The Only Lesbian Couple in Town
It all was set into motion on Christmas morning 2015 when I awoke in the same room I spent my first nineteen years waking up in. The same wallpaper, the same carpet, the same furniture and bed. I could hear the early morning train going by just a few blocks away. She was laying next to me, still fast asleep. The teenage me could never have believed this Christmas morning would be possible. Not only was I laying next to the woman I loved but I was there celebrating Christmas with her and my parents all in the same house. It was a moment in time that is still fresh in my memory. Little did I know this day would forever change my life.
She asked me to marry her that morning in front of my parents, and I said yes. My dad took pictures on his iPhone, my mother cried tears of happiness. It was a beautiful moment I will treasure forever.
After we got engaged we needed to figure out where we were going to live. I had been living in Saskatoon for the past twelve years. When I moved there for school I found a new circle of family and friends who helped me to come out. I found my footing, it took me a long time but I found myself. Now I had to face the fact that if I wanted to marry my love, I would have to relocate to a smaller community.
She is a teacher living in a rural community, no bigger than the town I grew up in. Her career was secure, mine was still in free fall. We discussed it and though the city life was more attractive for both of us, we needed to be practical. April would be the big move; the plans were made and I was about to make the biggest change of my entire life. My coworkers were worried about me moving to a small community where I would be one half of the only lesbian couple in town. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new chapter. I just new it was exactly what I wanted to do.
So, we did it. We packed up my life, all twelve years of it. Some went to good will, some went to friends, the rest went into the U-haul. My coworkers threw me a farewell party and the next day I was highway bound.
My first year was the biggest adjustment because I didn’t know anyone except my fiancé out here and I had to start from scratch. Things started to fall into place: I found a job I really liked in June, we bought a beautiful home in July and I was promoted in October. Talk about fast.
I’m not going to pretend that it was all easy. At first, I felt very isolated and depressed, I saw all my friends on social media back home going on with their lives and I was out in the middle of nowhere, left behind. People I talked to every week, became people I texted with a bit, and before I knew it they were people I used to know on Facebook. I worked a lot to keep busy, trying to keep my mind from noticing how I was lonely. It wasn’t as though I didn’t love my new life but it was a tremendous change and I needed to distract myself. My first year was the biggest adjustment because I didn’t know anyone except my fiancé out here and I had to start from scratch.
This small community had never had an out lesbian couple here before. There was some staring in the grocery store. Nothing serious, but there were whispers. The awkward conversations didn’t last long, after a few months people got used to us just like we got used to them. We were no longer the “others”, rather we became a part of the fabric of the community here. We were invited to events and gatherings. My coworkers would ask me how she was just like they would ask their straight coworkers how their spouses were. It wasn’t an embarrassing moment anymore, we became just another couple which is exactly who we are anyway.
Weeks turned to months and months to years. Over time my loneliness disappeared and I began to make friends with people in my new home. My old friends from the city are still the best and though we don’t talk as much, I value all the time they have put into our relationship since I moved.
I’ll never forget the first time I really felt at home here. It was a cool night in September, I walked out on to our back deck and the stars were all out. You can’t really see the stars from inside the city, and these stars were so bright and beautiful. My love put her arms around me and started listing off the different constellations in the sky. The air smelled fresh and amazing, I can’t describe it to do it justice.
I have been in my new home for almost two years. This place isn’t perfect, but it is home now. I love where I am and I love the life we have built here together. She and I are a part of this community and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This personal narrative was gratefully received from Liz Senecal.
EDIT: Please note that the “rural community” in this story is not Moose Jaw and that we have used a stock photo (creative commons licence) here as well. Through our work with the Saskatchewan Pride Network, Moose Jaw Pride is proud to provide a platform for people living in smaller communities around the province to tell their stories. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to share yours.