"My label came with a capital L; for love, for loyalty, for lesbian."- Eri Cruz
Last April, I sat in the parking lot of a drive-thru, celebrating my girlfriends scholarship with cheese fries and coke. It was between 12 and 2.
I was born third generation Jehovah's Witness, from a bloodline both sides of the family, in a town outside L.A. I moved across the country to a much smaller town in the state of Tennessee, but it wasn't until that day in April between 12 and 2 that I was labeled for shunning.
My label came with a capital L.
It was stitched into my collar at sixteen.
It wasn't secret, they gave me clothing to keep it hidden, to tuck that ugly part of me away. I wrapped myself in cloaks and coats to hide it, the L that was my name.
But this was April 2017, not June 2006. I was wearing my L like fine jewelry now; there was nothing left for them to strip away. I had shed it, screaming, like snakeskin through the past seven years since moving away.
My label came with a capital L; for love, for loyalty, for lesbian.
Like Lilith I left a life of subservience, walked out of Eden filled with plastic plants. My girlfriend and I were engaged between the gardens and castle of Alnwick, England, that following May. We are flying out to Paris in 28 days.
There is a beauty to artificial Eden, a safety in fake leaves, but the real scent of fresh flowers is something that just can't be processed. It was worth every slip, every bruise from the fall, to feel my heart pressed against her chest in her sleep as it rises.