We had every intention of being
homebodies this year. No travel at all, just a year to save our
pennies and get grounded. It’s been delicious. After several months
of staying in our little coastal home, my mind is sharper, my sleep
schedule is approaching normal, and I’ve got a good start on my
Then, something just as wonderful
happened. The publishers of Sapphire Books invited us to be part of
“Literary Adventures at Sea,” a program they put together with
Olivia Cruises, which is being sponsored by Curve Magazine. I admit
that I cried when we were asked. Two of our best friends urged us to
join them. My sweetheart and I never ever dreamed we could go on a
cruise. This one is sailing the inland passage of Alaska. Alaska!
Growing up my parents’ apartment in Queens, I never thought I’d
travel farther than Manhattan.
The Staten Island Ferry this ain’t.
We’re celebrating our tenth anniversary in style – and with a
cozy group of over 1,800 lesbians. As of a week ago, there were all
of three cabins available. Even when I did go into Manhattan, the
lesbian bars held no more than perhaps a hundred dykes? This is a
floating women’s festival. This was the cruise that writer Cate
Culpepper gave herself before she died, sans a boatload of lesbians.
I expect to meet her spirit along the way, beaming at all the women,
I have visions of serenity, of calmly
sailing wide blue waters, of passing glaciers of profound clarity and
immensity, and perhaps a glimpse of northern lights to take our
breath away after a long, long day of sunshine spent with my beloved
on this, our tenth perfect year together.
The months leading up to this voyage
have kept my sweetheart as busy as I’ve ever seen her. In what she
calls her demented excitement about our cruise, she has already
looked at 700 online pictures of where we are going. She has mapped
out every deck on the boat. She has examined seventy possible
off-ship excursions and has chosen the five best that suit us both.
She’s even inspired and written half of this column.
All this in the evenings while I read
my escapist books and try to ignore the impending departure from our
home, which I find extremely difficult, and from our cat, whose
diabetes worsens with stress, especially when we are away. Our cat
Bolo considers “away” to be any time I’m not next to her
writing a new book for my publisher, Bold Strokes Books, while she
bats things off the side table. So concerned is she that we’ll
disappear, that she follows me into the bathroom while I take a
shower, eager to remind me that whenever I want to feed her is okay,
as long as it’s now. Leaving her in the care of our truly devoted
cat sitter for even one night is not readily forgiven upon our
My sweetheart usually spends two or
three hours packing on the day of travel, while I fret, eyes glued to
my watch. This time, a month before we set sail, she is already half
packed and has written out the cat sitter’s check. Still she pours
over maps of every location, wallowing in joyful anticipation. She
has created an hourly itinerary Excel spreadsheet for each of the
eight days we will be away. All I have to do is play that age-old
game, Follow-the-Femme, though I know there will be hours blocked out
to accommodate my visions of a week communing with the natural world
and Cate Culpepper.
I’ve never lived with an overexcited
little kid, but that seems to be who I fell for in June, 2007. She
claims that I’ve recently given up hope of reading more than a
chapter of any book without at least one peep from her that goes
something like, “Can I just tell you this one thing about Sitka/
Ketchikan/Juneau/Victoria?” Or: our room, our view, boarding,
disembarking, Suzanne Westenhoefer’s show, dancing, and where we’re
going to have lunch on our drive home.
Such a woman deserves a bank-breaking
anniversary, even if she’s been working overtime so we can afford
it. The bathroom is stuffed with her luggage. The futon is covered
with my suitcase and essentials and the cat’s been sleeping on
everything, in a vain plea for us not to leave her for a whole week.
A week is forever to little Bolo, and
forever is what my sweetheart and I have pledged to each other. It’s
been an incredible ten years since we met. I could not have found a
more unconditionally loving, funny, caring, understanding, helpful,
lovely, intelligent, alluring, forgiving, patient, or fun wife if I’d
been looking. Which I wasn’t. Silly me.
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 13 books. Her latest, Rainbow Gap, is available at Bold
Strokes Books. You can reach Lynch at LeeLynch@ontopmag.com]
Copyright 2017 Lee Lynch.