On the evening of June 26, 2015, my daughter and 2 of her friends baked a rainbow cake. They chose a complicated checkerboard pattern, which involved fitting smaller cakes into larger cakes, layering them like a 3-dimensional puzzle, using the colors of the rainbow. The project involved precise measurements, strategic food dyes and most important, continuous celebration.
That morning, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld Marriage Equality. Same-sex marriage was finally validated and respected, supported and protected — long overdue, here at last, a constitutional right. When the news hit, my husband shouted for me to come to his study, and pointed to his computer screen. My daughter tore around the house to find me and relay the news. Her friend was visiting, and he barreled into the hallway. We all hugged.
Since then, I’ve found myself thinking about the people I knew as a child, friends of my family, same-sex couples who shared their lives until parted by death. They couldn’t marry, but they paved the way for those who now can. I like to think they’re smiling down on us. I’ll bet the rainbow cake in heaven is ambrosial.
Now, days later, our kitchen has still not quite recovered. A few minutes ago, I stepped on something sparkly and sticky. Earlier today, I found a bit of dried icing spattered on the refrigerator door. I brushed off my shoe, cleaned up the fridge, and smiled.
As they grow older, my daughter and her friends will remember June 26, and each of their stories will be different. One might focus on the chills that ran down her spine as the immensity of this historic moment took hold. Another might grin, recalling how he held the electric mixer too high, and rainbow icing spattered all over the kitchen. My daughter might remember the shot of triumph when she cut the first slice, and saw the perfect checkerboard pattern. Each memory will be both shared and unique, the experience of living history.
Before my daughter’s friends left, I took their picture. As the years go by, when they look at that photo, they’ll think back to June 26, 2015. They’ll all remember standing together, arms thrown around each other’s shoulders, celebrating that their world had just become a better place.
When I look at the photo in the days ahead, I know I’ll think of Marriage Equality and living history. I expect to think about my parents’ friends from my childhood and my own friends from today. I’m pretty sure I’ll remember something sparkly and sticky on my shoe. I’m absolutely certain that I’ll always carry the love radiating from my daughter and her two friends, and the finest cake I’ll ever know.
Amy Kaufman Burk is an author and blogger. Her first novel, Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, was written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, and follows one family’s journey after their daughter comes out. Her second novel, Tightwire, includes a strong friendship between a gay man and a straight man, as well as two women, a couple raising 2 children, who become role model parents to the main character. Amy’s blog has several posts in strong support of LGBTQ+. Check out Amy’s website to find links to her blog and her novels on Amazon.