A Kiss of Defiance

What if you lived a in country where marriage was illegal? What if tolerance was law? What if immoral Prefects ruled over each community? What if your Prefect said…

On this day the 13th of December, the Tolerance Law shall be put into affect. Henceforth there shall no longer be any covenants, marriages, or unions due to the nature of exclusion. These acts of showing exclusive affection toward only one individual are deemed to be hate crimes as it does not show equal love to all in the community. This shall not be permitted. All offspring produced under these conditions will be discarded at the birthing center immediately. Under penalty of manual labor or death this law shall be implemented immediately. Tolerance is the law. Spread no more hate.

This is the world Elaine found herself in…

On a night cloaked in thunder, Elaine sought refuge in a dimly lit chapel on B Street. Most of the buildings appeared to be glued together, so she strained her eyes in search of the label 104.

A full moon was sewn into the blackened sky, stitched perfectly behind gray billowing clouds. The stormy mass coiled and writhed until finally there was a downpour and puddles began to plop.

Elaine ran for cover. A huffing wind rose up, and so many droplets of water fell that each step splashed. A sheet of rain chased her down the street making a buzzing noise, like a hoard of angry bees.

Leaving behind a row of foggy street lamps, Elaine darted through a muddied side door of a church, finding shelter. Immediately her fair eyes met the face of a man about twenty-three, with a heavy brown beard and ruggedly handsome features. Elaine made for the front of the church to meet him.

Protesting loudly, the door behind her creaked to a close. Her mousy face glanced over her shoulder, uneasy. But even if her jittery hands would have held the key, the lock could not evaporate the threat that hunted her.

She wrapped her arms around herself, mildly shaking. Jude tended to her. Draped over her narrow shoulders, a heavy jacket cradled her. The frigid air couldn’t penetrate the barrier of the wool cloak. Jude’s smile was warm and seemed to disarm fear’s haunting artillery. Elaine would not be reported, at least not tonight.

For on this white-dressed winter night a love story was being written by design. Lines of laughter, singing, praying and risk began to unfold.

Before the two could speak a single word, a Brother emerged from the shadows of the pulpit. Clothed in a black robe, the man’s dark features were accentuated. A sandy-haired woman ceremonially danced forward carrying a blanket made up of hand knit squares, a bright fabric. It was their union gift.

“Quickly now” the Brother whispered.

Empty pews materialized an imaginary audience as Jude and Elaine took their place before the robed man.

Elaine focused her eyes and tried to shake away a twinge feeling of panic. It was absurd, since no one had burst through the door. No one had followed her, she was sure. But it didn’t make a difference, just being there was an act of resistance. A simple act that if detected could be punished by death or at least thirty years in a forced labor camp. Her lungs expanded with strained air.

“Are you ready for the pledge?” the Brother asked.

If Jude had known discouragement or fear before this moment, it didn’t show. Everything from the way he held himself to the way Elaine fell in step behind him said that he was the perfect leader for her. The manner in which he spoke and the strong look of confidence in his eyes assured her. This was a risk she would take.

After a small collection of minutes, the couple dedicated themselves to one another, and as surely as dust and decay would meet their mortal bodies, God became their witness.

In the flickering candlelight, diversity was laced together as the great Designer knit together two distinct lives. Around each corner was a fresh story of oneness, for man and wife were bound together in a new web of life. With each word of commitment a beautiful tapestry was woven on the foundation of Love that stitched together an intrinsic design. Whether sickness or health, poverty or wealth would touch their home in future days they did not know, but the rings that encircled their fingers held together the hope that their love would endure until death parted them.

Knowledge filled their commitment. They held an understanding that their love would produce the very thing that the Prefect desired to kill- life. But this would not intimidate or halt the exchange. Through smiles of great affection, and sure confidence their union challenged the Tolerance Law of the day.

Marriage. One man and one woman coming together on B street was a stake driven deep into the ground. Their joining was a signpost for the world to read. And as Jude’s lips met Elaine’s for the first time, a kiss became their first act of defiance.