Come live with me in comfort.
— “Come Live With Me Angel” (1976, song) by Marvin Gaye
My love is alive.
— “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967, song) by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
I saw you and made up my mind.
— Jazz (1992, novel) by Toni Morrison
I’ve told you about how my gender has something knightlike in it. Not for European antiquity’s sake, or for my dedication to any crown, but the one that culminates in a widow’s peak at the top of your head. It’s in my enduring spirit. Love seemed to have given up on me once, but I didn’t (couldn’t) give up on love, so I rode horseback into my own insides to find it (my love), and then I met you, and your love looked a lot like mine. Gallant, focused, intentional.
Now we contemplate the notion of living together, and I can think of many reasons to, and no reasons not to. I think we are both who we say we are, and thankfully, those people go well together. And if we do live together in the near future, there will always be knickknacks on the tables, vinyl records and books on the shelves, fresh pickings from the garden on our plates, your handiwork (embroidery) on clothes and cushions. And if those things should disappear, there would still be you, Fantastic Person, who makes every place feel like a candlelit cottage on a cooling summer evening.
The fiercest people are often so gentle, and you are living proof of that. A few months ago you drove me to the Pacific Ocean (my first time), and the water was so cold and choppy, but you probably would’ve gone deeper if I wasn’t afraid — even with the waves rising over our heads. And when we walked barefoot onto the rocks surrounding the tide pools, you didn’t flinch at the jagged edges. You taught me where to step, how to angle my feet, where to spot the fish and the turtles.
Our kitten, Sweetness, may not share your name per se, but I did name them after you. So affectionate, yet a fighter, just like you: their unironic pawther. I wanted to live with Sweetness so much, but I was also so afraid when we first got them. Truth be told, I was never much good at charming babies of any species — even when I adored them. I was too self-conscious to play, to gush, to be silly — things babies need to feel wanted. But you knew I could do it, and remembered that sometimes I need to be reminded I can do it. And now no one could tell me Sweetness isn’t our child, and I love them like I love you.
I’ve told you about how my gender has male R&B singers in it: Babyface, Usher, Eric Benet — soft boys. Some time after that revelation, we watched Hairspray (2007) and joked about how sensational it would be if Seaweed and Link were genderqueer. And maybe we decided they already were.
READ: “Love Letter #1”