride-to-be a wedding toast!

  7. That’s just great! In Indiana, our friends are still waiting their turn. Maybe someday the Supreme Court will decide it as a civil rights issue, not states rights.

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