I’ve been inspired to submit my own story by the incredible women of leskru; thank you all. My grandmother and I have been incredibly close my entire life: when my mother died, and my father retreated into himself and his work, my grandmama showed up one day at our doorstep, helped pack my bags, and took me back to her apartment. I lived with her until I turned 18 and left for university, but I’d return every 3rd weekend and read her stories.
She’s a sci fi nut and a pure NASA fangirl, always has been; the first show we watched together was BSG (and normally, she dislikes TV due to failing vision), and I asked a friend for recommendations of a similar sort of show. She recommended the 100. I was aghast at the first episode, but my grandmother laughed harder than I’d ever heard at Octavia’s encounter with the sea creature; so we continued. She’d point out flaws and draw pictures of alternative plotlines; the ark story was fascinating to her, but she adored the concept of grounders. Anya’s introduction changed everything, and when s2 rolled around, I’d drive out to her apartment and the two of us would watch religiously on Thursdays; she’d brew lemon tea and I’d bake fudge squares.
My grandma fell in love with Lexa immediately. She said, and I quote, “That girl just pulled a Peter the Great, with the class of Catherine and presence of Ivan.” A quick word about my grandmother before I continue; she’s also a history buff (that’s a trait we share), and she loves to draw comparisons to real world leaders and personas…my grandmother is (was) a mild homophobe; she accepted me, but in the same way you accept your tv being stolen. She just didn’t understand bisexuality as a concept, or how a woman could romantically love another woman. That is, until Lexa kissed Clarke. Prior to that, my grandmother would comment on the strangeness and charged intensity of their interactions; my gay self was seeing the subtext everywhere, but I didn’t think the show would actually go there. Until they did, and my grandmother, who normally blabs over the characters (it’s endearing, actually) fell completely silent. She didn’t say a word until the episode ended, eyes trained on the screen, and as the credits rolled she turned to look at me. She took my hand (my heart was in my mouth tbh), and then…she squeezed my hand. And my grandmother said: “I’m sorry.” And I cried. Because she’s never apologized for a damn thing in her life. She was heartbroken by the betrayal; my logical, no nonsense grandmama loved it, the pure tragedy of head over heart, but she whispered the softest, “oh no” as Lexa turned and walked away. She told me immediately that Lexa had better return, because otherwise this whole thing was going to be some “goddamn wasted potential, and I won’t stand for that.”
We watched the premiere of s3 together, and after Lexa appeared, my grandmama would have a new Good Emperor (of Rome) to compare and contrast her with, or a new novel to place Clarke and Lexa in. It was pure, unadulterated beauty, in every sense of the word, to her. They transcended any modern love story, and yet encapsulated our most human capacity for it. When they kissed, my grandmother laughed, turned to me, and said “I feel the most desperate urge to cry; as if I’m watching some sort of universe being born.” I told her she was being melodramatic and sappy, and wiped away my own tears. And 66 seconds later, Lexa died. My grandmother didn’t say a damn thing as I sobbed. She just stared at the black television screen, while I shook my head and said over and over that this didn’t just happen, that this was part of some elaborate ploy.
I wasn’t even privy to the elaborate baiting the writers had pulled, that Jason had dragged through the mud; I just felt that they wouldn’t…do it. That they understood the weight of the story Clarke and Lexa shared. That they understood that this was a once in a lifetime love. They didn’t understand shit. I hope now they’re beginning to. But my grandmother was the quietest I’d ever known her to be, in my life, after that episode. And every Thursday, I’d stop by and ask if she wanted to watch, and she’d tell me no. Instead, she would hobble over, stoop down to the pantry cupboard, and pull out her favorite cinnamon candle; crimson and spherical, with little leaves decorating the sides. She would light it, at 8pm, and stared into the flame. And in as deep a breath she could muster, she’d exhale and blow it out. I’d stand next to her, take her hand, and she’d whisper “Good night.”
Lexa and Clarke’s story changed my life. My grandmother means the world to me, and to be able to talk with her about who I am, can’t be expressed in words. Or at least, not ones I’m willing to share on a public forum. She is still very reserved, after two months, and she hasn’t let me read her a story involving love, romantic or otherwise. My grandmother is not a sensitive woman. She is hard and strong, but she has been betrayed in placing her hopes in me, and the show, and at this stage in her life, betrayal is an open wound with a small chance of healing. I hope the writers and showrunner of the 100 (and any others hoping to delve into these waters), if they take anything from this debacle, it’s that the messages you send, the stories you tell, matter in real life. Clarke and Lexa’s sexualities might be none issues in the world of the 100, but in our world, it’s a fucking real problem. I’m grateful for what I had and for what you gave me and my grandmother, but to rip that happiness away so terribly, and to desecrate what Lexa meant to us in universe and outside of it, is a very cruel thing to do. For now, my grandmother will light her candle in Lexa’s honor and memory, and she continues to do so because that hope and love Clarke and Lexa shared now falls to us to make it count, and to keep the impact of their story alive. Because nobody else will.