“Well you’re good to go” I say, scooping Blue Eyes into a final cuddle and furiously blinking away tears.
“I’m going to miss you so much” she says snuffling gently in my neck.
“Me too darling, but it’s only a couple of weeks and then I’ll be out there with you.”
Blue Eyes and I have been together for just over five months now and life has settled into its little rhythms and routines: our sleepy morning coffees in bed; plodding down to the DIY shop on a Saturday; the odd, cheeky takeaway after a long day at the office.
We go to birthdays and dinners and nights out together; testing out the fabric of each other’s lives; seeing how we fit in. As the weeks tick by I find new items squirreled away in my room: moisturizer; deodorant; pyjamas; a pair of jeans. One day a pair of keys appears whilst Blue Eyes smiles shyly.
I come out at work; to close friends at first and then, slowly, to everyone. I was tired, in Ellen Page’s words of “lying by omission”; saying I was meeting up with a friend for dinner or drinks. I have nothing to hide – yes, I love a woman and yes I’m pretty pleased with that decision. Somewhat predictably, no one cared. I’ve never been happier to be so deeply, terminally uninteresting.
I finally pluck up the courage to come out to my mum, scrunching my hands and jiggling my legs like mad. She was wonderful – no tears or confusion or drama – just the quiet acceptance of a gentle, tolerant and loving woman who wants me to be happy. She’s the last person to know whose opinion actually matters; from here on in I need never be afraid again of what someone thinks of my sexuality or, more accurately, loveality.
And so…to Thailand. I’ve blagged my way onto Blue Eye’s holiday so I pack a bag and head into the sun. Whilst away – unchaperoned and on the loose – she’s bought a selfie stick on impulse. I have a weird quirk about selfie sticks; I find them a bit, well, cringey.
“Let’s have a photo!” she says, retrieving the offending article from her bag.
“Okay, but do it quickly” I reply, nervously scanning the beach for passers-by.
Fifty years ago, or maybe even 20, this could have been two women about to steal a kiss. Today, it’s two women about to take a photo with a selfie stick.