There are things I worry about, these days, living here, with Nola, in this house on this island. Things like, will it rain before the cistern gets too low, or why is the dog limping, or has anyone counted the cats recently. Things I’ve mostly stopped worrying about: will someone shoot me if I hold Nola’s hand in public?
In my twenties, I tended bar for several years at a combination c&w/disco in Texas. It was one of the very few lesbian bars in the state. Pride Week was huge; everyone came out for it. It was a fuckton of work, starting early afternoon and going till legal closing time, which varied between weeknights and weekend, and beyond, since while we might shut off the alcohol, soft drinks and coffee meant the party didn’t have to end till dawn. We made noise, breathed deep, smiled and laughed and shouted our presence. I remember the packed bodies, the heat, the noise and thumping bass, Philip in drag, Mary and Rhonda and I sneaking smokes in between uncapping Bud Lights and pouring shots, someone ordering for a table and me adding the total as I poured and her not believing I could do that till I rang it up on the register. Another night on the door and being raided by the ATF and I carded them and was shown a holstered gun as their ID.
Pride is why I still hold her hand in public.