sign language introduction

In September 1996 a former lover invited me to visit him in the United States. I spent the following April living with Ronnie in a motel room in Greenville, North Carolina, USA (pop. 60 000).

If you don't know much about the Southern states, here's a quick snapshot. The American "bible-belt" - conservative, little tolerance for inter-racial relationships, and at times excruciatingly polite.

Now picture this. A 5'6" white woman with a shaved head, pierced navel, "quaint" accent. And a 6'7" black man . . . just big, really big.

I struggled a lot during that month. I was lonely. The only person I knew was Ronnie, who I hadn't seen in three years. I was battling depression. Most days I'd only pull myself out of bed an hour or two before he finished work mid-afternoon.

I don't really know what I expected from myself, Ronnie, or my trip. If I'm completely honest, I might have to admit to deep down wanting to fall in love and live happily ever after. But maybe I'm still not ready to be that honest.

The poems in sign language are my holiday photos. Each is a glimpse at the isolation and alienation I felt, and the struggle Ronnie and I went through getting to know each other again.

I did learn a lot about myself, about Ronnie, and about people during those four weeks. I don't regret going, or staying, or coming home. And I do still love Ronnie, and probably always will.

Life moves on.