You’ve dreamt of it for ages. Maybe months, maybe several weeks. Maybe just a few days. You’re standing in the airport (substitute bus terminal, parking lot, your own driveway, your car, etc.) holding flowers you bought at the grocery store for a (whopping) $10 earlier today. It’s midnight (or maybe for you it’s the middle of the day) and people are slowly coming into baggage claim, where you’ve set up shop. You’re holding your flowers and trying to look as normal as possible while your entire body is buzzing with excitement. Your kindle, which you shoved in your bag in case of long wait, remains unread. You picture, over and over, the moment she comes into view. You’re so excited, adrenaline is pumping, you don’t care what time it is, you’re wide awake —
You see her, finally, and she sees you. Her face breaks into a smile and you feel a whoosh, a release of the tension of being apart for all the days since you last saw her. The last moment lasts a very short time, and you aren’t sure if it’s a last moment or a first. She runs toward you, entirely undignified, and you open your arms and accept her into them. The flowers press against her back.
I thought about this moment a lot in the first month my girlfriend and I were parted. I thought about what it would feel like to hug her and kiss her. I fantasized about how great it would feel.
I worried too, briefly, about the other people waiting around me. With one sharp look or a word of disapproval they could shatter my perfect moment. As I stood there with the flowers in my hand, a chauffeur holding a sign that said “Mr. Smith” on it looked at me, then looked away, then slowly looked back at me. The brightly dyed daisies I was carrying were maybe a little startling to me – why was this girl wearing flip flops and a Shakespeare t-shirt, in the airport, half past midnight, holding flowers? The key word, of course, being girl. Carrying flowers she would give to another girl. I worried that if she came before he left he might make some snide remark and boom – shattered. He would ruin the moment.
Being in a queer relationship long distance is interesting – it takes away the constant decision making surrounding whether or not to hold her hand or kiss her in public. Usually, in an ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks’ attitude, I act normally and don’t change my behavior in the slightest for anyone’s comfort. But when she’s not around, no one would guess that I’m in a relationship with a woman. I’m a cisgendered woman who presents female most of the time. I’m not particularly femme but I definitely look, dress, and act ‘female’. As I stood waiting for my girlfriend to come down the stairs and into baggage claim, I became increasingly worried about what the people around me would think of a display of affection between two women who seemed, more or less, straight up until the moment they were kissing each other.
She came and I had the aforementioned moment – I saw her, she ran to me, we hugged, we kissed, I presented her with the flowers, we were basically in our own little world. I forgot about everyone else around us and my worries from the moments before – until a woman came up to us.
She must have been in her twenties, and she walked up and said, “Excuse me?”
Neither of us could stop grinning and my arm was around Kayla as we looked to her in a bit of confusion. I was a little apprehensive before she said, “I just saw that whole thing unfold and I wanted you guys to know that you’re both adorable and that I almost cried a little bit.”
We both responded and thanked her, and she walked away.
I didn’t notice anyone reacting in any negative way, which was good, and the woman who came up to us and told us how cute we were made me feel so much better. Of course the reunion would have been perfect either way, but this woman’s positive reaction – and the fact that she had the guts to come up and tell us about it – gave me a world of confidence. For some reason we’re often afraid to go up to someone and give them a compliment, but after knowing how good this woman made me feel, I feel differently about that. Especially if I see a queer couple holding hands or kissing in couple, instead of looking away (or maybe staring too long, as younger me would have) I’m going to make a conscious effort to smile at them or nod or even, if the situation warrants it, go up and tell them that I think they’re adorable together, so they can feel as welcomed as I did.