The thing that joined my birthday to that of my now deceased beloved woman was lasagne. My birthday is in early February and hers was in mid-March. Thirty years go, when I was twenty-four, I held the first birthday dinner of many for João, on the occasion of her thirty-first birthday. Yes, I served lasagne – eventually, when her brother-in-law finally arrived from golf. That 19th hole is a long and difficult hole, that’s for sure.
Anyway, while we waited, we drank brandy and coke with her sister. We did have real chairs, but preferred the more Bohemian, softer cushions closer to the floor. For those who need an LGBTQ history lesson, such a visible physical demonstration of our feelings for one another, albeit in our own environment, but especially in front of a family member was, in 1988, pushing the envelope. Such daring and defiance! Such commitment that we knew exactly what we were doing. The photo was taken, and remains one of my favourite of the two of us.
In case you are wondering just how I could be so fiercely possessive, perhaps I should tell you about the previous occasion I had made lasagne – on my birthday five weeks earlier. João gave me a card with words in it. I kept it, and still have it. In case you have difficulty reading it, here is the transcription:
May your joys be many Your sorrows few You will know Many suns And Endless worlds To melt And sing love’s ecstasy Know the secrets of your heart Life – Vida – That gives Unto Life 88 Com amor João
Am I sad? No. How can I be? Why should I be? Of course, I am. Life goes on. There is no end in sight, and even if there were, I suspect there would still be a fair way to go. With that in mind, I am off to the pub this Friday night, to listen to some live singing, and raise my glass to lovers everywhere. Especially lesbian ones. I am biased, that way, quite unapologetically, as it happens. I also make a pretty good lasagne.