A few weeks into the new year, Stuart asked me when he could see me again. I was still dazed from the new years together, but it then hit me that we were in a long-distant relationship. I was so preoccupied with the idea of starting a relationship with Stuart that I didn’t think much of how to sustain it. I asked Stuart his opinion. He said he was willing to travel as long as he needed to. I was surprised by his commitment after numerous rejections the previous year.
Every few weeks, either of us flew to each other after work on Friday and returned on Sunday evening. We didn’t do anything special, but we were glad to see each other and spend weekends together. After a few such visits, when we were lying in bed and talking, I was so overwhelmed by my feelings that I told him, “you are my boyfriend, you are my friend, you are my family.” I sounded cute, but it was, in reality, a cry of desperation. My life was so lonely and harsh in Germany that Stuart was the sole provider of emotional support at the time. Then, I watched his eyes welling up in seconds. “Gosh, you made me teary!” he uttered, and I was again surprised by his dramatic reaction. “There is something I would like to tell you,” he continued, “I. Love. You.” I had a better sense of the weight that word carried than the last time I received it, but it was still merely a box to me. What was inside was the “feelings” utterly indescribable, which was why it was so scary. Whatever feelings I had, it was extremely pleasant, so I reciprocated his words. Now he burst into tears, telling me he was so incredibly happy.