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Cuddling in Place with My Wife

28 May Posted by in Jewelle Gomez | Comments Off on Cuddling in Place with My Wife
Cuddling in Place with My Wife

by Jewelle Gomez, ©2020.

There are people who think they can’t catch the virus if they’re wearing jogging shorts. My spouse used to walk around Lake Merritt at the beginning of all this (we’ve been cuddling in place since March 12th ). It was relatively quiet and the few other people walking were cooperative and mindful. Then as days passed it got more and more crowded. Bikers took to the sidewalk to sideswipe whoever was in their way. And joggers whizzed by spraying viral sweat behind them. It reminded me of Stephen King’s great pandemic novel, “The Stand.” Early in the book a customer hands a waitress her tip: ‘a dollar bill crawling with death.” I can never get that image out of my mind.

I’m not saying I’m paranoid but I won’t even look at a video online that’s gone viral! Like the majority of folks, we’re adhering to the directives that will keep us healthy and cheering for all the folks we see on Instagram who’re making masks and donations.

When I watch demonstrators screaming about their ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’ to open up their businesses and crowd together in public I have to remind myself they are an aberration. But I’m furious because they are mostly organized by the anti-vaccine characters and pro-Trump trolls and really don’t care about the pandemic, the health of others or the economy. Their primary concern is backing anything #45 asks them to support.

I wonder what would have happened to them during the WWII Blitz. Would they claim going underground was a liberal plot and Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy. They’d refuse to have their liberty curtailed so wouldn’t shelter underground during the wholesale destruction of London and march into the streets to be bombed to smithereens?

I try not to think bitter thoughts about them as I remember the thousands who’ve died because of contamination by someone who probably didn’t even realize they were killing another human. Thus far I’ve NOT concluded my nightly prayers (if there were any) with a wish that #45 would actually drink Clorox. Rather I meditate on Ruther Bader Ginsberg living to be 120 years old.

I try not to watch more than one news show per day—if I wanted reasons to despair, I’d read a US (so-called) history book. I’ve narrowed it down to Rachel Maddow because she has such an intelligent grasp of the political rant and seeing an out lesbian verbally take down the US government on television is very inspiring.

One really fun thing I do: Occasionally I set my alarm for relatively early as if I’m going to work. Then I shut it off, go feed the cat, wash, dress, (that’s the key part) then I undress and go back to bed. It‘s so satisfying and makes up for all those mornings I had to drag myself out of bed to go to somebody’s office. I can feel myself smiling as I fall back asleep.

Sorting though old photos – Jewelles’s Mother and Grandmother

I did spend about two weeks sorting through old photographs of family and friends which had been languishing since we moved last August. It’s one of those jobs there’s never any time for and it was so satisfying I could barely stand to have it completed. My grandmother and mother in their 1940s prime! A drawing done of my elegant father by one of his bar patrons in the 1960s! These are memory gems that brought some sparkle to a flat, straight away, road of days.

Every once and while some surprising joy emerges: like two lesbian films by Alice Wu streaming at the same time! That made our night. Or our friend Elana dropping off a can of salmon (one of my faves) and some wild flowers. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that. Maybe those demonstrators don’t have friends or family or movies or little pleasures they find engaging and satisfying; in which case I should wish them better luck in their next life.

Jewelle Gomez (Cape Verdean/Ioway/Wampanoag) is a writer and activist and author of the double Lambda Award-winning novel, THE GILDA STORIES from Firebrand Books. Her adaptation of the book for the stage “BONES & ASH: A GILDA STORY,” was performed by the Urban Bush Women company in 13 U.S. cities.  The script was published as a Triangle Classic by the Paperback Book Club.

She is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; two California Arts Council fellowships and an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Learn more about Jewelle at

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