The view outside of our temporary home in Batumi in the Republic of Georgia is gorgeous. My spouse and I have a clear shot to the Black Sea and the usually empty, albeit rocky, beach. We like to have sunset cocktail parties for guests, throwing open the windows for massive amounts of sunshine, conversation with good friends, and Georgian wine and cheese.
The night inevitably runs long. Imagine our surprise when two of our younger female guests returned after a wine run with an unexpected dividend: a starving kitten. We do our best to feed the stray and homeless cats and dogs, but after many years of travel, adopting a pet in another country is an expensive and bureaucratic nightmare. Still, it’s frustrating seeing luxury apartment units sprouting everywhere while animals go hungry, but we try to put it in perspective in a land that suffers from high unemployment which is trying desperately to rebuild itself. The dogs and cats will have to wait until the humans are fixed first.
I realized I said, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” much too late. The door was shut, and suddenly the king of cats, my husband, who friends affectionately call the “Pussy Whisperer”, was rescuing the poor thing. There was a viking of a man trying to save a very malnutritioned version of a kitten. Sometimes in marriage, whether that marriage is gay, straight, purple, Martian or even Viking, you look at your partner and want to push them over a ledge. Then there are other times, like when a viking of a man is trying to save a kitten, that you can’t believe how lucky you are. Like the time he cut off his finger in an accident (it was sewn back on). Or, as we were about to get married, he dropped a five-kilo bag of lentils all over our kitchen causing an utter mess (we left it and ran to the Justice of the Peace), you realize how much you love another human. The fact they we are both male never really dawns on us, unless of course a female friend comes over, and we disrespectfully leave the toilet seat up. Two men living together never put the seat down.
We are gay men, legally married in Norway, who value kindness and humanity over clothes and money, unless there is a sale at H&M in our small city in Norway. Then I turn into Imelda Marcos. Kidding aside, much of history’s greatest love affairs, some more infamous than others, have often been swept aside: Willa Cather/Edith Lewis, J. Edgar Hoover/Clyde Tolson, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti /Tommaso Dei Cavalieri, Susan Sontag/Annie Liebovitz, Leonardo da Vinci/GiacomoCaprotti, Truman Capote/Jack Dunphy, Noël Peirce Coward/Graham Payn, Gilgamesh/Enkidu, Gertrude Stein/Alice B. Toklas, Jean Cocteau/Jean Marais, Allan Ginsburg/Peter Orlovsky, Alexander the Great/Hephaestion, Walt Whitman/Peter Doyle, Oscar Wilde/Lord Alfred Douglas, Lawrence of Arabia/Dahoum, Eleanor Roosevelt/Lorena Hickok. You get the point.
It’s nearly too easy to say the cliché that love is love, but it fits here.