Anya’s Life Decision
The week flew by while Anya explored the country to the north south and west of Sydney in day journeys arriving exhausted to her room at the Ibis evenings. She was amazed at the range of cultures that had made Australia their home now and was beginning to warm to the thought of living here. She even made inquiries with Janet Farnsworth as to the possibility of her getting a job with them if she decided to return to this country with a residence permit in future. Janet assured her that there’d be a place for her managing one of their many branches should she ever decide to do that and that they’d support any application she may make for a residence permit guaranteeing her a job. With each passing day the idea became more appealing. Being so far away from Ireland may help her with the terrible memories she had of her experience in the village she was born in.
Alan confirmed he’d been granted leave and ticketing arrangements were confirmed with Zenith. Anya made the trip into the city to visit Zenith, settled the account and collected itinerary and tickets. They’d be heading for Cairns and the hinterland on the first leg of their journey and would spend two weeks exploring the Great Barrier Reef learning to explore reefs in their dive suits and relaxing on the white sands of the islands. Then they’d travel south to explore the beaches of the Sunshine and Gold Coast tourist traps with hiking in rainforests. Back in Sydney they headed south by road to explore the south of the continent wending their way through the coastal roads to Adelaide where they turned their rental car in for the rail trip over the Nullarbor Plains to Perth. They flew to Darwin to the north and explored the tribal lands on tours to learn about the culture of these earliest settlers in Australia. Exploring the waterways of the north was breathtaking though Anya almost had a heart attack when a gigantic crocodile emerged from the water to her height level to view the contents of the boat. They caught the Ghan train back to Adelaide exploring the red center of Australia and settlements along the way.
In all the weeks they were together Alan was careful not to make advances to this woman he was so obsessed with remembering the struggles she had relating to men because of the horrors she’d experienced as a girl. He realized the initiatives would have to come from her as she learned to trust him. He was gratified when she’d take his arm voluntarily and stand close to him so he could smell the fragrance of her perfume. It was natural for her to take his hand now as they walked together but still, he held himself in restraint.
Anya’s special request was reserved for last. The five-day round trip to Coober Pedy by four-wheel drive tour from Adelaide. Alan wondered if both were up to that as it would not be as comfortable as what they’d experienced in their travels to this date. But while Alan didn’t relish roughing it on the trip Anya embraced it all with enthusiasm. She loved the trip. Loved staying in an underground hotel and loved exploring the mines. She paused as they inspected the underground church and turned to Alan. If I ever got married, I’d like to do it right here Alan.
Alan’s heart leapt within him. When he first met her, it would have been the furthest thing from her mind after her experiences in youth that had led to a mistrust of all men. But she’d possibly consider marriage now? His emotions exploded in an involuntary outburst.
“Anya Dennis, will you marry me?”
Anya turned to him in surprise. Her intellect still held reservations. She was from Dublin and not a citizen of his country. She had these ghosts from the past that could work against a successful marriage to a man. How could this possibly work out? But then her heart took over. She reached for his hand and searched his face. What she saw there was stability, loyalty, and love. She could trust this man.
“Yes Alan, yes!”
“If I can arrange it now, would you be prepared to do it today?”
She nodded happily and Alan and the tour guide went to find out how this dream could become a reality. Within an hour they’d located someone with the government authority to confirm a marriage and produce documentation provided evidence could be produced to show the bona fides of each party to the marriage. They were first directed to a cave workshop where all kind of jewelry was constructed, Anya gasped at the workmanship of all the jewelry being constructed there mostly with opal settings but the husband-and-wife team there had a selection of gold wedding rings too and she selected one with unique engravings. She also selected opal bracelets and earrings while Alan looked on happily as he paid the bill. Then it was back to the church where the wedding was performed by a celebrant and the register signed. The wedding certificate was handed to Anya who kissed it. She recalled the conclusion of the celebration when Alan kissed her for the first time. She melted in his embrace. Her heart was entwined in his forever now and she luxuriated in his touch and wanted it to never end.
That evening they shared a bed for the first time and delighted in each other. Each were irritated with the tour guide when he called to tell them he was ready for the return trip to Adelaide. Anya held on to Alan all the way back oblivious to the country they were passing through or the rigors of the journey.
From Adelaide they flew back to Sydney and Anya moved into the bachelor pad at Castle Hill with Alan content despite the cramped conditions. For the remaining time of Alan’s leave they sought a home to buy in that area and eventually settled on one in a quiet neighborhood not far from the Castle Hill mall with all its conveniences. Alan had enough for the down payment and was able to secure a bank loan for the balance. When Anya returned to Dublin, she’d dispose of her apartment, and they’d be able to pay the bank the balance, so they’d start life together debt free. They spent the next week buying furniture of their choice to set up in their new home.
Conor and Mary were delighted at the news of their marriage and arranged for the hotel where Irish met to cater for a surprise party in honor of Alan and Anya. Anya felt accepted and could hardly wait to get her resident permit so she could return to be with her husband.
When Alan’s leave ended, he took Anya to the airport for her return to Dublin. She’d make application in the Australian High Commission for a residence and work permit in the light of her marriage. Each cried as they held onto each other until the final gate call was given.
As time went by waiting for permissions to be granted for her return Anya wound up her work and disposed of her assets being assured by Janet, she had a job waiting in management as soon as she returned to Australia.
They day finally came for her return. While it happened to be Alan’s day off when she arrived, he was there at the counter waiting to shepherd her to a desk where a friend of his would process her documents which all proved to be in order. Those at the immigration desks had been alerted their work mate was to meet his bride that day so when they saw him run to meet her and lock in embrace for several minutes before conducting her to the desk, they paused to applaud to the amusement of those travelers waiting to be processed.
Alan rushed her through customs and down to the parking lot reserved for workers at the airport. She held onto him while he negotiated through traffic until they reached the suburbs where traffic was less and eventually their own home at Castle Hill. Alan raced to open the front door and came around to sweep her into his arms and carry her over the threshold and place her on the lounge.
Anya once again jet lagging laughed. “Is this going to be a habit? I think I could get used to it. Forget the luggage you can get it later; I think we have some things to catch up on right now.”
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