Damn! I hate this place. There are so many people who write amazing stuff ; and I just can't follow suit. Although I do like e2 for the factual content, the main reason I come is for the beautiful stories. For once I shall contribute, with my own story, in an attempt to give back some of what I have taken.

For all the Story Tellers

I like Tolkien. I would call myself a fan, but I'd rather not be associated with that sort of behaviour. I also like languages: Quenya, Sindarin, Lojban, Brezhoneg, Swiss-German, Anglo-Saxon... I have many other unrelated and strange hobbies. I also live in Switzerland (a fact which will become vaguely important later on).

My story takes us back just over a year. I'm on irc, with people from a French Tolkien forum (in fact, this is the place for French-speaking Tolkien-lovers - the quality of discussions is amazing, even by academic standards, let alone what is usually found on the 'net). Anardaiel comes in.

<Anardaiel>I'm rather new to all this irc stuff...
<themanwho>Don't worry, we all have something to learn

It appears that I made a good impression. Out of the blue, she asked for my email address and gave me hers. So I sent her an email for her birthday. We got talking and I met an interesting, intelligent and sensitive person. We set into regular pattern: I would send her an email for lunch and before I went home (my flat has no internet connexion); she would send me emails to read in the afternoon and first thing in the morning. We gradually became close friends, talking about our hopes and worries, our ups and downs.... She lives in France, near Paris. I live 600 km away in Switzerland. But we decided we ought to meet some day. So she invited me over end of June.

We exchanged photos... I found her absolutely lovely. I apparently "wasn't exactly her type", but reminded her of a friend she really likes. At this stage, I wasn't really interested in whether I was her type or not... but I was slightly disappointed.

One day, she didn't write. I got really worried. Turns out, that she had just not been home all day.

... I'm sorry I was such a pain yesterday, but you had me really worried. I think it made me realise just how much I love you.
*hugs*, themanwho
Her reply:
I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world. I'm so glad I met you ...

We went through so many stages: moving from "Hi Anardaiel" through "Dear Anardaiel" and "My dear Anardaiel" to "My dearest Anardaiel"; from "yours" to "hugs and kisses". I tried another I love you. She told me that I couldn't just say that. It means so many things, she said. I couldn't think of a single meaning she could attribute to it which wasn't my intended meaning. She learnt not to eat when reading my emails: she nearly choked on her apple with delight.

So it turned out that our meeting in June would no longer be just friends. It was almost worrying... We tried talking on the phone. The first time was a disaster. On later occasions, we found each other.

All the same, it was with great trepidation that I got on the train. Would she be as pretty in real life? What would happen to my not being her type? Did we love each other?

It was too hot... The temperature in the train was well over a hundred. I picked up my bag, trembling and sweating. This is it! As I saw her, relief flooded me: she is gorgeous. I don't want to be shallow: I don't know if I love her because of her looks or whether she looks great because of our love. Anyway... the chemistry was there, as I discovered when we exchanged our first hugs and kisses. She took my hand in hers as if to say this is where you belong.

The distance is difficult... we have only spent 30 days together so far. But... she is the single greatest thing in my life. This has to count for something...

So, one year on, Happy Birthday my darling. And happy anniversary to us: a year ago today, I sent a stranger a message for her birthday, not knowing what would happen.

That was an email I'll never regret.