I Don’t Have a Husband – I Have a Wife

I’ve vigilantly been watching a neighboring home here on the west side of Detroit.

I’ve been pulling the garbage container in and out. It appeared that it was about to become vacant and become number four on the block.

I saw a couple of guys walking on the side of the house and I went outside to check them out. Ain’t nothin like a nosy neighbor to help keep crime down and it’s my turn to be Gladys Cravitts. I went and stood in the front yard as they took trash to the curb.

I said hi and asked if either of them was the new owner and one young man stepped out into the yard and introduced himself saying, “Other neighbors have told me that you two have kept a watch on the house. Thanks for looking out and for being good friends to my grandparents. Me and my buddy were just doing some more cleaning.” His grandparents, who recently passed, had lived in the neighborhood for several years.

I gave him a smile, told him my name and added, “I’m glad you are taking care of the home. Just get us some good neighbors. Okay? My spouse and I plan to stay in Detroit and this is a good neighborhood”

“Most definitely, he responded. “How long have you and your husband lived here?”

“I don’t have a husband …”

Suddenly my words were cut off.

“Oh, Oh, Oh!” stuttered the owner as he interrupted me, his words scrambled with words from his buddy on the front porch. “SNAP!! really?! For real? Woa!!”

I was totally surprised as they bent over laughing and gave each other the look. I had to laugh at their silliness: two boyz caught off guard by my everyday self outing as a lesbian.

The owner straightened up and said, “Hey Sis, excuse me and excuse him too, I didn’t mean any disrespect. I just didn’t know. We don’t have no problem with it. We cool.”

I said, “That’s no problem. How would you know? It’s okay.”

And it was. His big, honest, neighborly smile told me so.

We talked more about payment for block club snow removal, garbage collection days and other neighborly information.

Soon, I returned to my house, glad to know another neighbor.

A few days later my spouse and I arrived home very late from a day of work. There was a UPS notice sticking on the door. More surprisingly, the sticker said our package had been delivered to an address we didn’t recognize.

Before I could Google the address, there was a knock on the door. I peered out the front door and saw my new neighbor. He had a package in his hand. He said, “I saw your car pull in so I wanted to give this to you.” I smiled, thanked him, and said, “Let me introduce you to my wife.”

Yes, we are staying in Detroit.


Photo credit: tntblonde


About Alicia

Navigating life as an 'out' Black Lesbian has its highlights and dim-lights and Alicia Skillman counts it all as joy. Her practice of law along with her current study of ecumenical theology equips her with a potent set of skills to pursue her passion for social justice. She is a pioneer in exploring the cross-section of spirituality, LGBT equality and African American culture to help us transcend those little boxes that we put ourselves in. Alicia is a Detroiter committed to the resurgence of her city and people - with a special interest in organizing and developing the communities of youth, LGBT and spirituality.

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