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If anything, I wish I’d written more about that, been less afraid. I read Most of my writing usually feels to me like a bad idea, which makes it hard for me to know which ideas feel bad because they have merit, and which ones feel bad because they don’t. We won’t have our bodies anymore, so we could do whatever we want: maybe fly like birds, or maybe swim like fish. Our lives have a lot of overlap: Brandon and I work together, text every day, and see each other many days of the week.

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, I got into bed, switched off the light, and suddenly was hit with a very bad idea, an almost electric impulse to write about my father’s death.

I wanted to take it out of my head and put it somewhere else: the color of his skin, the strange percussion of his breath, the nurse calling up the stairs in the middle of the night.

This site is a home I made before I knew Brandon, before June.

It’s been the root of my community, both real and virtual, for more than twelve years. It Brandon was 27 years old when we opened Delancey. I was married to him, but in a sense, I hardly knew him.

But somewhere along the line, from my heroes, whose souls were forged in fires infinitely hotter than mine, I gained an outsized faith in articulation itself as its own form of protection. When June is with Brandon, he texts me funny things she says, and when she’s with me, I do the same. We spent Thanksgiving together in New Jersey, with Brandon’s family and extended family around the long table, and when it came my turn to say what I was thankful for, I mostly cried into June’s hair.

One night this past September, I was sitting in the bathroom with June (“Mommy, I have to go potty, and I need company”), and she asked, out of the ether, the way four-year-olds do, what happens when we die. The shape of our family has changed, gotten weirder and more complicated and harder to define, but we are still a family.

But then, other times, it doesn’t feel that way at all. I remember learning, as a young kid, that my uncle Jerry was gay.

As my family saw it and explained it to me, he was born that way. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, “the gay plague,” as some brashly called it, and I remember debating with other kids in my conservative Oklahoma hometown, laboring to explain what I knew to be true: that gay people are born gay, the same way I was born with white skin and blue eyes.

It committed me to being a person I want to parent her. It also bound me to Brandon in a way that isn’t marriage, but something just as deep.

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