The Gray Zone

I turn over and watch her sleep--watch the silhouette of curves, the rhythmic flow of her body as she breathes in and out. I love watching her like this. Quiet. Gentle. I still can’t believe that I am here in this moment. Next to Her. She is mine. And I am Hers. Two years of on and off and I feel like I learn something new about Her all the time. Somethings I like, somethings not so much, but it’s all Her and I am learning to understand and appreciate that.

It seems amazing to me that I have been able to date a woman (almost) exclusively for so long. So long in a country where homophobia is rampant and same sex couplings a crime. Strangely, women are encouraged and expected by our heavily patriarchal societies to socialize with each other. It is not uncommon to witness affections being exchanged by women amongst themselves. Women also are more sexually liberated and discuss quite openly about sexual desires in the private comfort of female audiences. However, if even suspected [of homosexuality], women face the same tormenting as men. Because as everyone knows, every African woman’s sole purpose in life is to find a good husband, settle down and continue HIS progeny – and never mind the fact that it is also “just plain evil”.

So it seems that for me the agony lies in staying in that interesting gray zone of continually monitoring the balances. You are (allowed) expected to be with women; however not too much and not always the same woman. While promiscuity is frowned upon and can tarnish your reputation, a woman who only socializes with other women raises eyebrows. You constantly have to ask: “Is it too much? Do I need to be seen with a man now? Should I not have looked at her like that?” Because if something should slip, then you are in a very real situation where you could be legally prosecuted for nothing more than loving another human being.

There are nights where we very deliberately plan outings without each other so that we can be seen socializing in “normal” settings. I can be with my other girlfriends oogling men and making suggestive moves on the dance floor or I can hang out with my male friends discussing football and women (theirs, not mine of course). I have told my closest friends of my bi-sexuality and yet it still seems very hard for some of them to conceive and understand. And of course I have no other lesbian friends, I know of whispers of rampant lesbianism in certain circles, corners of town, but that is a secret club and I have not been given the password yet (and I am not sure I want to be a part of it either)...

I try not to think about these things too much though. I enjoy the moment, enjoy the time I share with Her. I slide closer to Her, press my hips against Her, She purrs and leans back into me instinctively and I wake Her with a kiss. My free world is within the four corners of my home where I feel comfortable to express my feelings for Her - how and when I desire. I and my Queen rule this small kingdom and its enough for me. Outside in reality, we remain the best of friends to strangers and lovers to friends.

Copyright © 2007. Used with author's permission.

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