Moving Cross Country for the ‘Real Deal’

On Feb. 11, 2019, Kathrine Taylor Adams was brushing her teeth and scrolling through Instagram when she paused to read a personal ad that Brook Ann Nelson had written for an account that functioned as a dating board for queer women.

In the post, Mx. Nelson, who uses a gender neutral courtesy title, mentioned wanting to “get tickets to the opera, stay out dancing til dawn and read the NYTimes in disheveled sheets in the morning.”

Intrigued, Ms. Adams sent a message to Mx. Nelson, who lives in Seattle.

“I guess we’re soulmates?” wrote Ms. Adams, who goes by Kate. She added, “I can be in Seattle by tomorrow lunchtime if you’re free to go ahead and start picking table arrangements for our small but elegant lesbian wedding.”

At the time, Ms. Adams was living in Baltimore. She had moved to Maryland from Raleigh, N.C., in 2016, the year after she divorced her husband of two years when she came out as a lesbian.

Despite any initial banter about impulsively meeting in Seattle, the two kept their conversation to virtual calls and messages until April 2019, when Ms. Adams, 35, flew there to visit Mx. Nelson, 41.

They spent three days seeing local tourist attractions, sharing meals and getting to know each other better. Ms. Adams said one moment that particularly struck her was the thoughtfulness Mx. Nelson displayed after a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop gave Ms. Adams a warm can of soda.

“I was trying to act like everything was cool,” Ms. Adams said. “But Brook would not have it. She ran like three doors down, went to a coffee shop, and got me a cup of ice to make sure I had a cold Coke.”

When the time came for Ms. Adams to leave, both of them sobbed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ahead of her flight. They continued to date long distance until July 2019, when Ms. Adams moved to Seattle with her cat, Carter.

Ahead of Ms. Adams’s cross-country move, Mx. Nelson flew to Baltimore to help her pack, and together they traveled back to Seattle, where Ms. Adams had rented a room in an apartment she found on Craigslist.

But after her first night there, Ms. Adams woke up anxious.

“I thought to myself, ‘If Brook needs some space after that move — after like four days of just intensely being together, I totally understand,’” she said.

Those worries disappeared the next morning, when Mx. Nelson showed up at Ms. Adams’s rental with breakfast.

“When I went to the door, she had coffee for me and a little doughnut from this coffee place that we love, and she was like, ‘Here I brought your key to my house,’” Ms. Adams said.

“All of my fear was assuaged,” she added of her thinking at the time. “This person is looking for the real deal.” Six months later, Ms. Adams moved into Mx. Nelson’s house, where the couple still lives along with Carter and a dog named Bird.

Ms. Adams is now a senior project manager for learning and development at Starbucks in Seattle. Mx. Nelson is a project delivery manager at Cruise, an automotive technology company in San Francisco, where she leads design and construction projects.

In early 2020, Mx. Nelson caught Covid and took months to recover, a process that the two said helped to solidify their bond. By late 2020, Mx. Nelson had begun shopping for an engagement ring for Ms. Adams. But just days before she was planning to propose, Mx. Nelson was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The two were still awaiting test results related to that diagnosis when Mx. Nelson proposed to Ms. Adams on Dec. 7, 2020, while on a hike near a cabin they rented in Enumclaw, Wash. Two weeks after Ms. Adams said yes, the couple learned that Mx. Nelson’s tumor was benign.

They wed on Feb. 11 at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Tomoko Miyazawa, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church, officiated before two guests.

At the ceremony, the wedding bands exchanged by the couple were each engraved with two words: “real deal.”