As Maya stopped the car in front of the adoption agency, Nir put her hands on Maya’s over the steering wheel, a nervous but excited smile on her face.
“I can’t believe we’re finally doing this, babe. But we are, and I am so happy that I get to do this with you,” Nir said, squeezing Maya’s hands lightly, a dopey look in her eyes. Nir could be incredibly cheesy at times, and Maya was proud to admit that that was one of the reasons she had fallen for her. She loved how Nir was effortlessly cheesy to the point that Maya was both swept off her feet and laughing at Nir.
It was a miracle that they had found each other. But things have a tendency of mysteriously working out. And Nir and Maya had been among the lucky ones.
Nir remembered meeting Maya when they were both in grade six. Maya was in a rush to get home when a mutual friend introduced Nir to her. Nir was carrying a folder of loose papers and greeted Maya with her name and her outstretched hand, a smile on her face. Their mutual friend had then drawn attention to said file and Maya had complimented Nir’s drawing.
That was how they had met. It was brief, and yet Nir had somehow made a corner for herself in Maya’s mind ever since. After that, every time Maya would see Nir around the school campus, her eyes would be involuntarily drawn to the girl who had thin raven black hair and a crooked smile.
Initially, Maya had no idea why she was so drawn to Nir. But then they had really gotten to know each other in grade nine. And Maya began realising something curious. She realised she loved talking to Nir. She noticed how Nir calmed her down simply through her presence whenever Maya felt troubled or anxious. And she discovered how something inside her twisted painfully whenever she remembered that she and Nir might have to go separate ways after school ended.
Maya did not know how to name the thing that existed between them. It was a sinuous, rope-like wisp of connection that seemed to be attached strongly to the thing inside Maya that twisted painfully when Nir talked about their diverging futures. At the time, Maya had chalked it off as friendly affection. Of course, she would be upset. Nir would have less time for Maya and she would really miss her.
Maya’s eyes must have looked distant, because Nir was flapping her hands in front of them in order to gain her attention.
“Hey, Maya, where did you go off to?” Nir asked.
“Oh, I was just remembering how I took a really long time to realise I was in love with you,” Maya replied, a smile on her face.
“Man, I swear if I hadn’t come out to you that afternoon, you would never have actually realised!” Nir chuckled, the corners of her eyes crinkling.
Maya remembered the day in question. It was a warm, golden afternoon. The heat was less intense, but tangible even in Maya’s air-conditioned bedroom. They had been reading beside each other, Maya revelling in the warmth that she always felt coming over her when she was beside Nir.
Maya could still recall how Nir had suddenly and with a look of fear in her eyes told Maya, “So, I have something to tell you. It’s okay if you have a hard time accepting it. I’ll understand if you don’t understand but I wanted to let you know this thing I’ve realised about myself…I think I’m bisexual.”
Maya had to admit she had been surprised, and maybe it was a surprise that had made her blurt out, “Yes, but how do you know for sure?”
That day, Nir’s eyes had taken on the colour of guilt and her voice a tone of trepidation as she had said, “Well, it’s you. I love you. As in, in love with you love you.”
Maya had felt shocked at the reply, her mouth forming a quiet, “Oh.”
Maya loved Nir’s honest intensity. It endeared Nir to her because she could always expect Nir to answer truthfully. That day, however, Maya had been left momentarily speechless.
Nir had looked at her with searching eyes before gently shaking her with a chuckle, “It’s okay if you don’t feel the same, Maya. But, I would appreciate it if you could answer better than ‘Oh’.”
“Yes,” Maya had said.
“Yes, I’m in love with you, too,” Maya had clarified, her hands shaking. Nir had helped Maya understand how exactly she felt about her. She now understood why they were different. Why how she felt for Nir was unlike anything else she had ever felt before.
Of course, living in a country which criminalised homosexuality was a risk. Maya remembered how from then on they had to be extra careful around people because no one could know of the love that existed between them. It had been difficult and there had been times when Maya was overcome by the nauseating fear that she would be helpless to ensure that she and Nir had a future together.
But, like always, Nir had come up with a solution. They would go to Canada for university and try settling down there. And, in the end, everything had worked out in their favour. They had been able to successfully migrate to Canada.
However, like all else, their love had come at a price. Coming out to their parents had been a disaster. Their parents had refused to be accepting of their love, condemning them. Nir and Maya were forced to accept the pain that would always remain. But they had each other, and that was more than enough. It did not, however, mean that they did not miss their families during important milestones. Maya had felt her mother’s absence achingly at their wedding. Nir had broken down multiple times in the past few months leading up to the adoption, about how their child would never meet his grandparents.
But Maya had also come to understand that family could be defined differently, as well. They had a new family now, consisting of the friends who accepted them and their love. Though the ache for the family they had lost still flared up, they also knew the love and care of a new one. And Maya could not wait for their friends to meet this new addition to their family.
“You got lost again, darling,” Nir told Maya.
Maya laughed, “Today seems to be a day of reminiscence.”
“I think we’ll be late if you reminisce any more. So, without further ado, let’s go and meet our baby!”
Nir got out of the car, went over to Maya’s side, and opened the door. Extending her hand, she asked, “My lady?”
Maya laughed, delight thrumming through her veins. As they walked towards the building, Maya felt the anxiety of a new mother, but she knew that like most things since grade nine, she would get through it with Nir — her sweetheart, the love of her life, her knight in shining armour, her wife, the woman she was going to adopt a baby with.
Miftahul is a curly bigfoot who can be seen reading — whenever you spot her, that is. Occasionally, she writes.