After eleven years with Kelly – an international move, three local moves, adoption, working together to parent a teen, more than one family health crisis, after… well … eleven years of sharing meals, job struggles, job changes, cars, friends, pets and travels, (there is no way to put this into perspective, but) after eleven years of life together, Kelly and I are engaged.
She accepted my proposal via Facebook. She said, “Dear Roi, since you asked… I’ll answer. YES.” The day the Illinois House voted for equality.
This is when elation finally lifted me over the clouds like a super-helium balloon. For years, this has been a civil rights moment to build for, an unrealistic goal, a pie in the sky dream, a possibility, an eventuality, a likelihood, a shocking inevitability and then BAM, it’s done and not only that, but now it’s a romantic moment, too, and my whole heart explodes. How do I express this? I cannot.
We have details to decide – size and style, timing – but there’s no rush. The law doesn’t take effect until June, when Illinois will be the fifteenth state to affirm same-sex marriage. Have you heard the radio reports?
We told the girls, of course. They are happy. All night, Miss E kept saying, “I’m so excited!” Grace called us, and posted to her Facebook page – where more than 80 of her friends clicked “Like.”
And yet… we’re here already. Right?
How many times have I explained us as married to Miss E’s friends, referencing the white gold band on the ring finger of my left hand? Talking about promises, vows, love, our life together. How many times?
Will marriage change our everyday lives?
There have always been more important things to fight for, so many important struggles – more tangible, more urgent, closer to the ground, more central to survival. I know this. Some of these are fights I’m fighting now.
But there is something magical about this moment and I am deeply grateful to the people who would not let go. Now. This. Is a cultural shift. This feels like my heart exploding. Simply love, simply being who we are. How does the law touch me like this, at my core?
I continue life today as I lived it last week and the week before. I travel to the office, to school and home. I interact with my daughter’s friends (and sometimes my own). I eat, sleep, write. I watch TV with my loving partner, our days and nights punctuated by the barking of dogs.
But there is something new here now. Inside me. Security? Bravery? Resolve? There is something in me that doesn’t worry anymore that my life as I know it will one day be taken away. The fog around the edges has cleared. Because of Kelly? Because of the law? It was never a conscious worry – but it was there, nonetheless, and now it is gone.
Is it really this simple? No. There is something more. Something I cannot explain. But this – this feeling – is something I want to save. To savor. Even if some of the words are not yet right. This is the beginning of something new. A moment in history. So –
Thank you to everyone who made this happen. Just – Thank you for hanging on.