Love story about college girls in 1960 who love each other but cannot tell anyone.
FORBIDDEN LESBIAN LOVE IN 1960
"Smonie," Mickey said to the lovely young woman walking at her side in the moonlight. "Our love is forbidden both in your country and mine. That tears my heart apart one moment, and then, the next moment, your love binds it together again."
"I know, I know. If only there was a place for us," Smonie said as tears filled her satin black eyes and reflected the new moon over Fresno, California. "Perhaps the day will come somewhere in the world when two people in love, whether ebony and ivory or woman and woman or man and man, will be accepted."
"But, not in our lifetime. I don't know if there can ever be such a time. Here in California, the most liberal state in America, religion and hatred will probably never allow such a wonderful world as that. At least, not in this century. I'll always love you and I will never forget the first time I saw you walking into my sociology class. You were so beautiful."
The two women continued their their midnight stroll, holding hands tightly, as if they could hold the world at bay one last evening together before the graduation ceremonies.
During the final semester, they had discovered the narrow rural road that led to the Merced River and found that it was a quiet and private place. There, they had enjoyed picnics, badminton and lawn darts beneath the cottonwood trees, and long walks along the road and the river.
Mickey graduated from San Bruno High School in 1956 as valedictorian, a position that automatically required her to be the graduation speaker. She chose to speak about the Bill of Rights. During her high school years, she was active in student government, women's sports, the Bruins Pep Club and the California Scholarship Federation. Although her school had a rainbow of students in an integrated student body, her church had only included members who were considered "white" even though the tones of their skin weren't exactly white and ranged from pale pink to shades of bourbon. Known homosexuals were hatefully considered undesirables.
Mickey's face was the color of honey, and her well-bushed hair was medium brown with sun-dyed streaks of blond hair. Her height had been her greatest asset when she played center forward on her high school women's basketball team that won the District Championship two years in a row, and the State Championship trophy belonged to the Bruins during her senior year. A slender, strikingly attractive young woman, Mickey dated in high school but did not accept offers from two boys when they asked her to "go steady." During those years, she came to realize that her heart's preference was to be with girl friends at school and church, and that continued the following years at the university.
Smonie was one of many international students at the university during her junior and senior years. She attended her first two years at a small college in Ghana. Her excellence as a student there gave her the opportunity to finish her education in America. She chose the University off California at Fresno. Smonie was pleased that her skin was richly black to match her hair and eyes of previous generations of her family in the country that she loved.
At UFC she completed two majors, architecture and art, and planned to work with her father in Ghana when she returned. Her relationships with boys had always been casual, but her friendships with girls during both high school and college had been special and heartfelt.
Smonie and Mickey became friends while working the early morning shift in the college cafeteria during the second semester of their junior year. After the university constructed two new dormitories for the 1959-60 school year, they signed up to be roommates. Prior to that, Smonie had lived with a local family whose skin color matched hers.
"Smonie, I remember your first day on the job in the cafeteria when you joined me to serve breakfast to the early birds from the dorms. When I dumped that pan of scrambled eggs all over the floor, we could hardly stop laughing. That was the moment I knew we would become best friends."
"Me too. And I have never regretted even one moment of our two years together. I do regret that the time has passed so rapidly that we can't have the kind of future we want. It would be so wonderful if we could just be two women living free in the community of our choice as a couple. If only, love between hearts of any color or gender was acknowledged as true and good. If only..." Smonie's voice trailed off as she looked upward as if wishing on a star.
"You know, my love, as I fell in love with you and knew your heart was turning to me, it was not important label us a lesbians but as two fortunate women whose friendship was growing into something more special than my grandmother's spring garden. She always had golden daffodils, colorful azaleas, and tulips of every hue."
Their walk ended at Mickey's beige Chevrolet where the two lovers stood silently. Smonie looked toward the western sky and Mickey looked to the east as if preparing their hearts for the following evening when their path would divide and they would travel in different directions.
A few moments passed, then tearful eyes met and arms of ebony and ivory crossed as two women in love reached to hold each other. Their tears blended as their lips met in a soft, gentle kiss and their bodies felt unyielding hugs.
When Mickey parked her Chevy near the dorm, Smonie commented, "Look how many girls are still packing their cars and U-Haul trailers at this late hour. I just can't pack my things until the last minute tomorrow."
"I just need to keep everything the same for us as long as possible."
They exchanged greetings and good-byes with friends whom they met on the way to their room. During the year none of the dorm students had made negative comments or prejudicial references to the relationship between Smonie and Mickey. Perhaps they feared that if they called them Queers or Lessies or other names, the same names would have been used against them and their female roommates.
Before they unlocked the door, Smonie said, "Remember, no more tears tonight." Mickey smiled as she nodded her head in agreement. They had made that covenant earlier in the day.
Before Smonie showered, Mickey said, "This is one night we put our twins together and have a double bed. I'll do that while you're in the shower."
After Smonie returned from the shower, which was down the hall from their room, she found that Mickey had not only prepared the bed for their last night together, but had lit several fragrant candles and placed an envelope and a red rose on her pillow.
While her sweetheart showered, Smonie placed three roses on her floral pillowcase and a book of poetry on her pillow. The red rose symbolized love, the yellow for friendship, and the white rose for eternity.
When Mickey returned to the room, Smonie put a record on the player and turned it on. The opening chords of began playing Elvis Presley's song, "Love Me Tender", their favorite dance tune.
Mickey walked over to Smonie, held her in an embrace and they danced while singing the love song and tears fell from their eyes. "Love me tender, loved me dear, all my dreams fulfill, for my darling I love you and I always will." They danced until the music died then kissed like lovers with breaking hearts who were being torn apart by two cultures, two countries and a world believing their love was wrong.
Mickey turned on the television and they watched "Two Walked Together," a Hollywood movie about lesbian lovers like themselves. The story was like their own, two women sharing a deep, abiding love in spite of the hatred and discrimination all around them, in their country and the world. Only the most liberal television stations in America dared to air the movie despite detrimental accusations and hatred from vocal segments in their state of California.
Each moved to their side of the bed, picked up the roses to enjoy the sweet fragrance then met in the middle to share the fragrance with their lover. Tender kisses followed before Smonie read the card and letter that Mickey had left on her pillow. Mickey watched her, the love that passed between them was almost visible to their eyes.
"Thank you, Mickey. I don't ever want to lose the feeling that I'm feeling right now."
After Mickey browsed through the book of poetry, Smonie said, "I've written a poem for you. I'll read it to you then give you a framed copy." Sitting close to Mickey, Smonie began to read the words that had flowed from heart to pen to paper.
Felt when among flowers and all creation
When keen eyes look upward to the Creator.
Described as "not only skin deep",
It reflects a way of the heart.
Always seen through the eyes of love,
And sleeps deep within the spirit as "trust".
Magnified within my heart, as I look your way.
O' that you stay surrounded with beauty.
Your beauty glows from within your heart to mine;
All that is you are---now and to the end of time.
Love is beauty.
Then she handed the framed copy to Mickey who whispered, "I'll treasure every word and place it where I can reread every word every day." She nestled across Smonie's lap, rested her head on her lover's knee, then looked intently into Smonie's face. "I want to memorize every detail of your beautiful face, your sparkling eyes, your full kissable lips, perfect nose and the two little dimples that signal your breathtaking smiles that have brought joy to my heart. I love you more than life."
Lips met as the ebony and ivory lovers caressed the soft skin of their beloved. The black and white television was unheard while two women whispered words that embedded into loving hearts. Two bodies moved closer together. Breathing changed and kisses became longer, melding two spirits into one.
Soft words of love and sounds of passion filled the room. Time stood still as the wicks of flickering candles burned away. "Two Walked Together" ended as the hearts of two lovers became calm and drifted into sleep.
The graduation ceremony for the Class of 1960 ended, and then Mickey introduced Smonie to her parents, "Mom, Dad, this is my roommate and best friend, Smonie."
After their cordial greeting and words of congratulations, Smonie introduced Mickey to her brother who came from Ghana for her graduation and to accompany her home. "David, meet, Mickey, my friend who has made these two years wonderful."
David reached to shake Mickey's hand and said with his British accent, "Congratulations, Mickey, and thank you for all that you have done for my sister. She was apprehensive about studying so far from home."
As Mickey nodded her head to thank him, David added, "I hope you will come to Ghana day someday and let us show you our great country. From her letters, we could tell the apprehension dissipated and she enjoyed being here."
"Thank you, David. I will. Good friendships should be enjoyed throughout one's life. I know ours will."
Mickey's parents and David walked the two graduates to the dorm. They had placed most of their belongings downstairs prior to the graduation ceremony so Mickey requested, "We'd appreciate it if you would load these in the cars while we go up to the room and change into traveling clothes."
As they walked up the stairs to the third floor, Mickey said, "Smonie, I so wish we could tell them that we're lesbians who want to live together for the rest of our lives."
"Me too. But that kind of news would be too destructive to our futures. In fact, it could mean that we'd lose our families, communities and careers. We just can't do it now, probably never."
In their room, they began to change clothes, then stopped to share a final hug and kisses before putting on jeans and blouses that would be comfortable for their trips home. Neither Mickey nor Smonie could hold back their tears.
"Mickey, my love, I know others have said this, but I'll be looking at the moon and I'll see you and feel your love holding my heart."
"And, I'll be doing the same. And, I'll see you in the rainbows and feel the warmth of your hugs in the sunshine as it warms my skin. You'll be in the raindrops and the snowflakes, because I love you so very much."
At the college entrance, one car turned east, the other west and the ebony and ivory lovers locked their secret love in their hearts until the day could be together again.
(I DEVELOPED THIS INTO A NOVEL......."OUT IN LOVE" in 2011
This review is from Showering Acts of Joy. Thank you for allowing me to read your writing. I hope my comments are helpful. However, you are always encouraged to follow your own instincts and always KEEP WRITING.
I read this through like three times because, I believe it is a piece with a very strong plot. For one, your characters are unique, and not just because they are lesbians, it comes from their different cultures. Mickey and Smoney have managed to create a startling relationship despite the obvious pressures that would surround them in the era they live in. Their connection is great, and their love is very well brought out. They are indeed in love.
I gave this a 4.5, mainly because for me as the reader, I needed to feel the 1960's part of the story. At the moment I feel am going with the little introduction you've put in with the title, but for the story itself, maybe you can put strong suggestions as to the time period. The sixties were lively, and it would have been a very difficult time for Smoney I imagine. You see, your story is running on two difficult aspects at the time, being gay and racial prejudices. Perhaps talk of political situations in the news or propaganda and all...would help...this are just thoughts, the story belongs to you and you would know best which direction you'd like it to go.
There are just some typos and repeated words like ..."rapidly and we that we can't have the kind of future .."
You have a powerful story here that makes a strong statement on how people can make choices, and live with them without interference. It is a wonderful story, and I would love to read more as you continue with it. Very great write, and thanks for the opportunity to offer my comments on it.