It might not have been everything I wanted but it turned out to be everything I needed. When a young girl travels abroad something that graces every bucket-list is finding love. Whether that is a romantic French boy, a dark Spanish lover, or a masculine sensitive Irishmen, we all know we dream about it.Them whisking us away to the best tourist spots and the even better holes in the wall. Ending up in a cafe somewhere just talking and laughing, bathing in our goofy accents. At least for me when I hear the best way to really understand a culture and a language is to immerse yourself my mind always drifts to being on the arm of a native, surrounded by his closest friends and family, almost a wallflower if you will.
How can we not paint this picture of summer romance, a story we will tell our grandchild when they ask about what we did when we were growing up, when on the 9 hour plane rides we are forced to watch movies like P.S. I Love You, or the Sundance winner for best film Like Crazy (I highly recommend it!). We have it drilled into our heads that some of the best love can be found abroad because it is short and sweet but timed and intense.
Then at some point we have to face the music. How likely is it that we run into some extremely handsome man a few years our elder on the metro and he just happens to be so caught up in our beauty that he makes a move (a subtle one of course) and starts to chat us up only to later invite us to a classy dinner party at his delicate yet modern apartment.
For me I might have had these grand illusions but they were swimming somewhere in the back (way back) of my mind. No one wants to face the disappointment when the fairy tale doesn’t come true and we all know it is a one in a million chance.Something I learned though this summer about short term love abroad, it doesn’t have to be as intensive and emotional as the movies to be right. It really doesn’t even have to be love for it to be just perfect.
This is where my story comes in.
Met him at a karaoke bar through some American friends who had met his friends at a club the night before. We were both plus ones at the karaoke bar so naturally we were talking nothing special, no love at first sight not even lust at first sight just another normal night. As the drinks were flowing, so were the conversations and the dancing. I found myself outside smoking a cig with him when I mentioned I had to go to the bathroom. That was his chance to make his move if he was going to and he did. He said “I have to go too, I will come with you” and we went back inside and downstairs, separate stalls (I all not going 50 shades of grey here on you). I came out to wash my hands and he was doing the same and he turned to me and landed a soft kiss right on my lips. After a little makeout sess we headed back upstairs acting as if nothing happened.
I took him home with me that night, it was a Wednesday mind you so I did have to wake up in the morning at 8 and drag myself to work. I thought oh he looks so peaceful sleeping I will just let him sleep. About ten minutes after I left my place I thought that was probably the dumbest move I could make. My macbook, my passport, my camera, the apartment itself. The list of things that could have been stolen or ruined was scrolling on repeat in my brain. Why would I just leave a stranger in my place? Let’s just say the clock at work was mocking my idiotic-ness by ticking as slow as possible. I got home and everything was just as I left it except cute boy form the bar was gone. I didn’t expect to hear from him or see him again, because I didn’t even think we exchanged numbers. We did. He texted me later that day.
He started coming over on the weekends. Even though I wanted him to take me to the Eiffel Tower and out to dinner I didn’t mind his honesty. He even said (in his broken yet cute English) if he would have done everything I wanted him too like show me around Paris I would have fallen in love with him and that was not practical. He was so right. We kept it simple no pet names, no obligatory dates, no definite plans (he did take me to Normandy for the weekend, a story for another time).
So what was so perfect about this almost non-existent relationship? Was it his laugh? The way his said the word “promise” in English? or was it his sheer honesty? No games, no bullshit, no expectations just me and him.
His English was bad enough that any deep conversation would be too hard to sort though. He did tell me his dad passed away of lung cancer and all about the girl he feel in love with two years ago but lost. We had the perfect balance between easy going and serious.It just felt right. I wasn’t in love with him but I did love him as a person.
On the last night I saw him, he said he wished he would have given me something so that I would always remember him. In my head I thought you gave me so much more then I could have asked for, you didn’t give me this perfect storybook summer love but what you gave me was real. It was friendship yes, but it was amazing.
Not only did I pick up some French swear words but I learned love and friendships don’t have to be anywhere close to how we picture them for it to be everything we need. It is amazing to me how a simple two month relationship with someone can really change the way you look at things. I think people try to force relationships into a mold they have created prior to the beginning and that is why nothing ever works out.
It might not have been everything I wanted but it turned out to be everything I needed.
And for that JP I thank you.