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Southbound on New York State Route 414 in Hect...

Southbound on New York State Route 414 in Hector, just south of New York State Route 79. To the right is Seneca Lake; straight ahead, NY 414 continues downhill to the base of the lake valley and Watkins Glen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Raw nerves keep her hands shaking. Breathing has become increasingly difficult the entire ride from Binghamton to Jamestown. Kate knows she is doing the right thing, that it should have been done so many years ago, at least some time in the year and a half she and Debbie have been together. She called her mom and told her they needed to have a talk. “Have you met someone?” Mom asked, knowing she and Deb have lived together for six months. She is either the queen of delusion or truly does not have a clue and Kate’s stomach twists for blaming her mom for something she should have dealt with.

She does not have it as hard as some, she knows, but Kate also knows, from her upbringing, from dozens of arguments over politics, and from long, uncomfortable silences at Thanksgiving that she also has it so much harder than many today. Deb’s mom cried tears of joy when she was told that they were moving in together. They aren’t engaged but Sandy drops hints like Chernobyl  potatoes, always eager to plan an over the top wedding for them. Kate has fought past her resentment. If she hadn’t she and Debbie would not still be together. It sits in sharp contrast though to what awaits them at the other end of the Southern Tier Expressway.

The gas station coffee comes back up on her a bit as they finish the last few miles through the mountains, almost home. She sees Deb shoot her a worried look. Deb, her super hero who stands up to everything and everyone, unafraid because she knows the consequences of stepping down. She wishes she was as brave. Kate knows she cannot lean on her for this. No, the next part is all on her, and the only thing her girlfriend (they both hate the word “partner,” it’s not like they own a bake shop together) can do is be there to lean on if it comes out for the worst.

They pull up the gravel drive way as Mom watches. Deb puts her hand on her shoulder gently and smiles as she opens the door.  Somehow seeing the Reverend standing there makes it easier. She is less an idea and more person. Kate takes a deep breath and her chest loosens. “Hi mom.”

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