My best friend is a lesbian. My mother hates all forms of sexuality. As soon as she senses that no one is watching, she turns off the TV her granddaughters are watching, before anyone kisses on the screen. She has a shrill laugh. She told my sister that those fights with my father, which poisoned our childhood, ended the day they stopped having sexual intercourse. If she sees someone looking forlorn, she may sigh and say: I speak to you from experience, there is nothing worse than sex between two people who love each other.
My best friend is young, has curly hair, is fat and is always smiling. My daughter calls her aunt. My mother first met her on the phone. She gave her the third degree asking a whole bunch of questions. Then we went on vacation and stayed at her house and my daughter told her about her aunt’s girlfriend. My mother did not open her mouth right there and then. The critique came later by way of the complete works of Sigmund Freud and her very unique interpretation. Homosexuality is a neurosis, she took to saying over breakfast. Ah, is that so? I always pretend to be very ignorant with her.
We returned home after bravely withstanding six more assaults. My best friend kept answering phone calls, my daughter decided to spend New Year’s Eve at her house, in the meantime I had changed jobs. My daughter and her aunt sometimes did homework together, sometimes went to the park to roller skate. My daughter did not like her aunt’s girlfriend at all, just as she did not like my boyfriend or her father’s girlfriend.
In early February, my mother launched the final offensive. The presence of a lesbian in the household is detrimental to your daughter’s sexual identity, she ruled. At first, I let her go on talking; at the end of the day she was paying for it. However, little by little she managed to get me upset, and I ended up telling her to go to hell as impetuously as I used to do as a kid.
She counterattacked. I responded. We screamed so loudly that the neighbor came over to make sure everything was OK. Of course, I told her; I just have a mother who is a bitch. And I slammed the door in her face.
At dinner I began to recount what had transpired. I became furious as I realized that my best friend found it hilarious. Equally my daughter: Come on, mom. She always says “Come on, Mom,” in the sweetest little voice she has in store, but it implies a mixture of reproach, consolation and ridicule.
Three days later, they decided at her school that for February 14, Valentine’s Day, in the name of love, girls and boys would get married, with traditional dress and rituals, after doing a bit of research. Birds of a feather flock together according to Japanese, Comanche, Mayan, Palestinian, German custom. They used colored paper, searched encyclopedias, went to the museum of folk cultures. But suddenly the older girls decided that they would not walk around the school arm in arm with boys, how disgusting! The boys responded, “Mamma mia, these little girls.” The principal called a school assembly:
So what do we do? She asked. The older girls proposed that they marry one another. Same-sex marriages are not possible, the principal replied. My daughter raised her hand. Yes, they are, in countries like Holland, women can marry women and men can marry men. The principal cleared her throat. My aunt, who has a girlfriend, told me so. All the people in the assembly stared at her. The teachers and the principal stood petrified, as did the children. My daughter returned to her seat.
On February 14, she married her best friend following the Cora ritual. Her second best friend was the shaman and her third best friend was the corn. The older girls were married as lesbians are allowed at the Danish, Dutch and Swedish municipality. I filmed the party and sent the video to my mother. My daughter’s aunt laughed her head off!
Franceasca Gargallo (1956- 2022) in her own words “Writer, traveller, mother of Helena, member of various networks of friends, an autonomous feminist who, by initiating dialogue among people, tries to generate a better life for women in various parts of the world.” She graduated in Philosophy at the La Sapienza University and earned a doctorate in Latin American Studies at the Unam University of Mexico. Her work mainly dealt with the history of feminist ideas as she tried to glean the elements from each culture in the construction of feminism, understood as active politics engaged in by women She also recorded the reactions this approach aroused in the academic, political and everyday worlds. In love with the plastic arts, she sought in artwork an expression of women’s pleasure and strength. As a narrator, she endowed her characters with the possibility of proposing other points of view on reality that are not misogynistic. As a traveler, she valued women’s processes and meeting in a world that belongs to them. Her novels include: Estar en el mundo; Marcha seca; La decisión del capitán, Los pescadores del Kukulkán, among others. Her short story Verano con lluvia has been read by feminists in various countries and received good reviews. Among her research books: Garífuna, Garínagu, Caribe (on the history of the Garifuna people); Ideas Feministas Latinoamericanas (a history of feminist ideas in Latin America); , Saharaui, el pueblo del sol (reflection on the history of the Saharawi people, exiled for thirty years in Algeria). She was born in Siracusa (Italy) in 1956, lived in Mexico from 1979 until her death in 2022.
Cover artwork : Alice Colacione “Sedimento” (dettail)