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"Our Reward"

We passed the test. We are more in love with each other than ever before.

I float in between two completely opposite feelings at the moment. What is more tangible, what my body is suffering through melancholic withdrawal from, is the absence of sweet Anna in my presence, hugging me, holding me, admiring me, loving me. What dwells more in my mind and heart is a feeling of exquisite joy and happiness, that of acceptance by the one I have chosen as mine, and of becoming familiar with love and having it greet me with open arms.

I have just returned from sheer bliss, three weeks spent with my lady love in Stockholm, Sweden, a period of time which spanned both Christmas and New Year's Eve. In a brief slice of time in my life, some of the most important events that I will ever experience occurred. For the most meaningful time of the year, for one three-week moment, I was freed from worry, stress, and doubt.

Anna and I had been planning this trip for quite awhile. I'll be honest -- it's one of my goals this year -- I'm quite proud of the fact that I took care of most of the travel plans myself, without help from others. Anna and I agreed that I would spend three weeks living with her in her flat with her parents. It was a long time on paper, yes, but hardly so in actuality.

Regardless of anything anyone says, we needed that time. Do you know what it's like to have been dating someone for almost a year and only having seen her for five days or so, total? No, I don't think so. Most people can't even fathom it. I cannot claim to have suffered through something as painful as a parental divorce or close death in the family or robbery or anything like that. But I know what the sting of loneliness feels like. I know how it feels to loathe oneself as the Doctor's monster did himself. Most people think the idea is completely ridiculous, long-distance relationships. "Get someone who lives near to you," some would say. The best things in life don't come easily, I say in response. You have to work at something in life to reap the rewards. Anna and I have stuck with it for this long period, being able to relieve the quiet burning desire to be able to touch each other once before, in London. We've been ready for a time when we could sit down, relax, and just catch up on all we've missed by being apart by a few thousand miles.

This unforgettable vacation abroad also proved as some sort of test in the eyes of those who thought it their business to prowl on our Garden. Three weeks of living with one another. Could we stand it? Or would we fold? I humbly intend to inform you that Anna and I passed with flying colors. What was intended to be a long stay felt like only a couple days.

I've already commented on the jubilation of Christmas shopping for a lover for the first time. The anticipation heading into our reunion grew and grew as it got closer and closer. I'll never forget the sheer joy expressed in the words of my sweetheart as she described her preparations for my arrival. I cherish that -- I thrive off it -- I yearn for it in the future. As for me, well, I was kept extremely busy up until the day I would be flying overseas -- I didn't have much time to enjoy my planning, but the satisfaction of finishing up a rough semester and closing up some projects for my job gave me a sense of accomplishment. I was quite ready to enjoy my reward.

No, I am not going to explain in full-length what happened, as some others do. I think it is rather whorish to do so -- those who have nothing private usually suffer from a lack of trust. Or a lack of anything exciting in their lives. But what I will hint at are a few of the key moments, when breakthroughs were made in my once cold heart, when I climbed further up the pinnacle of happiness.

After a long plane flight to accentuate the damage done by overworking myself with school and work, I was ready to leave it all behind. I think I left it with the jerk sitting next to me on the excruciatingly long plane flight. I don't think he'll notice the extra pounds. The luggage was a pain I could have done without. It's like when a mother teases her son by waggling a huge chocolate bar in front of his face and then making him wash his hands first. Who cares? I'll get the damn luggage later...

But I finally passed down that walkway and I looked and looked, and found I was looking too far -- Anna was in front, stunning and radiant, smiling at me with the ease only the truly elegant possess. I recognized her instantly. That was my woman. The woman I'd come such a long way to meet. I'll never forget the release of burden and the immediate comfort I found in my Anna. It was as if we'd known each other for ages before.

And from then on, the self-given weight of Atlas was removed from my back and I could walk proud and strong and honestly so. Such warmth, such unadulterated love. So...so...right.

We spent the rest of the vacation with each other almost around the clock, doing things we damn right deserve to do as a couple. What you take for granted -- going to the movies, watching TV, seeing the city, getting to know the surroundings -- we were pretty much doing for the first time. I bet most people never even give such things any thought. Do people take things so for granted that the only thing that makes them realize how special their love is is a car accident or something equally drastic? Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe it would be good for these gluttonous couples to try it.

As usual, Christmas and New Year's are private moments for me so I won't disclose anything that happened then. As are my impressions of Anna's parents...the warm, generous, loving, understanding parents of a charming daughter (okay okay...so I couldn't help it).

I've never felt so happy in my life. I've never felt so comfortable both with my surroundings and with myself. I never thought one year ago that I'd be with a woman who loves me for exactly what I love doing, accepting me completely as I do her. Idealistic thoughts are often ridiculed, but as it should be, they sometimes become a reality. I have always dreamed of something like this -- I have always wanted it to feel right. I have always desired complete satisfaction in knowing I chose the right woman to love. I do not regret following what I believe in, now that I share my life with Anna and her life.

I suppose that it took me awhile to find out exactly what I wanted in my woman, in the woman who would eventually be mine Anna. Something kept me waiting until I was ready, until that point when I knew what I wanted but did not expect to get it. That's when Anna snuck up on me and captured my heart like the huntress she is. It gives me hope to know that for some inexplicable reason, I am rewarded when I have sufficiently earned it. Could there be a deity Justice?

The time passed through our fingers as we kissed, slipping away quickly and silently. Anna and I ran out of days to do what we had planned on doing and we had to begin to hurry to finish. And then it was time for me to leave. Could there be a deity Justice? Ripping away two lovers from each other and throwing them apart to completely separate worlds? How can such cruelty go unchecked? I went into this already, didn't I?

But I finally passed down that walkway and I looked and looked, and knew exactly where Anna was. She was standing as close as she could to me, behind the security doorframe. I knew where my Anna was. She smiled as only she can smile, and in no time at all, I could no longer see her again. I no longer knew where she was. We had been shut off from each other.

The flight was long, difficult, and turbulent. The movie was at least one that didn't go straight to video. The weather was rainy and the air was freezing. My house was empty, as was my room, for the most part. I was alone. I hate that feeling. Not the feeling more outgoing people get when they feel they need to just be around people, but the feeling that someone whom I should be with can't be with me and is far away.

I'm in a foul mood at the moment and I trade between moods of love and of sadness. After spending three weeks with your lover, you pick up each other's habits and you share them. Anna and I personally became stronger as a couple, as our being physically together made everything seem more real. I had a glimpse of my future, and it has Anna in it. In that woman I see what lies ahead of me. I see sharing my life with her.

But right now we have to put all of that on hold while we go to school. As many colors as learning more and more can shed on someone's life, it still does not make the life of someone without his lover any less black and white. These two, love for another and love for learning, should go hand in hand, together, not independent of each other. Without one or the other, I think, it's difficult to be truly happy.

And I really don't know what to make of everything at this point. I've been overcome with a sort of silence which only loosens its hold when I talk with Anna online. I'm still trying to figure out all these feelings I have, and identify them and toss out the bad ones and savor the good ones. My writing, often terrible and ironically shallow, is not at its best at the moment, but I needed to get this out. I need to connect with my darling Anna any way I can at this point until my body, heart, and mind become accustomed again to the daily grind, the routine.

Anna, precious Anna, what I know for certain is that I want to thank you for giving me the happiest, most comfortable, and most meaningful three weeks in my entire life, and I am extremely happy that I have been able to provide the same joy for you. I want to thank your parents for keeping me the whole time and both our mothers and fathers for doing the extra little things to make our reunion that much more meaningful to us.

Jag älskar dig, min Anna.

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