An important time has finally come. A group of people have the opportunity to change history, for better or worse. My fiancee and I are two of the many that will be affected by whatever this change may be.
DOMA. Prop 8. Hate transformed into supposed legislation.
I pay $800 for a shitty studio apartment because my government tells me I cannot legally get married in most states. I work to pay for my medical benefits. I have watched countless couples emerge around me and get married after two weeks or a month together and have a house handed to them no questions asked. My wife-to-be and I have been together for over two years, but that commitment means nothing to the military without a paper stating it is “official”.
I have had people suggest for me to cheat the system and marry a man for face. Not only am I morally opposed to that idea, I refuse to change myself to fit their normal. I want to be a part of what is considered “normal” without sacrificing how I feel or who I am.
I want equality. I want the same as what I would be entitled to if I were the spouse of a man.
We are all human. We bleed, we live, we die- all the same.
We all deserve the same rights.
Her footsteps mimic the pattern created by my own. The sidewalk stretches across the downtown district, separated from itself only by streets and the occasional alleyway. We pass by a man on a bench, his body surrounded by a heavy coat. His head, drooped down, makes no movement. He remains unaware of the strangers invading his temporary sleeping space. Lauren walks faster and sets her pace to match mine. The task given to her was to follow my lead but she refuses to allow herself to have only little control over the situation.
“Where are we going?”
At the corner of the block, I pause to search the road for oncoming vehicles. The morning is still early- workers and tourists have yet to bathe the streets and walks with activity. I cross under an orange flashing hand. The crosswalk leads to a small park. The gazebo at the center shines under the lights decorating it.
I lead to the gazebo, slowly stepping to the top. The wooden planks groan. The memory begins to return. Her ghost stands across from me, her gaze piercing my skin. A chill runs through me.
I think of cupcakes.
Chelsea wants to make panda cupcakes. Add Oreos to the grocery list.
“No one here. Let’s hope your next idea produces better results.”
Right- stick to the objective.
I look to Lauren as she points at my feet. Between them a scrap of paper juts out from the wood. I kneel to take it in my hand and carefully pull it from its entrapment. The handwriting is familiar.
She knew we would come here. Our search has now become a scavenger hunt.
“What’s it say?”
Attempting some creative thoughts before work. Have several projects to keep me busy. Working on a short story collection as well as the Anderson entries I have been posting on here. Still working on developing the character, so I hope she does not come off as boring. Know there was more to be mentioned, but no coffee or liquid energy has entered my body yet and my morning nap made me more tired. Trying to decide on breakfast. Anything sounds great right now. Well, I should probably go get breakfast.
48 hours and counting.
Target Alpha escaped from confinement and disappeared into the night. A criminal on the loose- physically unarmed yet still dangerous.
Outside, a woman climbs the driveway, approaching me as I take my early morning leave. The light on the garage illuminates her face. Lauren greets everyone with her typical scowl.
“You don’t have to do this.” Her eyes shift from mine to the house. “Your daughter needs you.”
“So does yours.”
She walks back into the shadows, her silhouette barely visible in the darkness. “Come on.”
“We think she’s close. And you are the only one qualified to make reasonable guesses at where her location may be.”
The possible whereabouts of Target Alpha for my freedom. Wind rushes around us. The sound is canceled out only by Lauren giving life to her vehicle. The growl of the engine threatens to awaken the neighborhood. Last chance to reject the responsibilities of my job and attempt to live the rest of my life as normal as my existence and lifestyle can grant me. I look once more to my home before the darkness engulfs and drags me away.
When I climb into the passenger side, Lauren tosses something onto my lap. The badge and identification inside bare little resemblance to those I previously had owned.
Special Agent Rebecca Anderson.
My intel makes me valuable. As long as it pays off in the end. As long as I can locate Target Alpha.
“I know where to start.”
Loss is painful. I have lost pets and loved ones. It never gets any easier. Our cat returned to the outside world today. No, that isn’t some metaphor for the great beyond. Avenger was an outside cat in his youth and maybe that was what led to today. Maybe being cooped up in a tiny studio apartment was too much for him. I will never know what caused today, but it happened and he acted in a way I have never seen in a cat. The guilt came in- we were barely home enough to give him attention and while we were gone- he was left with limited play room. He was trapped here and although it worried me to let him go outside, that was his home at one point. He had survived then, so it seems like he has a good chance.
Don’t bother chiding me about taking him to an animal shelter because sometimes those aren’t the best alternative. I feel bad enough about having to let him go. He was the first pet we could call ours. We was going to be the pet for our future first child. He was a part of our little family.
But I guess he wasn’t meant to stay ours.
I’ll miss that cat, even though he was such a pain and the least behaved cat I had ever had.
Be safe wherever you are, Avenger. May you live a long and happy cat life.
I have been lucky the past few years of my life. Despite my being born gay, my eventual coming out was received well by most, including my mother- a serious Catholic. So, maybe I have been a little spoiled by situations working in my tabor and maybe that has made me often forget there are still so many narrow-minded people out there. I hope to live in a world where I don’t have to worry about my children going to school and being picked on for having two mothers. So, that’s my thought of the day.
Snow white fur
Doused in spots of charcoal black
A puff of a tail
And a mewl for speech
An attraction to some
And an oddity to others
Not polar nor brown
But a cute little panda bear
Three hours left.
The morning is a surreal memory. A long ride to and from a delivery and navigating through boxes of merchandise. Exhaustion strives to overcome this weary body. Coffee and caffine fight to delay the effects. Empty thoughts are active inside my brain. Patiently waiting to go home to small, cool apartment where I can lie in bed and relax until tomorrow comes and the morning routine repeats itself.
The goal for today- another fiction entry and a poem as well. Need to get back to the stories as well.
“X equals 3?”
When she rests her forehead against the knuckles of her fist, blonde hair submerges her face. Hidden behind herself, she gives a loud sigh and taps her pen against the table. Her tutor, a few years her senior, flips through the textbook in front of them. Her finger touches a place on the page as she looks to the younger girl.
“Like this- just follow the example.”
“I’m not super smart like you and I hate math!”
She takes after her mother.
My voice draws them out of their study session. Chelsea throws her hands up. “I give up! I quit.” She slams her textbook shut.
Her companion snickers. “You can’t quit school.”
“Just watch me.”
I remember my mission.
The images of Chelsea at her high school graduation. The uncertainty of letting her go off to college. Watching her marry the person who makes her feel complete. The memories I look forward to documenting in my mind and in my photo albums- they could all transform into empty hopes and dreams. My daughter smiles at me and reality sinks in.
I must do this. For my daughter and for everyone I love.