It’s the 28th consecutive day over 80 degrees in Chicago. The most in 140 years. Everyone is hot, hot, hot. It’s funny to watch the reactions: those who are grouchy and worn down, sweat stains, the bits of sweat on the forehead, the constant glare. I feel exhilarated. I am a lizard. I love to bask in the heat. Let it fall over me, down to my toes. When I think of heat I think of my lover. My husband/hersband. What do you call a butch husband? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Wife seems to take away one’s butch identity. I could be wrong but it doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t feel right. I am the wife and I don’t even like the term.

A woman who has a husband.

A wife, as such, possesses rights and is liable to obligations. These will be considered.

1st. She may make contracts for the purchase of real estate for her own benefit, unless her husband expressly dissents. And she is entitled to a legacy directly given to her for her separate use. In some places, by statutory provision, she may act as a feme sole trader, and as such acquire personal property.

2nd. She may in Pennsylvania, and in most other states, convey her interest in her own or her husband’s lands by deed acknowledged in a form prescribed by law.

3rd. She is under obligation to love, honor and obey her husband and is bound to follow him wherever he may desire to establish himself: (it is presumed not out of the boundaries of the United States,) unless the husband, by acts of injustice and such as are contrary to his marital duties, renders her life or happiness insecure.

4th. She is not liable for any obligations she enters into to pay money on any contract she makes, while she lives with her husband; she is presumed in such case to act as the agent of her husband.

5th. The incapacities of femes covert, apply to their civil rights, and are intended for their protection and interest. Their political rights stand upon different grounds, they can, therefore, acquire and lose a national character. These rights stand upon the general principles of the law of nations.

6th. A wife, like all other persons, when she acts with freedom, may be punished for her criminal acts. But the law presumes, when she commits in his presence a crime, not malum in se, as murder or treason, that she acts by the command and coercion of her husband and, upon this ground, she is exempted from punishment. But this is only a presumption of law, and if it appears, upon the evidence, that she did not in fact commit the act under compulsion, but was herself a principal actor and inciter in it, she may be punished.

I am not property, after all. We’re going to get married. It’s been seven years, a child, a dog, a home. It’s time. We’ve been engaged for three years now. She got down on her knee in Lincoln Park, by the fountain, in the garden by the zoo – it was November. We were all gussied up from a dinner date, an extravagant French meal. It was decadent. Lovely. Perfect. The romantic gesture I dreamt of.

I’ve been holding out. I want it to be legal. I want society to recognize who we are in our hearts. I want our church to recognize us and marry us proper. I want our taxes to reflect our life. I want social security to recognize the life we’ll spend together. I want a priest to say “with the powers invested in me.” I’m not Catholic but my husband is. My child is. Well, sort of Bud-Cath really. Part Buddhist, part Catholic. She sees the Buddha in baby Jesus so I suppose it’s perfect. I’m all wound up from the heat.

I feel like a Russian Christian in the 1920s. A Christian under Mao. A Tibetan Buddhist in Tibet. Acting out faith in secret. It’s illegal to wed. How can that be? It seems so odd to me. I’d like to kick someone’s ass. I’d like to give them a good right hook. I’ve been practicing. But I practice nonviolence, so I suppose it’s a shame. I suppose my years of karate taught me, if nothing else, that I really am not good at delivering a punch. It’s too painful. It smarts.

I was recently told how a friend’s minister yelled at her for inferring that her marriage wasn’t real. The minister took her by the shoulders and said in the eyes of God it is. It most certainly is. I don’t believe in a personified version of God, but I think the universe, I think the laws that govern nature and us (because we, being human, are not outside the laws of nature—regardless of what any other human claims to Know…) recognize the truth of this. That with or without a ceremony we are One.

Our trinity: she, me, us. And the outcome, Sophie. Our daughter, who unites us, who we get to teach and help become whole, confident, spiritually adept. Who teaches us, every day, to be kind and loving. Compassionate. There’s so much to learn. And the heat just keeps going. On and on and on the city is on fire. There’s so much to consider. Love, love, love. Everlasting. Ever after. Cyclical. Growinig. Maturing. Unlike wife, there is no good definition of love – how can there be? It is always changing.

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