today is the last day of school. I don’t have my exams graded. I don’t know what I’m going t do with the fifteen minute periods I have with my students to “go over the exam” given that I don’t have them graded yet.
Yesterday I saw something that I can’t recall seeing before that gives me tremendous hoed or the future. I went to my coffee house to caffeine-ate before grading exams. After a little while, a crew of late-teens came in, ordered various drinks, and sat down. But what I had initially taken for several male-female couples turned out to be one hetero couple, one gay couple, and one lesbian couple. And the three coupes were all exhibiting “new relationship energy”. They were out in public, enjoying one another’s company… But they were also enjoying each of their new romantic interest’s attentions. Kisses, hugs, sweet affectionate acts, gazing into one another’s eyes.
I’ve seen homosexual couples kissing before, being affectionate before. But often this has been in spaces they considered “safe”: semi-private gatherings, gay pride events, and so on. This was the first time I can recall seeing homosexual couples treating public space as their space — just as I did when I was young and foolish and in love. No guardedness, no subtle casing of the space first, no sense of kissing-in-public as a radical or political or transgressive act. Just…. Being in love, and not caring who knew, just as if they were couples.
Which they were.
It made me happy to see it. Tony Brown has a poem about two men kissing outside a frathouse, and the dangerous drunken boys inside doing nothing. It’s a start, he said. Indeed, this is a start, too. Maybe someday soon I can see this, and not be overwhelmed with the thought “this is the first time I’ve seen this, isn’t it awesome??”
I haven’t talked about tai chi yet. Twenty push-ups, two Qi gong forms, and then five times through the tai chi form until I raised a sweat. Five times. None of the individual performances were very good. I’m stiff and sore in places from sitting too long looking at exams. Each walk-through had moments of brilliance or grace, but mostly they were sloppy messes.
But then, this is a becoming, not a completion. There will be no morning I can wake and say, “yesterday’s tai chi was perfect. I’m done. No more.” But maybe I can strive for a day when I can do tai chi with all the ardency and grace and un-self-consciousness of a teenager kissing a new lover in public. A day when the striving ceases, and I am no longer doing, but being.