John and Thomas have been a couple since their dancing days, but it’s the presence of Winona that gives them a sense of family. For a while they perform a stage act which enables Thomas to don a dress once more, in which he increasingly feels more comfortable (p234):
I am easy as a woman, taut as a man. All my limbs is broke as a man, and fixed good as a woman. I lie down with the soul of woman and wake up with the same.
But another war is looming and, inspired by their friendship with a free-born Black employee at the theatre, the couple leave Winona in his care and go off to fight the civil war.
Days Without End is my only reading contribution to LGBT history month this year, but much of the content of last year’s celebratory post – highlighting favourite reads as well as my own novel – remains relevant. However, with the fiftieth anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, Britain is having an LGBT history year. I’m honoured to be invited to speak at the launch of local project, Other Stories, documenting LGBT histories in and around Derbyshire, on 27 February. I’m looking forward to sharing my fictional history and learning more about others.
Meanwhile, Charli’s flash fiction prompts get increasingly challenging: how do you write a 99-word story about a rainbow in a puddle? I wasn’t sure, until I remembered that the rainbow is a symbol of Gay Pride, bright colours being the means for gay people to recognise each other, especially when other forms of connecting were outlawed.
I cannot kill a rainbow.