tagNon-EroticDerby Line Marriage Ch. 32

Derby Line Marriage Ch. 32


Hanna arrived a few minutes early to Rockefeller Center where she was supposed to meet Jovita. It was Christmas Eve, or as Hanna liked to call it Erev Christmas, and the famous Christmas tree was up in the plaza. Hanna looked at it as she thought about the change in her attitudes over the past year. A year ago, I wouldn't have looked twice at a Christmas tree. By this time next year, I'll be Jovita's wife and we'll be sure to have a tree in our home.

Opposing assimilation into America's Christian culture had always been a part of Hanna's identity as a Jew, but dating Jovita forced her to reconsider her positions. Now she looked at Christianity with new eyes. I love Jovita. I love every part of her, even her Catholicism. She is worth bringing Christianity into my home, worth confronting my parents to make them accept her, worth whatever it takes to make the relationship work. It was amazing how much Hanna had evolved in a matter of months.

A hug from behind interrupted Hanna's thoughts. Jovita spoke into her ear, "Merry Christmas, baby."

"Merry Christmas," Hanna responded as she turned around. The women rubbed their noses together affectionately. "How was your trip up here?"

"Uneventful," Jovita said. "The subways are mostly empty on Christmas."

"So are the movie theaters and Chinese restaurants," Hanna said. Then she realized that she won't be patronizing either of those places on future Christmas's. She'll be at home celebrating the holiday with Jovita. She felt strangely comfortable with that trade off. Hanna put her arms around her girlfriend's neck. "Are you ready to exchange rings?"

"Not yet," said Jovita. "I want to go ice skating with you first." Jovita lead Hanna to the booth to rent ice skates. In short order, they donned the skates and went out on the rink. Children in the center of the rink were learning to skate for the first time. Some novice adults were a bit further out. The most skilled skaters circled the perimeter of the ice. Lone skaters zipped by without a word to the people they passed. Couples skated hand in hand as they spoke to each other about their days. Jovita and Hanna joined the count of couples on the rink.

After several minutes of casual chit chatting, Jovita and Hanna silently enjoyed the time together. Hanna noticed that although New York City was very blue, she and Jovita were the only same-sex couple skating there. Hanna felt lucky that she lived in a place where people accepted her sexual preference. She was able to marry a woman now that same-sex marriages were legal in New York State. Even New Jersey had same-sex marriages.

How odd it seemed to Hanna that that dating a woman would be acceptable but dating a Catholic would require a fight with her family. Of course, mom and dad were concerned about how I would raise their grandchildren. They wanted to make sure that their faith got passed on. I guess that being a lesbian works to my advantage in that department. My children won't be mixed kids who need to choose an identity from the two halves of their family. They will be 100% mine and completely Jewish from birth on. They will learn tolerance and coexistence from growing up in a household with Jovita and her children.

Jovita and Hanna followed the ice skating with treats at a nearby French bakery. Sitting at a table with cookies and hot chocolate, they discussed plans for the future. Hanna broached the subject of moving out of the city. "We can rent a good-sized apartment for a reasonable price in Jersey City after the wedding. It will be a quick PATH ride to your office," she said.

Jovita looked concerned over the idea. "That works for me, but what about you? How will you manage transporting all your canvases on the PATH to sell them in the city?"

"I checked Google Maps. There are a few art galleries near Exchange Place. It's time I graduated from a table to a gallery anyway," Hanna assured her.

Jovita warmed up to the idea. "I would love to live along the waterfront and see the Manhattan skyline every day." Then her heart sunk a bit. "What about the schools? Jersey City isn't known for having good public schools."

"I assumed our kids would go to parochial school," Hanna said.

"Can you imagine kids with two mommies at a Catholic school or an Orthodox day school? They wouldn't exactly fit in there," Jovita pointed out.

Hanna was crestfallen. She realized that an Orthodox day school would not look favorably on an interfaith couple either. It was relatively easy to be lesbian and Orthodox when it was just her, but adding kids to the combination make things much harder. "Public school might be best," she reluctantly concluded. "Kids are a few years away. We can rent in Jersey City for a year while we look for a house in a good school district."

Once they finished their cookies and drinks, Hanna placed her ring box on the table. Jovita looked down at it with a slight frown. She knew there was something she had to tell Hanna before they got engaged. "Hanna..." she started.

"Yes?" Hanna replied encouragingly.

"I have news for you before we exchange rings," Jovita said. "I don't know how to tell it to you."

"I love you no matter what. Just spit it out," Hanna told her.

Jovita ploughed through with the information. "On Thanksgiving, my grandmother spoke to me in the kitchen while you weren't there. She said that my family is secretly Jewish. They've kept their faith hidden ever since the Jews got expelled from Spain."

Hanna was overjoyed at the news. "That means we're both Jewish. This will make us being married so much easier. My parents will love to hear what you told me. My whole family will embrace you now without any argument. When a family is Jewish, they stay Jewish, no mater how many centuries they spend following another religion. We can even send our kids to the same Jewish day school. Orthodox day schools might not welcome kids from a lesbian couple, but we can find a traditional Conservative day school to send them too."

Jovita interrupted Hanna's reverie. "I'm not Jewish. My lineage is Jewish. It's just my ethnicity. I'm still Catholic," she insisted. "There is no way I'm going to start following all the rules you follow."

"That won't work," Hanna said as her heart moved up her throat. "It's one thing to live with a non-Jew, but it's much more difficult to live with an unobservant Jew. Just take Shabbat as one example. If you turn on a light during Shabbat, I'll have to leave the room to avoid using it. When a Jew violates Shabbat, I'm not allowed to benefit from that transgression in any way."

"Turning on a light is not sinful," Jovita said angrily.

The tone of Jovita's voice silenced Hanna, but she thought, It is to me.

Jovita continued with her response. "I've been very tolerant throughout our relationship, but now you are asking too much. I'm not going to start worrying about rules every time I eat or let an outdated calendar decide when I'm allowed or not allowed to do things. I'm definitely not giving up Jesus for you. This relationship is over." Before Hanna could respond, Jovita got up and walked away. She did not look back once.

Hanna sat alone with tears welling up inside her. Did she ever realize the things I was tolerating? Going to mass, yielding on the Noahide Laws, even getting ready to have a Christmas tree in the home and send my kids to public school. Then there were all those lectures on Capitalism that I sat through. How could she not see that the tolerance was mutual?

Tears burst out as Hanna considered the ramifications of her ended relationship with Jovita. She had alienated her close family by defending the interfaith romance. Now Jovita was gone, and she had nothing to show for the damage she did to those relationships. Crying into a napkin, Hanna felt with dismay that she was alone, completely alone.

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