Story of the Week
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Long Distance Relationship
After going from nothing relationship-wise to everything, I believe I know a little about long distance relationships. It all started in the eighth grade when Matt and I dated off and on for years. Every time we were together, the relationship ended and tore us both apart. Neither one of us knew how truly far this junior high aquaintance would go. As a senior in high school, I was happy and carefree with him, but I did think of him often. However, I saw no use in trying to pursue such a tumultuous relationship with a man who would next year go to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, some 250 miles from Arkansas State University where I planned to attend. No chance, no torture. We still didn't see how we would ever get back together.
It came in October, however. I was in Germany and he in Fayetteville. I was three months into a scholastic youth exchange when he wrote me. I don't know whether I wrote him out of pity, loneliness or if I truly wanted him back. A part of me did miss him, but the majority of my thoughts turned negative- such a relationship will never work with you, Alicia, because you are too weak and you need that stability he would offer were you two together. I finally owed up to my feelings and depite our bleak furture "together," without each other, I would also take the chance of fidelity to a man more than 8,000 miles and seven time zones away. We endured many a long might and lonely day "together" via e-mail and wonderful flower arrangemnets.
With every letter, I grew closer to the man I had never really known before. With every passing day, I felt excitement swell up inside me like caged tidalwaves. I was bursting daily to see my Matt and considered going home early, but the encouragement that he gave me kept my spirirts going until I finally arrived home. My birthday rolled around in April and figured on a small disappointment from home, but Matt came through and had seven red roses delivered to my host-family's home on my birthday. I was the talk of the village!
Throughout the year, Matt and a good friend of mine (an American in the same village) wrote "secretly." I was never worried about any relationship besides friendship developing between them, therefore, they schemed with each other to get the perfect home coming gift for me... My friend always seemed to mention, at the time I was loneliest and in need of his encouragement, that she knew what he was doing for me and that she knew how much he loved me. Maria encouraged me on those days when, I too, question the fruitfulness of a long distance relationship, and now I thank her for all the work she put in to keeping my sanity.
I arrived home from my almost to-the-day-year-long-stay only to be greated by family, friends, and Matt (with a dozen red roses, a huge kiss and a limousine ride!). Matt had saved his money that he had earned while working during the summer so that he could "treat me like royalty." My first limousine ride,it was, but also my "first kiss" with Matt. This time, I truly believe we understand what it means to be committed, depsite geographical or personal differences. In augsust, we were once again faced with physical separation. I left for my college in northeast Arkansas and he left for his in the northwest. We are still committed to each other; I see him every few weeks when he comes to town.
We e-mail often and phone our almost daily encouragemnts. We both have a great feeling about this relationship. It was one year for us in early October, and I am sure we will last til the second, third, fourth and maybe infinite anniversaries. As I write this now, I smirk with the knowledge that in two weeks I will see him again. I will finally be able to kiss him and hear his heart race when I hug him. With the distance also comes the sweetness of the closeness hrtat we have earned and use on each other when we finally reunite. He is my Matt and I am his Alicia. Our names are synonymous with hard work, misunderstandings, and lots of trust.
I love Matt, and I want everyone to know what we sacrificed for one incredibly short year, has turned into a summer and fall love that fest and unyielding. My mother always told me that if there was something I wanted, I would have to sacrifice something else in order to enjoy more what I want. My mother is a very wise woman.
Alicia, Arkansas, USA
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