Denver. Joggers and bike-riders dressed in yoga pants and other breathable material pound the streets, littering them like beer bottles and cigarette butts adorn the roads of our hometown. My wife and I must move aside to allow them past.
From the runners to the waitresses to the girls discussing rebuilding their website at the table next to ours at the all organic restaurant, almost everyone is around my age, 30’s and 20’s, and drip with hospitality and kindness. The ladies sitting near us in the busy and eclectic eatery we chose for our first lunch to kick off our honeymoon all carry mod clutches. In Denver, women carry either a small clutch, backpack or mailbag. No one lugs their wallets in fat, over-stuffed purses I’m used to seeing around at home. I’m glad I chose a mailbag for our trip.
We are two married women, and in Denver, no one cares.
One of the girls discussing social media traffic wears new boots with a lace white dress, and her friend dons a chevron-patterned maxi dress with a large triangle of fabric cut out in the front to show off her midriff and back. It’s either work out wear or stylish and fab garb one sees on mannequins in shop windows. I’ve yet to see anyone in public wearing slouchy clothes or PJs, all too common in our local Wal-Mart. Nearly everyone is skinny, skin aglow and healthy from their gluten-free diets. The jogging, clean mountain air, and vegan restaurants probably contributes. I feel like I might be able to relate to these women, even though I feel small and country in their presence. We all are enjoying selections from the all-organic menu common to most of the restaurants here. If only Kentucky would catch up.
Here, there are lesbians and allies everywhere. No one stares at us when we hold hands or pop kiss after a shared joke. Gawking seems illegal. We blend in at every clothing store and café and on every street. We are two married women, and in Denver, no one cares. I feel so comfortable. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel different, and no one treats me like I am. When the locals ask where we are from and why we are visiting, we respond we are on our honeymoon, and they all smile widely and offer their sincere congratulations.
One guy in his late 20’s hiking behind us on a trail said, “That’s awesome, ladies! Did you have to come here or could you marry there?”
“You girls are going to love it here,” was another’s response at the bed and breakfast.
“Hi girls! You ladies from here? We just want to make sure you girls aware of the lightning dangers,” said a husband and wife in their 60’s hiking down the mountain towards us. We had been holding hands.
I didn’t realize how badly I missed being treated like I am normal until I was finally treated like I am normal. (If only Kentucky would catch up.)
Even the physician and urgent care nurses were unabashed by the news I am married to a woman. After learning I had contracted strep, I casually asked if this meant an end to our honeymoon romance, gesturing to my wife. She buried her chin in her chest blushing from my direct, unfiltered question. The doctor placed his hand on his hip, laughed and responded, “Of course, honey! But you’ll be good to go in about 48 hours as long as your fever is gone.” He smiled and chuckled. I had expected awkward silence and a straight (no pun intended), dry answer. One of the nurses had even conceived a child with her partner using a donor and artificial insemination – the first lesbian I’ve met in 7 years who had gotten pregnant like me. To finally relate with someone on this level and trade our stories … it was golden. (To compare, this is how I was treated at an urgent care center recently in my home state.)
Resting on the balcony of our third floor room of the historic bed and breakfast owned by a nice gay couple, I hear a rhythmic thud nearing me. I lean forward in the iron rocking chair to peer over the adobe balcony. Sure enough, it’s a jogger. I never want to leave. I can’t help but think if I could somehow pack these gifts of hospitality and being treated like I’m human in my suitcase, tucking them in safely alongside the trinkets we bought for our kids, then perhaps it’d make returning home a little less pensive.