Sunday, June 14, 2015

"He's My Wife"

"He's my wife," I replied.

We had stopped at "Big Mama's" roadside stand a couple of days ago on the way out to Big Beach with the kids. I had first met her three years ago (pictured above), a very large older Hawaiian woman who makes and sells jewelry at her stand along with fruit and wood carvings made by her son. I bought some things from her that year, and we subsequently passed her stand dozens of times over the ensuing years. I wanted the children to meet her.

The woman's granddaughter was there to help. Grandma isn't mobile: once installed on her chair, she is there for the day. Both extended their aloha as we walked up to their tables laden with hand-made jewelry, wood carvings and tropical fruit. My eye was immediately drawn to some small woven fans. "A perfect Christmas ornament," I said to myself."

"Can you tell me about the fans?" I inquired.

"Sure," Big Mama replied. "Me and my sister make those." She then went into a lengthy explanation of how they are made, most of which I didn't absorb, except that they're hand-woven. I asked to look at them.

"Is this for yourself or your wife?" the granddaughter asked. I couldn't imagine why in the world it would make any difference - I mean, it's not like they had masculine-looking fans vs. feminine looking fans. I couldn't resist a reply.

"Actually," I said, pointing to Mark, "he's my wife." I immediately regretted saying it. That often happens to me. There followed what is usually termed an awkward silence. But granddaughter, if she even caught on, rebounded immediately. 

"Are you guys twins?" she asked, apparently unfazed or perhaps untouched by my quip.

Mark and I smiled. It never ceased to amaze us how many people over the course of our time together had asked if he and I are brothers or even twins. We didn't think we even remotely looked like each other.

"Several people have told us that," I replied. 

"Really?" she said. "Well, you do look alike, except that you," she added, pointing at me, "have braces and he doesn't."

Hmmm. I bought the fan.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be appropriate, given the theme of this post, to relate a conversation that Annie, age eight, had yesterday with Mark and me.

"Were you ever married before, Mark?"

"No, Annie, I've only been married once - to your dad."

"Didn't you ever have a wife?"


"Why not?"

"Because I'm gay, Annie."

"Do you know what 'gay' means, Annie?" I asked.


"It means that Mark and I fall in love with men instead of women."

"Oh. What's for dinner?"

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