We went to the VanGogh exhibit on Friday and before we entered we were given some rules. We were told that we'd see circles on the floor and we were allowed to go into a circle together and advance only as other circles emptied. It was well thought out and executed and what's even better, people followed through with social distancing in this way.
Joe and I got to a circle where we were happy to stay for the whole exhibit, which happens all around you, and stayed there. People were popping into and out of circles trying to get a better view and enjoying doing so. Soon another couple came and stood in a circle just in front and to the side of us.
After a few minutes she leaned back into his chest and he folded his arms around her. It was a lovely gesture.
And there Joe and I stood, beside each other, together approaching 55 years. I wanted to feel his hand on my shoulder or to slip my hand in his.
But I couldn't.
I don't feel safe anywhere were straight people predominate. Where straight people define as their own. Now I'm not suggesting a squad of Van Gogh lovers would race us down and attack us. But I'm also suggesting that it's not outside the realm of possibility.
A few miles north of where we live, two men, walking along a lakeside path, were attacked for holding hands. Beaten.
Throughout all of our lives, I've never felt completely safe being completely gay outside my home or a gay bar or club.
So I sit, wishing Joe knew how I felt at that moment.
And knowing that merely telling him was not good enough.