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When i am around her, her name suffices. When i am with her, talking to her, having a word to describe her is completely unnecessary because she knows. When i am talking to her, it is simply her name, usually preceded by a "my". I don't bother with finding a title; i don't bother with trying to fit her into a word. Everything that could possibly be said, i figure, can be contained wholly in weight and implication much more elegantly than if it were attempted to be explicitly stated.

Except sometimes that isn't enough.

Sometimes, something comes up, and someone is demanding a word from me; someone on IRC or chatterbox or something asks the question "So, is she your girlfriend, or what?" and i drop my cursor into the text box to reply and realize i have no idea what to reply with.

The obvious answer of course is girlfriend, but it _hurts_ to use that; it isn't _true_. It goes so much deeper beyond boyfriend/girlfriend; it has so much meaning, so much depth, that girlfriend doesn't even attempt for that i feel like somehow i'm contaminating things by associating them with that word.

Soulmate, beloved, other half.. I can't use these words, can't use these kinds of words. They fit better than any other thing i could possibly say; but they don't work. They're pretentious; by using them, i risk being mushy, and even worse cross inescapably into the realm of bragging. I use these words, or even worse i try to explain things, and i do the thing i fear most; i become, at least from one point of view, condescending. With such words i am saying, look at me, look at how happy we are, look at this thing we have, look at how far above you we are, you wouldn't understand this.. i do not want to seem that way, i do not want to be that way. I do not want to appear to be looking down. I cannot do that..
"My love" is the one thing to refer to her as that works, that does not fail to work, the one thing i believe i will wind up using most.. but sometimes the context does not allow it..

And then we get to the only word that is really true...
wife...
and here i find the biggest problems of all.. here i find the word i should use most, but have the most problems using.. because the word has been corrupted.. those who would pretend to care the most about marriage have taken it upon themselves to believe that they and they alone should define the word, should control the word.. and so we cannot use the word in the sense society expects us to.. we have not put on unnatural clothing and walked down the aisle of a christian church and had a horribly uncomfortable, awkward ceremony and afterward been presented with a small piece of paper signed by a justice of the peace of the state of Texas. But still we are husband and wife, we are married, as deeply as anyone..
but still the minds of the universe defines "married" by that ceremony and that piece of paper.. and so by using the word we will get either one of two responses, depending on the responder; either they will think that by our usage of the word we believe the ceremony and the paper to be the only thing important, or they will think by our absence of the ceremony and the paper we are misusing the word. Sometime soon i believe we will find some method of making it meaningful in some way more formal than mere vows, some kind of handfasting. I do not think such a thing is important; i think we should be allowed to define the marriage for ourself. But the world does not; the world wants to define it in our place. And the world does not want me using the word wife.. the world rejects any meaning of marriage deeper than the ceremony and the paper. And the meaning it applies for us in exists solely deeper, has depth but does not have those two surface requirements..

And meanwhile the person on the other side of that text box is waiting for an answer to what is she, and the only answer that i could possibly give can't be put into words.


(Two months after this node was first written, we were finally able to be joined in handfasting.)

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