Into the steam of The Golden Lion Café you quietly let out that today, is your secret birthday.
We are dyke cousins, separated by seas but intimately entwined. We compare our young, big city lives. London’s intense staccato, louder, more frantic than your soft spoken, smoky slow, bicycle powered Amsterdam appreciating both extremes.
You are one of five women living in tiny studio rooms called Kemperstraat with a bed high enough to look down into the street big enough to accommodate at least two of your other lovers. Your live-in dogfriend is Tula, like you the friendliest of creatures, her big bed is by the wood burning stovein which we burn bits collected from the streets on Monday evenings.
We don’t have much money but we share coffee and draw, generate poetry or paintings. Like the artists we admire, we make it our mission to look for beauty everywhere in the world and make spaces for women where they can to feel sexy and free, to create and grow dyke-friendly culture.
You tell me, maybe you have a baby. We will travel by boat-train mainly between each other’s homes, to and fro, for the next twenty years. A day long journey with time to breathe-in the sea-salt spray. As we contemplate the way.
By 2017 I’m settled permanently in Wales but there is a tunnel we can drive through. Unsure what to do, you suggest we simply walk together all day around your city. Your boy is full grown and your health returning after a terrible scare. You walk me out further than I have ever been as a tourist before, out to the island once squatted by our freeborn friends now gentrified. To the Dam herself, with the sea beyond. We walk along whole dikes, forgiving betrayals and remembering how to enjoy being together without sex or drugs. Walk talking through grassy wetlands beneath vast motorways, beside flotillas of houseboats until we hit the industrial canal lands where we clamber aboard a free ferry via central station to home. Your generosity is contagious, easy love floats between us in a local Moroccan steam room where tall Dutch housewives debate naked how to improve the world until all of us are scrubbed clean by dark women who laugh as we wince, they know how to help us leave our carapace.
Finally we sip mint tea, contented silently.
by Jane Campbell who is a 54yrs old dyke and is proud to live off grid in a handmade home in rural West Wales UK.