Of Produce and Lesbians

I spent the summer of 1990 with my mother at her home in Climax Springs, Missouri (and yes, that really was the name of the town). I arrived with my cut-off shorts, my rugby t-shirts, my guitar, a stack of stationary and my girlfriend’s address. There weren’t any other people my age down there let alone any out queer folk. I had a job as a stocker at a grocery store in a nearby town but had nothing in common with my gun totin’, pick-up drivin’ co-workers. My mother and step-father were all that I had and neither of them knew that I was a lesbian. I planned to tell my mother at the end of the summer, right before I went back to school, in case things went badly. Well, I hadn’t been there but a few days when she asked me and I told her the truth. Things went very badly indeed. She told me that we would endure the summer together and then, when I returned to school, she would never speak to me again. Now, I was queer not crazy – that scenario did not scream Summer Fun! I begged her to let me go back to Kansas City to stay with my sister but she held firm. Suffering was to be our lot. So, I was stuck in a conservative town, my girlfriend was at Russian camp in Vermont, my co-workers thought I was a weirdo and my mother and step-father weren’t speaking to me. Rather bleak, huh? I was so lonely.

One day, I was working at the store when in walked two, super cute women in their 20’s. My gaydar started going off immediately but I figured it was just wishful thinking on my part. Still, I watched them as they made their way through the store. At one point, I was inside the dairy cooler stocking the milk and watching them through the glass doors as they shopped for produce. They both glanced around and then – they started making out, right there in front God and everyone! Okay, God wasn’t there and they were alone but I was watching and so was the broccoli. I was so stunned that I dropped a gallon of milk on the floor. When they stopped kissing, they laughed and held hands as they continued shopping. I made sure I was front and center when it came time to bag their groceries and I walked them out to their Jeep (for the love of lesbian stereotypes, they had a Jeep!) and watched as their car became a speck in the distance. I can close my eyes and remember that day clearly because for that one hour of that one day in that horribly long summer – I could see part of myself reflected in someone else and I felt less alone. Their kiss reminded me that my circumstances were temporary and that I would be going back to school, back to my girlfriend and back to my community. They reminded me that my life was bigger than the Greenview Thriftway.

Visibility is powerful and I blog to claim that power. I have no way of knowing what, if any, impact my words have on those who stumble across my little patch of the virtual world. Maybe people read something here and see themselves in the story, see the ways in which we are similar rather than the differences that keep us apart. Maybe people come here simply because they’ve never known a gay person before and are curious. Maybe people don’t even notice the lesbian thing and read because it makes them feel better about their parenting (which, by the way, is why I watch Super Nanny). And maybe, just maybe, Luisa and I are a couple of lesbians, kids in tow, kissing in the produce aisle and, if someone is watching, I hope that we make them feel just the tiniest bit less alone.

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17 Responses to Of Produce and Lesbians
  1. Kelly
    May 31, 2009 | 11:27 pm

    Your blog is my version of “daily affirmations”…
    keep on writin’ sister!

  2. angelina
    June 1, 2009 | 2:23 am

    And this is why I thank you for blogging. You’re out there, being funny and charming and cute and sharing your lovely family, and making all the “us-es” more approachable and less scary. I’ll never be much of an ambassador for the land of teh gay myself (sorta socially backward, sadly), so I’m immensely grateful to you and others who do this job so brilliantly. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. […] Up Popped A Fox Of Produce and Lesbians […]

  4. Ann Freeman
    June 1, 2009 | 6:32 am

    Thank you! You inspired me to write by own post in honor of this day! Joy http://tinyurl.com/lj46wq

  5. Susan
    June 1, 2009 | 6:38 am

    do you and luisa kiss in the produce aisle? let me know when and i’ll hang out by some kind of round sweet red fruit, all ready to watch.

  6. Meghan
    June 1, 2009 | 8:29 am

    Your last paragraph made me smile. You never know who you touch throughout life and this is a wonderful way to do it.

  7. Meg DeZutti
    June 1, 2009 | 8:45 am

    You are awesome my friend! All of us, no matter the gender of our partners, are better people and feel MORE ACCEPTED because of your blogging. You are my hero! (err, heroine, but that sounds weird because of the drug name and all.)

  8. Missy
    June 1, 2009 | 2:32 pm

    Applause!!! Applause!!

    Your blog makes me want to be a better friend, daughter, partner and pet owner (as I have no children at this time).

  9. Jessica
    June 1, 2009 | 9:49 pm

    great story! thanks for reminding me to be visible as a gay parent.

  10. Mel
    June 2, 2009 | 7:00 am

    A wonderful, life affirming way to look at things. Thanks for reminding me that we just don’t know who we affect or how. A kind smile or word may mean a lot to someone else (or a stolen kiss). Inspiring.

  11. StephLove
    June 2, 2009 | 7:33 pm

    And I thought my coming out to my mom was rough. Did things ever improve? Have you patched things up or do you remain estranged?

  12. Meredith
    June 2, 2009 | 8:59 pm

    On behalf of my family and friends who are out, thank you for being visible.

  13. Ali B.
    June 3, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    I love this post. Beautifully done.

    And. I didn’t know that if I make out with someone by the dairy cooler that I might be spied upon. Good to know.

  14. Jennie
    June 3, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    Great message, Vikki.

  15. Ali B.
    June 3, 2009 | 5:41 pm

    I love this post. Beautifully done.

    Also. I didn’t know that someone might be watching if I make out near the dairy cooler. Good to know.

  16. Marjorie
    June 15, 2009 | 10:38 pm

    That scene when you saw the women kissing really belongs in some beautiful novel or film. (Which you should write.) Really powerful….

  17. Up Popped A Fox » Music To My Ears
    July 22, 2009 | 7:43 pm

    […] Sometimes, though, I hear a song and wish that I had written it. In fact, during the summer of my discontent, I sat down to write a song and this gorgeous music started pouring out and I ran to get a pen. […]

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