Thursday, April 25, 2013

a world away

ph: ArtPause

It was our second date and it also happened to be finals week in college and I had no idea what I was doing. I should have been studying but instead I was planning on spending every night with this woman and just praying that I pass all my classes. This wasn't like me at all! But everything had changed when I fell in love at first sight but this stranger to our Church choir last Sunday. She is beautiful, a natural beauty, smart, talented, a voice like an angel... the list goes on and on. At first I was without words and I had no idea what to say and when we finally did start talking it was almost like it was a reflex and an out of body experience. I was listening to myself carry on with this amazing woman and wondering what I was doing but at the same point I was impressed that I was able to keep it up.

The day after that I called her for the first time and we got to talking. We talked for hours! I am an American college student going to college in the Western United States and I found myself talking until I ran this beautiful Australian woman completely out of phone credit. We were able to talk about everything and nothing for what seemed like no time at all. She was so easy to talk with and to hear her laugh just made my heart soar. I eventually got around to asking her out and our the next day we went and grabbed lunch and I showed her around campus. We talked some more and I found out about her family, her major, and everything else. I couldn't get enough of it. I just found everything she said fascinating because honestly, this was the first time I finally felt like I found someone like me. Why it had to take so many different relationships for both of us to get to this point, why I had to wait for someone to come half way around the world, but I finally found someone that I feel like they understand me and that we are able to communicate on such a more honest and deeper level.

But here I was on what I thought was the end of our second date, standing there at the doorstep of her host family's home after a short afternoon game of competitive racquetball trying to find the words to say goodnight when I didn't really want to go as she stood there smiling back at me. The door opens and a shorter woman, also with an Australian accent, leans out and asks if this is the guy she had been talking so much about and that I needed to come in and have dinner, we must both be starving. Choice was no longer an option. I had to come in and share dinner with them. Even if I should have been studying, I couldn't be rude and decline because I wanted to see her again so I couldn't make her hostess angry. Plus, I didn't exactly want the night to be over. So as we waited for dinner to finish up, I was introduced to the kids of the home. They were a bit rough but overall it was a lot of fun. We got to wrestling around and playing pretend that we were knights and princesses in some vast adventure to save the world... I think I probably died twice and got revived twice. But the thing was, I don't remember all the details of dinner or the kids. I just remember watching her and admiring how she would be so gentle and kind as she interacted with these children. It honestly just made my heart melt. And then after dinner, we again got swept away by the kids and this time I found us up in one of their rooms having a deliciously prepared plastic toy dessert by the 4-year old daughter.

As she turned her back to us, we had a quick glance between us where we just grinned at each other and we stood up to go see what the little girl was trying to pull out to show us. As we walked over to the closet where the little child was, I reached forward to tickle my companion. She whipped around quickly to return the playful attack but I had already lifted her off the ground so she was out of arms reach. It was then as she was in my arms right above me, looking into my eyes that I first realized how much I really liked her. I slowly brought her back down to the ground and into my arms and as lowered her she reached out and took me into what was a perfect kiss. Her hands in the back of my hair, our bodies lightly pressed against one another, my arms around her waist, it felt perfect. I never would have thought that it would all start there in a child's room playing pretend. But if we move forward 5 months to today, here we are.

I have finished my semester of school returned to the east coast for the summer and she has been gone for 3 months now. She left to go back to Australia to finish her next semester, start figuring out how to transfer to my college in the United States, and just wrap things up back at home. Still, we have so many memories besides that first week together that have helped us survive the distance apart: places we traveled to together, time spent with family and friends, time we were able to steal away to talk for a few hours, sleepless nights on Skype talking back and forth trying to reassure and strengthen one another, laughing and having a great time. We have talked about marriage, starting a family, and if things continue to go as planned we will be married by the end of the year. Still, I am counting the time over the next 7 weeks until I will fly over to Australia to see her and meet her family. I do my best to live in the present as I am working and spending time with my family but the only thing that I honestly think about is my future with her, seeing her each day, being with her in a few weeks. The reason I wanted to share this short love story that I have been living is this:

Love is not just wanting to be with another person or wanting that person's absolute happiness. Real love is waiting, serving that person, and always trying to uplift them and let them know that you would do anything for them. Love is selfless, not selfish. It is letting both people choose for themselves because love is not controlling. It is a kind of freedom that let's a person be their true self and know that they are accepted for who they are and that they never have to change. Love like ours can be seen in a kiss, because every kiss is as if it was our first kiss and our last. I won't pretend that being a world away has been anything but easy, because I never expected something this wonderful would come at a cheap price. I miss those days where we would come home and find one another preparing dinner for the other person just to be greeted with a hug, a kiss, and a quick "I missed you." I miss those nights were we feel asleep talking together as we were watching a movie only to wake up wrapped up in each other's arms under a blanket. I miss her touch, her breath on my skin, and the list goes on and on. I love her. Time keeps turning and I will be there soon but I can be patient even when I am still a world apart.
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