Exit Two

2 10 2010

A few weeks ago Kelly and I took Liza for her final fitting on her dress for our wedding. The bridal store was just off Exit Two in Nashua and as I drove down the long exit ramp I suddenly flashed back almost seven years to the time I got off Exit 2 to go to the movies for the first time with Kelly.

At that time in my life just getting out of bed was a challenge. I was in the process of divorcing and I was terrified about what the future would hold and how I could even begin to think about surviving as a single mom. I felt as though I was standing on the edge of a steep, tall cliff and I was either going to crash in pieces at the bottom or figure out how to leap hard enough to make it to the other side. I had lost my sister and one of my best friends within a year of each other, and I was unsure how or even if I could tell my mother that I was finally going to come out as a gay woman. A terrific network of friends surrounded me for whom I will always be grateful, but I was fearful of becoming “that” friend. You know the one. The one you see coming and think ‘Oh great, here comes Katie moaning about her divorce and her dead sister again.” I had no idea which direction to turn in, what road to take or how to parent my child. I was wracked with guilt about hurting my ex-husband and breaking up our family. I was lost. Sitting up one night I searched the computer for any kind of support group that might help a woman in my unique position. While I didn’t exactly find that I did find a notice for a local gay women’s group advertising a Friday night “Food Night”at a restaurant about 25 minutes away. I thought, “Well, I can talk to anyone over dinner. Maybe I’ll meet some new friends.” Let’s be clear here. I was not looking for romance. I was not looking for anything other than maybe finding a few women who might have been through similar situations and who might help me find some good resources to figure out where I was going. Taking a deep breath I emailed the event organizer, got directions and put my name on the list. It was time to start leaping.

I found my way to the tiny strip mall that housed the inauspicious Thai restaurant and entered to find a group of women chatting while the hostess arranged for their large table. A woman in a plaid shirt, baseball hat and I started talking about the latest season of “Survivor” (Pearl Islands in case anyone is keeping track) and instantly bonded over who we were rooting for (Rupert). “I know. Rupert right?” the woman said and then stuck out her hand to shake on it as if our shared backing of a bearded reality show contestant was a deal we were closing. “I’m Kelly.” She said. And so it was.

That night I laughed harder than I had in years. Laughed in a way I thought I’d forgotten how to laugh. Kelly mocked my choice of wine. “Ooh Shiraz…FAN CY!” (I loved this, for, like most people who use humor as crutch, I only mock people I really like). We chatted about seventies television, Oscar winners and tried to out-trivia each other. After dinner she invited me to join her and the group for ice cream down the road and we headed out with her best friend Jackie and Jackie’s then girlfriend in a convertible that nearly took our heads off when Jackie accidentally started raising the top back up. I didn’t recognize myself it was such a leap for me. But all I knew was I was laughing and happy in a way I’d forgotten how to be. When I got home that night I had an email waiting for me from Kelly. (This was pre-Facebook, otherwise I’m sure she would have ‘friend-ed’ me).

A few weeks later Kelly invited me to join her for a movie at a cinema near her home. “I live just off Exit Two” she said giving me directions. I accepted with a combination of excitement and trepidation and as I drove down the exit ramp I wasn’t sure what to expect. But then there she was opening the door of her condo and somewhere deep down I suspected life as I knew it was about to change. I didn’t start dating Kelly that night or for many months to come. I was skittish and nervous and busy trying to make some kind of order out of my new life. But little by little Kelly’s presence in that new life became a constant. She was there shoveling my driveway (which by the way she’s not so enthusiastic about anymore), taking me and Liza on outings and adventures, cooking me risotto, and leaving funny songs and trivia questions on my voice mail each morning. And little by little I found myself letting go of that breath I’d been holding. Little by little I found my smile again, my laugh again, and let down my guard and opened my heart and my life to this woman who lived off of Exit Two.

Today is our wedding day. After nearly seven years of movies, road trips, horrible tennis games, helping Liza with her school projects, and white wine and brie on the deck on Friday nights; after nearly seven years of growing together, leaning on each other, loving each other and most of all laughing with and yes at each other, we are getting legally married. And I’m so glad that the scared woman I was nearly seven years ago took that chance and made that drive down to Exit Two. Happy Wedding Day Kelly. I love you.

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15 responses

2 10 2010
Sue (from MT)

Happy happy day to the two of you and may you have many years of laughter and joy ahead of you!

2 10 2010
Linda Newell

I’ll never look at exit two quite the same way from now on, I’ll think “this is THAT exit two.” and get all weepy as I just did.

Linda Noodles

2 10 2010
Tina

Katie & Kelly,
This is the most touching tribute of love! I’m so excited on many different levels for the two of you. First and foremost, that Katie, you took the “leap” and landed in the arms of Kelly. Secondly, that the state of NH allows same sex couples to MARRY, and third, for the friendship and forever companionship the two of you have.

May you be blessed beyond belief. May God shine down on you with his loving smile and how I know your parents would be so thrilled for your happiness!!

My thoughts and Best Wishes to the two of you for lifelong happiness.

Hugs!
xo, Tina
PS-Look at the sky, it is simply BEEE-U-TEE-FUL today!!

2 10 2010
Suzanne

I am in tears. I wish you all every happiness. Liza is a lucky girl to have a Mom like you and a step-Mom like Kelly! God bless you all today and every day.

2 10 2010
Michael Curtiss

What a wonderful wedding gift to give to your beloved. I won’t wish you happiness- that you clearly have- but instead wish you, Kelly and Liza many years more of it. Bless.

2 10 2010
Momo

This is lovely. The most beautiful day for two hearts to join together. Lots of love and laughter…..love, Maura

2 10 2010
Lisa Cauble

stop it!!!!! You always make my weepy when I read your posts! 🙂

Could not be happier that you and Kelly are getting married today. I can’t wait to see all the photos — and then later on hear the stories of what a wonderful day it has been and all the things you laughed about.

Wishing you and Kelly a lifetime of happiness together!

2 10 2010
Janet

I am laughing (at the part about the convertible taking your heads off) and crying at the same time. What a beautiful, beautiful post and what a beautiful gift you have with each other. 🙂 I pray for you both a very long life of happiness and joy. You both deserve it. Much love, Janet

2 10 2010
Janet

PS – you are now no longer a single mom!!!! :))

2 10 2010
Christina

Seriously – you nailed it Lisa. I have GOT to remember to have tissues at hand when I read this site 🙂

Happy happy day my friend!! As you stand up in front of your friends there, look out over the crowd and picture all of us out here in virtual-ville, sitting here also with smiles on our faces as we witness your vows of love for your new wife.

Hugs

2 10 2010
Kellie

Such a beautiful story, Katie. I wish the two (or three)! of you a life full of happiness !!!

2 10 2010
Jen (Mrs Pastor)

You know, one of the things we laugh about in my family is how easily Mama cries when she’s happy…and you’ve just given them more ammunition.

Not sure how your wedding vows worked out – but you sure have it nailed here. Hope the day is everything you wanted and that you and Kelly and Liza have many, many years together.

2 10 2010
mamacita

I have never heard the story of how you and Kelly got together. It’s a great one, told just right, and with the requisite happy ending.

Felicitations on this momentous day, and for your life together. Your marriage will be a new light in this world.

4 10 2010
Laura

As always beautiful and from the heart – may your life be filled with everything you wish for and more… congrats to you all!!

9 10 2010
Kelli

Congratulations! The pictures are beautiful! It looks like a wonderful time. Now you have to change your masthead as you are no longer a single mom. 😀

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