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The Dallas Christmas with Anna, January 10, 1999 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: January 10, 1999
"The Dallas Christmas with Anna" [permalink]
    keywords: personal, history, love, Christmas
    soapbox #: 169
    written: January 10, 1999
    words: 2086

"The Dallas Christmas with Anna", an Essay

This was originally written on the 23rd of February. I just wanted to think about everything that happened before I wrote about it, but it turned out that that was the right thing to do anyway.

After a long fall semester in 1998, full of headaches and late nights studying and working, Anna and I finally got to meet for a full three weeks at my house in Dallas. Having spent the previous Christmas with Anna and her parents, it was her turn to spend time with me and my parents. Nothing gets you quite so refreshed for another semester of school as seeing your sweetheart for the first time in three months.

Usually extremely well-composed and straight-faced, it was near impossible to hold back radiant beams when I saw Anna in the airport, the most beautiful, well-dressed woman in the whole building. How can one find more happiness than in one's lady's look of love at you?

It's painful being apart from someone so long that you kind of forget what they really look like. Photographs hardly do people justice -- you have to see the motion filling someone's body in order to truly appreciate looks. It is no surprise that animation and life are more genuine than stills.

It was Christmas time, so after Anna had slept off her killer jetlag, we spent the next week or so shopping together. My parents had been gracious enough to let me drive the new cool car, and we must've hit most every store in the area. It may seem mundane to you, but buying extravagant gifts and those expensive extra wrapping things like special tags and string and whatnot added more fun to the season -- considering I usually sloppily wrap gifts as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

It's those little things you miss in online relationships, which regular couples take for granted. Things like finding a place to eat for lunch, or taking a walk in the park, or whatever. I bet you don't even think about it anymore. Well, you fucking should.

My parents were angels about the whole thing, and we even got to see "The Messiah" performed at the Meyerson Symphony Hall -- Anna looked great -- and we got to see an amazing exhibit of the Frenchman Lalique's works at the Dallas Museum of Art. I loved his concept illustrations of the jewelry and adornments he created. But the real things were masterpieces.

We got some excellent photographs this time.

Christmas shopping took up much of our time before the big day, so I was pretty worn out by the 25th. We had plenty of time to talk about our future, about Anna's choices of universities, and so on. We had a lot of time to kiss. We set up my old computer so that my mom could use it. That was fun. We made a desktop background together for it. We got to see movies together, another thing couples take for granted. I'm telling you, Anna: you've seen all the good movies, dammit. :) I can't find anything you haven't seen yet, except "Killer Bimbos from the Planet Q".

You've seen that too?!

Christmas was awesome. My brother came home and we had an excellent dinner. Anna and I showered each other with presents, but I think everyone else made out pretty well too. Definitely decided to let loose this Christmas. Anna got me an excellent mix of computer games, books to break me out of my dumbness (she's always looking to help me become more intelligent), hard-to-find CDs, and some other things I won't get into here. I got a multi-purpose printer and some more classic books that I'll have to lock myself in a lighted closet for a month (oh, wait, we call that the private rooms in the school library) in order to finish.

My parents went out of the country for a week, so Anna and I got a nice week alone. We cooked a bit, and relaxed a lot, and basically enjoyed each other's company. A little taste of what it would be like when we finally got to move in with each other, I think. My boss was kind enough to let me go free the whole time, so I had very little to worry about the whole vacation -- just got to settle everything in my mind and indulge in time well-spent with my girlfriend.

I never get bored in Anna's presence. Some people think I should have by now. But I just don't. I'm not saying that it's always non-stop craziness and fun when we're together, but we definitely have a patient, calm demeanor around each other. There's no pressure or tension.

We had some lovely discussions with each other -- that's what it's all about, when you get right down to it. I respect that woman so much, and she's already so wise. I love her for it.

Eventually, after what I felt was a satisfactorily long enough vacation (comparatively speaking, of course, to the one-week stint in London), although it still wasn't as long as I wanted it to be, it was time for Anna to fly back home. Packing up is a part of our meetings that I really loathe. You look back at the past few weeks and wonder where it all went, and why it has to end. You remember when she took all her stuff out and placed it very neatly in the closet and such. And now the suitcase closes, and you have to go to the airport.

I took it better than I thought I would, and I kissed Anna one last time as she walked through the tunnel and onto the plane. That was the last time I saw her. I have missed her since days before she left. I love her.

Her plane arrived in Stockholm after what must have been an exhaustive plane flight. I always worry about plane crashes, as most people do. It seems to be the biggest kick in the pants the gods can give you. The gods didn't feel cruel that day, thankfully.

We both resumed our school semesters after plenty of notes and e-mails and phone calls of longing and missing each other. The world was colorless for weeks until I got used to being without Anna again.

 

 

 

 

And then, some time in mid-February, Anna told me that it wasn't working anymore.

It wasn't a hostile breakup at all, but definitely a sad one. I don't think either of us expected this. No-fault. We're still best friends. I still love her with all my heart, with all that original infatuation too, and always will.

I didn't really want to write about this, but 1) I felt I needed to get some of it out of my system and give some closure to it, and 2) I felt like apologizing. I feel like apologizing for my pride and arrogance in all of this, since I've been pretty boastful about it all. I do not regret doing it, but I do apologize. I do not regret it, because I feel that you have to believe so completely in love that it envelopes you. You can't have doubts. I had no doubts. If I had another chance to do it all over again, I still would have said what I said, because that's how strongly I believe in love. But I said some mean things to people who said mean things to me first, and it turns out I was wrong, even if those people listed the wrong reasons.

If you believe in something with all your heart, you may end up falling hard. I accept looking foolish. It is not my pride which I care about losing right now. It is Anna who I've lost, and that's all that matters to me...

I don't think I'll ever understand any of this. It just happens, as they say. It's impossible to control. She was my first love, and in order to not betray myself, she must be my only love. Everyone tells me that the first love is the hardest, and that you get over it. Fuck that. People have become so cynical and pessimistic about love that they say these things in order to make the whole process easier to deal with. There is no such thing as love for most people, just a humpfest carnival of revolving door dates and partners. It does not even bother people anymore that love doesn't work out. It just happens, they say. What happens when people don't even believe in ideals anymore?

What keeps people going? I have yet to understand. The worst hardships may fall upon people; their children may get killed in car accidents, they may become bankrupt, they may lose their long-time love, but they keep going. What keeps them from becoming evil? What keeps them from saying there is no benefit in helping others when this rotten world has done nothing for them? In other words, is it really a love for humans which keeps most all mistreated humans from taking action upon others?

Conditioned morality? Confused hope? I don't know. But with such injustice in peoples' lives, it makes you wonder why they don't just say, "To Hell with it all."

I do not hate love. Rather, I see that even with the most perfect woman and relationship in my eyes, that it can still elude you. It eludes most everyone. But I do not hate it. I am jealous of every single couple out there because they have what I lost. They have what I once reveled in. I refuse to believe that you can truly get over people, because I feel it's just forgetting the old person, or coming to grips with it and moving on. People don't even think THAT much about it, happy to accept multiple relationships and not hope for finding the right person for one and one time only. That may be idealistic, but I think it's beautiful. And now that my first lover is gone, I no longer can cling onto that ideal. It has been shattered, and my first will never be my last, barring the impossible.

The same way I feel about gods, I wish there were such a thing as being with one person your whole life from beginning to end, without others being thrown in between. It defiles the whole thing when others come in between. I wish for perfect love, but my tendencies towards the realistic way of thinking are ripping my hope out of my hands and heart and leaving me in the bitter world that actually exists.

People write fantasy novels because they want to have control over certain things which are only ideals in this world -- they want there to be justice and love and destiny, so they allow for such laws to rule over their made-up worlds. It is all fictional, and has no place in the real world. The real world is unfair and indifferent, the humans who walk upon it jaded and depressing to observe. Is western religion anything more realistic than a fictional fairy tale for people to believe in to make it through life on Earth without going crazy?

And now I'm just another one of them. I'm just another schmuck, clinging onto whatever shred of hope he still has left for finding that special someone who reciprocates his undying love. I'm just another homo sapiens. All that I have makes me no different from anyone else, in the big picture. The things I excel at, the things I'm bad at -- I'm still reducible to a mere human being. Those who are truly different are those who have someone else to share their lives with regardless of what happens -- even those who die young are fortunate if they died with requited love in their hearts.

She was the perfect woman for me, and I realistically cannot fathom a replacement. After all, the next would be, well, a replacement. The only hope I have in this regard is to remain alone, to avoid the pleasures of another woman, to go on believing in that one true love, unreachable as it is.

I'm only 21, they say. Yeah, I'm 21 and I've tasted paradise. I have a long life to live and an unrequited love in my heart that will never die. That seems like a bittersweet byproduct for one being so daring as to go headlong into this. The rest of my life is only an denouement to these last two years.

Thank you, Anna, for all you've given me. Thank you for the excellent Christmas -- I could not have asked for anything better than what we shared during those three weeks. My love for you will never die.

And to think, not so long ago, I wrote about how hard it would be to give up what I had in order to pursue a life of truth as a philosopher... It hardly seems like much of a sacrifice anymore, now that I've lost what I most deeply cared about. Now is the worst time of my life.


 
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