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Love Should Come Easy (Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)

There I was with the man I loved and I was afraid to hold his hand in public. Here I was with the man I loved and I cared too much of what others thought to love him the right way. I am a cold bitch of a man.

“It’s chilly outside,” he said to me. We were walking down the street with our dogs in his, well, our neighborhood now.  I had just moved in with him. Middle-class living. Nothing special. Some houses matched, most didn’t. We weren’t really paying attention to our neighbors, but we cared about what they thought. Well, at least I did. He tried to grab hold of my hand, but I brushed it away. “Okay then,” I could hear the rejection in his voice. I made him feel rejected.

“We can wait until we get home,” I sped up a little. We were no longer waking side by side.

“What’s happening? You seem different since you moved in with me,” he sped up to me. “Why don’t you want to hold my hand?”

“I don’t know. What does it matter? Why do I have to hold your hand…now?” I couldn’t look him in the face. I knew I wasn’t right. I knew if I loved him I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I was scared.

“Don’t you love me?” He kept at my pace. We were starting to walk faster than our dogs. I think I was strangling them a bit. They looked bewildered, but I was nervous for some reason. “This is dating life. That is what dating people do. Hold hands.”

I stopped. “What if someone sees us?” We had been dating for a couple of years, but I wasn’t fully out of the closet yet. “What if we get hate crimed?”

He laughed, “Hate crimed?” He stopped and grabbed hold of me and stopped me. The dogs tried to keep going but the leash yanked them back. “You’re having anxiety about moving in with me? Sharing my daily routing? How are we ever going to get married one day if you’re scared to show affection?”

“I’m not scared,” I looked away. I was lying. I was scared.

“Kiss me. Right now on this sidewalk,” He looked me dead in the eyes the same way as the first time we kissed. “No one is paying us attention. Everyone has a life to life to live.”

I looked around and then pecked him quickly on the cheek. “Okay let’s go.” I tried to walk off.

“No, not so fast!” He grabbed me and planted a seductive kiss on my lips. I couldn’t pull away because I loved him. A car passed by with some teenagers. They honked the horn and cheered. He pulled away. “Now, see we’re still alive.”

I licked my lips. Looked at him. And we were still alive and I loved him even more for the bravery that attracted me to him to begin with. We continued on our way. I guess love does come easy after all.


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