Fantastic non-fiction – by Alice (Hub volunteer)

June 23rd, 2015 by

When I got down at Old Steine for the first time, I stared at the bunting of rainbow flags fluttering in the wind.

About a year ago, I lived in France, in a little town in Paris’ suburbs.
In my head there was noise.
There was two years of public debate over equal marriage. The drone of the news reporting the number of people demonstrating. The voice of a woman interviewed, explaining why she brought her children along, that kids need a father figure, that it would be abuse. The noise of pink and blue. The call the mayor made, quietly, so the gay film would stop being promoted in his town. The explanations of teachers trying to be neutral, the jokes of classmates, the family discussions. The stickers on bags, one man one woman.
Noise so loud I couldn’t think.
It was everybody’s business.
Should they have the right to a family?

My parents took us to Paris for the Chinese festival. The streets were crawling with people. More people than I’d ever seen. Humanity moving through, humanity strange, beautiful.
There were couples all around, holding hands. Before I realised, my eyes were searching, looking up from every hand held, to study the holders. I looked up to a man and a woman. Once, twice, again. A hundred different couples passed before my eyes, loving. Each one left a deeper emptiness.
I tried, but I couldn’t care about dragons roaring yellow with fireworks, the drums, the masks. I was desperate for one little person in this enormous crowd, in this day stretching out, just one, just one out of millions, just one like me.
In the car on the way back, the noise found its way inside. The noise was coming from me.

Why is everyone different from me?
(Maybe they’re right and I am wrong)
(Maybe I am the anomaly)
Where is home?

Now, my eyes are used to the flags on St James street, like they are to the moon.
Now I don’t need to watch every Laverne Cox video ever, because I have people of all identities around me, in real life. (though I still do, I mean, it’s Laverne Cox.)
Now I know about the poet Sappho. Now I know about the emperor Ai.
Now I know about ‘Tigo’ in Japan and ‘mahu’ in Hawaii and ‘mukodo dako’ in Uganda.
Now I know: I was not alone in that crowd in Paris.

Sitting behind the desk at Allsorts, the pigeons are cooing outside the window, in slated sunshine. I realise the noise is gone. The noise has melted into melody, a song of humanity.
On my table there is tea and in my heart there is joy.
I am here to add my voice.