Heh. Well, we had a crazy time picking Anika up from the airport -- I don't know what it is about her! Ben and I have been to and from the airport many times with no trouble, yet somehow we managed to go the wrong way every time we drove to and fro with picking her up and dropping her off. So most of Monday was spent driving. Later that night, Anika and I drove to alariya's, where we cuddled on the couch and talked, mostly about relationships... it all blends together now, but I loved having Anika in a cradle of myself and Ashley, just relaxed and connecting.
Tuesday Anika and I lazed around -- I don't even remember what we did earlier, but after Ashley's classes she picked us up and took us to my favorite restaurant (mexican of course) and we had a wonderful time talking... (it's no wonder Anika lost her voice on Sunday with all the talking we did this week). Then we went to my apartment and snuggled on the couch, and for a while we talked about all of the struggles Anika's been going through lately (a large part of the reason that Ashley paid for her to come down). We wound our way through that and Anika took us right out of it by mentioning something that I will not explain, except to say that God is my clitoris and eternal life is my vagina. *nods sagely* Oh, that was one of those classic moments that will never be forgotten and will still be giggled about when we are 583 years old.
Later that night Ashley went home (because she had an early class) and Anika and I started talking about homosexuality, which is a very sensitive subject for both of us. I was so terrified that she was going to judge me and hate me -- while she was afraid that I was going to tell her that I hated non-heteros, including her (which baffled me, since nothing is further from the truth). We both cried with relief and hugged. It took me a long time just to get the courage to tell her my feelings -- because they do not fit with the liberal OR conservative view. I have my own beliefs, made from my own studies of the Bible and the truth that resonates with my spirit. I do not yet feel confident enough to share them with others, but I am much closer now that I have told Anika and she has not judged or rejected me. That had been a wall between us, a huge pile of fear and distrust, and then it was just gone -- such an immense relief, I can't even express how much!
Wednesday I had to work, but Anika and Ben and Rebecca stopped by in their quest for groceries (which we were able to get 'cause God told Rebecca to give her tithe to us (she didn't know we were out of money)). I was so touched to see Rebecca (who is NOT a physical touch person) link arms with Anika -- totally out of her comfort zone I am sure, but reaching out all the same. Rebecca is an amazing person. Every time I see her lately I gain new respect for her. And I was so much better at the blending-work-persona-with-friend-person
That night Anika and I watched Chasing Amy, which I had never seen. Gut-wrenching and thought-provoking, that movie. I can't say I liked it, though I appreciated some of the new perspectives it gave.
Thursday I had to work again, which was kinda a good thing because Anika needed some alone time. That night we watched Foxfire, which I can never see without crying -- and I just broke down. Like I mentioned, Anika's presence brought up my repressed desires for a soulfriend, and watching Foxfire just intensified that exponentially. So I cried and cried and went completely incoherent and then finally composed myself enough to express to Anika what I wanted. I told her that I don't necessarily want her to be willing to throw her life away for me, I just want to know if she has experienced that desire, that incredibly deep burning desire for TRUE friendship, the kind that says, "hmm -- my dreams, or sharing more life with my friend? eh, I can get new dreams, or pursue them later." Because no one has ever so much as admitted to having that desire. The first time I posted about it, someone on my friends list (no longer around) took me to task for desiring it, saying that soulfriends as I define them do not exist and that I should stop being so sentimental and be satisfied with lesser connections. To that, I now say with confidence: Bullshit. Just because you choose to live less intensely does not mean that my intensity is silly or wrong or crazy or a waste. I found what I was looking for -- Anika has also wanted that. I am not alone in my passion for deep connections.
Anika expressed that she had been going through so much that she didn't know much of who she was or what she wanted, so she felt like she couldn't give me what I wanted. I told her that it doesn't matter to me what she is like right now, I want to know who she is at core. She said she didn't know who that was -- but I told her that her desires, what she has yearned after in her brightest moments, is to be her core self; and she had told me that she had had the desire to be soulfriends. That's enough for me, I said -- I am willing to wait and support and love you through the transformation, because I know it will happen. I could almost see it beginning, like a shell cracking, light glowing through the cracks.
Friday we went out with Ashley and Charity (Ashley's roommate, quite a strong and interesting person) to find a crystal shop -- which had switched locations, so we asked directions and followed them only to discover that they were completely wrong. We finally found the shop and browsed for a good while... I was very surprised to find that I was most drawn to a green version of a stone that varies between purple and green. Since when do I prefer another color to purple? But I couldn't resist, and ended up buying 6 of the same stone variety. I plan to use them as praying stones, and associate each with a certain love of mine.
After the crystal shop we dropped Charity off and picked up Kevin (Ashley's fiance), and met Ben at my favorite restaurant again. ;-) Over dinner Anika and I debated hotly with Ashley about breastfeeding in public (why does it not surprise me that Anika and I had identical views without having ever spoken of it to each other?). I think we overwhelmed her a bit -- we both have a sort of passionate honesty that usually throws tact to the wind, and together we are not merely added, we are exponentially multiplied. And Ashley is a gentle person... so, not a great combination. But we realized that we were squashing her, and apologized and tried to listen better. I hope we did a good enough job. And I'm pretty sure we embarrassed both of the guys, who stayed quite out of the discussion.
After dinner Ben, Anika, and I went to blockbuster to use my gift card from Del (thanks Del!) and rented How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (after two bashingly emotional movies we wanted something purely fun, and we thought Ben would like it despite it being a chick flick). We sat on the couch together and Ben warmed Anika's cold feet (which I thought was really sweet) while she draped her legs over my lap. It was so casual, so comfortable, so fun! Ben was completely relaxed, which was pretty amazing.
Saturday we woke up to Ben making us breakfast! and also, menstrual agony. Ben was so wonderful, massaging my belly and lower back until it didn't hurt any more, getting us pills and drinks as we wanted them, just generally being an incredible person. I offered to lend his magic cramp-dissipating skills to Anika, but she said no, crazy girl. How did I ever survive my period without him? My cramps used to last two days and now they don't even last a whole day.
Anika was dealing with major relationship issues all week, and they sorta climaxed on Saturday, with hours of talking on the phone outside. We had planned to go to church (she was going to come see what my church was like, I was so excited! but also nervous) but ended up not going because we didn't want to just leave her. I think it was God though, 'cause I had prayed that she'd only come if the service would be something positive for her. I have no idea what the sermon was about, but I suppose it just wasn't the right time.
That night Anika made dinner, and I got incredibly insecure, thinking about what an amazing wife she was and how lousy I am in comparison -- when Ben gives so MUCH to me. The cooking just brought it all to the front because no matter how I have tried to get my heart to agree with my mind, there is a part of me that says, "You need to cook to be a good wife" -- stupid outdated societal expectations. I sat in the living room feeling more and more upset, and finally decided to go fill the car with gas, because I needed to get out. I fueled the car and then went and defiantly bought myself a coffee and sat in my car and drank it. Ben called, worried, and we talked for a long while... somehow I felt better, though it was actually my realization of the things that I had done for him, and not anything he said. So I went back home and had some of Anika's delicious food, along with Anika and Ashley and Ben. Ashley talked about her dreams and her goal to expose her children to other cultures by traveling -- an interesting conversation.
Later Ashley went home to sleep so that she could be alert enough to take Anika to the airport (she's a morning person). Ben and Anika and I stayed up all night, spending most of it talking on the couch, Ben sitting at one end and Anika and I laying lengthwise with my head on her belly. I loooooooooved talking, and I loooooooooooooooooved being so close to my soul-twin and my lover. I am such a physical touch person. That memory is so sweet; thinking on it makes me feel honey. Honey, the emotion.
At about 4am Anika got a call and went into the bedroom to talk and Ben took a nap on the couch, so I just waited around for 6am... wishing that Anika didn't have to leave. But eventually we went to Ashley's, switched into her car, and headed to the airport. Anika and I had hit that point where EVERYTHING is funny, so we giggled like crazy the whole way to the airport (including the inevitable wrong way detour). I love her laugh, but I ADORE her giggle. It's just so bubbly, so anika! We arrived at the airport and Ben and Ashley said goodbye at the car... I walked Anika to the security checkpoint, and tried for several minutes to say goodbye. It was just so HARD! We held hands all the way there, and we'd let go to hug, then hold hands and say I love you... drift into silence staring into each others' eyes, then hug again... (I am certain that the security lady thought we were lesbians. She kept peering over suspiciously, like we were going to do something crazy) Finally I told her that she had to walk away first, 'cause she was the one leaving, and after one last hug she walked away. I watched until she turned around, then waved and turned to walk away too.