This I Believe

Minikin - San Jose, California
Entered on May 15, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I believe.

I believe in love.

I don’t know how love grows for others, but for me, I was born a lesbian, a girl child who loved women and their wonder, more than anything else.

I remember my first love. I was 4 years old. I found both love and heartbreak, in the oven hot dust of summer in 1964.

There was a large, beautiful, southern woman who lived across the street, in our low-income housing units.

My sisters and I would go to her each day after school.

Everything was fine until my father heard me use words I had learned from our southern neighbor. My dad freaked out, afraid that his “white chillun would start speakin’ Alabama Black”, and he commanded my mother to keep us away from her.

I didn’t understand what he was talking about, so the next day, there I was, pounding on Mamie’s door and wailing and wailing cuz she wouldn’t let me in. Finally she came to the screen door, but left it latched, and said that my daddy said I couldn’t come over there no more and to ask him why.

Crying, dragging my sneakers the whole way, and getting a massive headache from the heat and the tears, I walked to the little market at the end of the street. I bought my Mamie a candy heart necklace, pink cuz it was her favorite color. I picked every wildflower I could find, mostly honeysuckle and dandelions, and left them on her doorstep with the candy. I didn’t leave no note, cuz I hadn’t learned yet how to write.

But I knew I loved her. I loved her so deeply that I dreamed of her at night, how the scent of ginger in her kitchen was so strong and sweet, that it soaked into her skin and made her smell like cookies. She was so beautiful, her bosoms so full and soft, that when she laughed while holding me, I’d bounce up and down, laughing back at her, like an echo.

If I could be all powerful, I would go back in that time and tell her what she meant to me, what she did for me, loving me and feeding me, and teaching me the powerful beauty of a woman loving me.