In light of it both being Pride weekend in NYC and the recent Supreme Court ruling, I thought it might be fun to revisit some old friends, and so today, I give you a little epilogue with Matt and Iggy from Out in the Field.
Matt lingered in bed, enjoying the sun streaming in through the window and nothing in particular on his agenda for the day. Maybe he’d read a book or take a walk, or maybe he’d just sleep another hour; there was no rush on anything.
He wasn’t even that sore. Well, he was a little sore, especially through his legs, probably from all the jumping and cheering he’d done when the high school kids he’d been coaching had won the city-wide baseball finals. And, since today was technically the last day of school, he was done coaching for a while, unless he decided to get involved with Little League or something over the summer. Iggy had been encouraging him to do just that. He’d grumbled about getting old and needing some time off, but he knew perfectly well he coped better with Iggy’s time away during the baseball season by keeping busy. So, yeah, maybe he’d look into a coaching gig for the summer now that the academic year was over. He’d worry about that tomorrow, because right now, he was drifting back to sleep.
Just as he was slipping into dreamworld, though, there was a crash at the front door. Matt jerked up in bed, convinced the apartment was being broken into. He was about to scramble out of bed and grab a bat or something when he heard, “Matt! Matt, oh my god, Matt! Where are you?”
“Bedroom. Jesus, Iggy, you scared the shit out of me.”
Iggy appeared at the bedroom doorway with a sheepish grin. “Sorry. Well, not really. Have you heard the news?”
“What news? I just woke up.” Matt stretched his arms and wondered if he should bother to lay back down. “Shouldn’t you be at practice?”
“Fuck practice. This is more important.”
Matt spared a thought for what on earth could have Iggy this wound up, but instead patted Iggy’s side of the bed and said, “All right. Tell me.”
Iggy smiled, so clearly it wasn’t bad news. He sat on the bed and put a hand on Matt’s thigh. “Babe, the Supreme Court ruling was just announced. We won!”
Through the haze of sleepy misunderstanding, Matt stared at Iggy until he remembered that the Court was supposed to have ruled on marriage equality. “Wait, what? We won?”
“It’s unconstitutional to ban us from marrying each other. Not just here in New York, but across all fifty states. Can you believe that? Did you ever think you’d see the day?”
“No. I really didn’t.” It was overwhelming. Matt’s heart raced as he thought about it. But then, the world had changed so fast. When Matt had retired from the game, coming out publicly seemed inconceivable. But now Iggy was out and proud and still an active player. He got some shit for it in some stadiums, but the Eagles organization made it clear that they always had his back. They’d even issued tee-shirts just that season that showed the Eagles’ logo done in a rainbow. Fans could purchase Rodriguez jerseys (and faux vintage Blanco journeys, even) with pride messages or rainbow flags on them.
Matt had been following the news. He and Iggy had talked quite a bit when the Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. But Matt was still adjusting his expectations. He was a gay man in his forties, after all, and he’d spent most of his life hiding that he was gay; marriage had never felt like it was in the cards. Not even after the state of New York had ruled it legal.
He looked at Iggy, who was still smiling ear to ear. “It’s really…” Matt tried. Then he shook his head. “I mean, across the United States. All of the states. Gay couples can get married?”
“Yup. I mean, I imagine there will be some resistance in some states, you know, but it’s… I had pushed the whole thing out of my mind. I was worried the Court would rule with the appeals court and the bans would be upheld, and I didn’t want to think about that, so I had pushed it aside. We’ve got that series against the Sox starting tonight, which is what I really should be thinking about, and Bill is going to kill me, but… I got an alert on my phone just as I was raising my hand to hail a cab to the stadium, so I came back because I had to tell you in person.”
Matt closed his eyes for a moment to just feel everything that was happening. It had been a strange couple of years. Iggy was still widely considered one of the most valuable players in the Majors, Matt was highly sought after as both a coach and a public speaker, and the anticipated apocalypse hadn’t happened. So life was good. But Matt’s reluctance to even think the word “marriage” near Iggy had stemmed in part from his constant fear that all of this was about to crumble down around them.
But, no, the Supreme Court had ruled that gay couples across the whole country could get married.
Iggy was saying something now; Matt stopped thinking to listen.
“So in the eyes of the law, we’re real people, you know? Our relationship is real. And it means something important.”
Iggy was right. All the years he and Matt had been together had been good. Not without problems, both outside of their relationship and within it, but definitely good. Great. Amazing, even. Matt’s love for Iggy hadn’t dimmed in the years they’d been together, even after they settled into routines and habits. Matt loved Iggy even more now than he had that night of his going away party, back when he’d been traded to Texas and was planning to move across the country, and Iggy had stood in the kitchen and told Matt he loved him and wasn’t ready to let him go yet, and Matt’s heart had neatly burst because he loved Iggy right back. He loved Iggy more now than he had when Iggy had supported him through his injury and retirement. He loved Iggy more now than he did the day Iggy came out to the public and they’d hugged in the stadium in front of God and the Eagles and everyone.
And because they’d been together for nearly six years, and because the world had not ended because of it, and because the Supreme Court of the United States had just more or less blessed their relationship, Matt said, “Marry me.”
Iggy’s smile was incandescent. “Oh, baby. I thought you’d never ask.”