My upbringing was small and simple. Surrounded by nature and an abundance of animals I lived a happy and quiet existence but my mind was always open and a far away place was calling from a very young age. Rasmus opened the door to the bustling world outside. He opened my eyes to life.
When I met him everything changed. I was training to be a dancer and it seemed like he was there for the experience rather than an education, studying something he thought he should. We were friends first, he was older than I was but he was gentle, kind and honest. Shy in a way, my blue-eyed Swede, he looked so very young but something drew me to him. He had a way of looking at the world, an understanding that had never crossed my naive mind. It made him wise. He was adventurous and careless in a way I never was yet it was everything I yearned to be. Challenging me always, he terrified me and captivated me.
I remember that suddenly I felt my heart would leap from my chest when I saw him, my eyes always secretly searched for him, always distracted by thoughts of him. I didn’t think I was in love for a long time and then I was, so much so that it was scary. He was from some distant part of the planet and our future was so unclear. If he left would we ever find each other again?
We spent long nights in my tiny dorm room bed loving, talking, laughing and dreaming. We drew pictures and wrote silly musings on my wall and fell asleep wrapped in each other’s arms. He became not only my lover but my truest, deepest friend. The nights he wasn’t with me I would read and re-read the scribbles on the walls ushering me into blissful dreams.
As that year ended we were inseparable but he had decided to follow a new calling. Led by his heart as I was, I knew he had to go, back to far off Sweden to follow his dreams. It was the strangest feeling, not knowing if I would ever see him again. On our last night together in Perth it was hot and we ran down the street laughing, happy and silly after a late dinner and too much wine. I remember taking our clothes off in the street and swapping them. I was always more comfortable in his clothes by then and he wore my girly t-shirt with pride. We lay on the cool, damp grass on a nearby sports field. My back against his chest, I lay on him and he held me firmly against his warm body. We stared at the stars for a long time and I missed him so much already. He slept in my tiny bed for the last time that night and I left the next morning feeling numb.
After I went home for the summer we managed to see each other twice. He came back to my hometown in Victoria before leaving for Sweden and then after the New Year I convinced my very generous and understanding parents to pay for tickets to send me to the cold North. We were only together for a few weeks but we spent every moment exploring the world together, sharing our homes, our families and our backgrounds. By the time I flew back to Perth, full of the memories of our recent adventures we both knew we were going to be together. When I started my second year at school all my dreams and desires had changed. I felt in my heart that I didn’t want to be there, that I wanted to be with Rasmus, that it was time for me to change. Injured almost always, my body was screaming for me to stop and my heart was telling me to fly away. So as I struggled through my training and schoolwork I started looking for ways to get to Sweden and I applied for a visa. It was months of waiting and a maze of paperwork and bureaucracy before it was granted. Then the day came that I was able to go.
After a thirty-hour trip filled with thoughts of the moment I would see Rasmus again I finally arrived, my chest knotted to the point where I could barely inhale and the lump in my throat felt like the size of a basketball. I walked through the airport doors and found him, his bright eyes meeting mine from across the arrivals hall. The grin that spread across my lips was uncontrollable and when I reached him he didn’t let me out of his arms for hours, kissing me, gazing at me like I was the most precious thing in the world. Rasmus was my constant and only companion for those first cold months. I was a child lost in an alien place and when I wasn’t with him I was scared. Living in a new country with a new language away from the support of my family and friends was harder than I had thought. It would have been easy to give up and just go home but I was so determined to stay by his side so I knew I had to make it work. I used to wake during the night in a panic after dreaming that I was back in Australia, a wave of relief washed over me as I looked to Rasmus sleeping by my side and I told myself that I never had to leave him again.
After I started learning the language I found work and then the summer arrived and I felt I could breath again. The days were bright and the sun was warm and it settled me. But something was missing still. As the months had passed Rasmus and I grew and planned. In our messy apartment during the early hours of the morning we fantasized about our future children, our home, all the things we would do. I had only just turned twenty and the thought of children seemed a lifetime away but not when Rasmus described them. His eyes lit up as he spoke of tiny feet running through our apartment, baby smiles, all the places we would take them, all the things we would teach these exceptional little beings. They would be a part of us and we would love them together. The thought grew and grew and by the end of the summer I found out I was expecting. It was the most astonishing, exciting, magical news that ever reached me. I felt like I was living in a dream world that was too perfect to be real.
The months that followed were so painstakingly slow I could barely stand it. Each day was bringing me closer to meeting my baby but each day seemed to last a lifetime. The time broke slightly as Christmas and the New Year came, and Rasmus and I were married just before my birthday. My little belly that I so desperately wanted to be big, sat barely visible beneath my wedding dress. I was so happy I thought I would burst.
My son August was born in Spring with my mother and Rasmus by my side. After an uplifting and beautiful birth I held my tiny baby in my arms for the first time. It was indescribable. Rasmus was in awe, a beautiful, young father with tears of joy rolling freely down his cheeks. I felt like a goddess as I looked down at my precious creation eagerly drinking from me. Rasmus sat by my side watching with eyes full of love and wonder.
The first months of August’s life were a summery bliss. He was a relaxed and happy baby and we took him everywhere with us; dinner parties, road trips, weekends away. We went to Paris and spent time in different parts of Sweden. We felt young, free and beautiful and yet grounded by this tiny boy of ours. As the summer past once more and the Autumn settled so did reality. It was hard for me to stay at home for long days as the weather turned cold and Rasmus had to be away so much. I had only gotten to know a few people so I was often lonely and restless. At nights we heard of the adventures our young friends were on. I imagined blurry, drunken nights, flashing lights, loud music and kissing in dark corners. It seemed a world away, I felt old suddenly but still so young and it was frustrating. It took time to let that part of me go, but I realised that even if I had been given the chance to run off, to go crazy, I would have chosen to stay. My maternal instinct was strong and I knew that I wanted to be putting all my love and energy into my wonderful child.
I have evolved as August has grown and I see life in a new light. Being a mother has remained the most important part, especially in these first precious years. I am so grateful to be a mother early in my adult life and to be experiencing it in a new part of the world with the boy of my dreams. I have already learnt and loved more than I thought possible and the future glows with bright possibilities and all the goodness in the world. In two months my second child will arrive and we are beyond excited.
Words & Photography | Alyxandra hammar
Blog | North South Menology