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Fourteen Years on the Run

What Being Together in Modern Times, Takes Star-crossed Lovers From Hostile States

Elena, Atlantic

Mine is a story of liberation. Not the kind you'll see written down in history. It's because this liberation is personal, it serves me. Not an ideology, an agenda, marketing, optics, or anyone else. It's not actually a bad thing, despite what I have been told.

I, and the person I love, are citizens of developed, enemy countries. For fourteen years we have had to fight for every moment we have together; running between third countries that let us both in. So far, there has been no country willing to grant us the same citizenship and recognize us as a family with safety and equality.

We've had the odds stacked firmly against us. But we survived hurricanes, pirates, uncertainty, isolation, catastrophic mechanical failure, lightning, crime, trauma and disease; entirely on our own, and often, thousands of kilometers from any other human being, or assistance. The big reveal in all this, is that by fighting for our lives and love over all these years, we found freedom!

Before my escape from Russia, I could never have imagined myself living the way I do now. I was convinced, nobody would willingly choose this life, and all I gave up to get it. One needs a country, a town, a fixed address to call home! It means living in constant fear of losing what can be taken, and submitting to the system and those around you. Over the years I've learned, it doesn't have to be that way. Life in exile isn't easy. At times, it seems unbearable, but Meg and I have chosen the freedom to be who we are and to determine our own lives over someone else's mandate.

I am a citizen of Russia. My partner is a citizen of Canada. The only way we can be together, is as tourists in the precious few countries that allow entry to both Canadians and Russians. We live between countries, knowing we always have to move on. As long as we're together, we have no right to belong anywhere. I no longer consider this way of life extraordinary. Our partners are not welcome in our home countries; this is a fact of life.

After the year-long, planet crossing run for our lives, I assumed our journey was over. Little did I know, it was only beginning! On the way to Canada, Meg and I became free. We weren't aware of it at the time, but every step we have taken since then, has been about holding onto that freedom, following our dreams, and staying true to ourselves!

If there is one thing I learned during our life together, it is that Meg and I will never stop being who we are, or doing what is right for us. We discovered, we need very little, aside from each other, and the freedom to find our own path. Everything else is simply a technicality to overcome. Nobody can take away our love for each other. Nobody can make us people we are not. And that, is freedom! That, is a lot. To me, it is everything!

If I could send a message to the people of the world, it would be that freedom is possible. Meg and I are proof of that. We love each other, and we relish every moment we have. Each day could be our last, but we're free, and we are in each other's arms.