To that boy across the street

Rachel ArandillaRachel Arandilla
Postcard Travels

I FIRST saw him from across the streets somewhere in Pyramides, Paris. He already stood out with his tall frame, moreover that he was looking at me with a big, boyish grin on his face, which made me blush and pretend I was preoccupied with staring at my shoes. When the green light flashed, I crossed the street – he didn’t. Instead he waited for me on the other end.

I would like to advice other girls, ‘don’t talk to strangers,’ even if they were pretty cute… but I’d be a hypocrite if I told you that. The best and craziest people I know are those I met sporadically, the types of stories I would enjoy telling my son in the future.

Postcard-PrettyHe said he thought I was really cute. So our first meeting led to a date, which was constantly interrupted by well-meaning girlfriends who called every 30 minutes to check if I was still alive. Despite the language barrier, we talked for hours on end. Several Google Translate searches later, the initial two-hour date turned to coffee in the morning.

Most of the guys I’ve known are world-class travelers, adventurers, thrill-seekers, with amazing stories of Nepal, Mongolia, Siberia or Afghanistan–incredible stories on how they quit their jobs to embark on their dreams to travel the world… this guy was nothing like that. He was “different” from what I’m accustomed to – a small-town French boy who has never been anywhere. He dreams of traveling but doesn’t even have a passport, and the closest thing for him is to hear my stories of far-off lands. He talks affectionately about his job, maintains a humble and private practice independently, is a sportsman and a homebody.

Basically, everything that I’m not.

He was stable as a rock, as I am as impulsive and slippery. He was as humble as much as I loved humblebragging…

Most of all, I admired his honesty. He didn’t say anything remarkable to try to impress me. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a geek and so much un-cooler than me (haha). For the rest of the holiday we were smitten like high school sweethearts.

But distance kills, particularly a 10,000-kilometer one. It was no longer enough to meet each other on the other side of the road. The pressures of my impending GMAT and the future of business school told me that it was time to move on.

As little as you want to write when you’re happy, that’s how much you write when you’re broken. Doomed romances maketh a writer. We live for the misery.

I still sometimes wished I missed that flight, but I knew I would ruin it if I did. Better to part with a beautiful, somewhat bittersweet memory than to push something prematurely. We can’t lose the magic of a perfect, “could’ve-been” story. The plot made for the movies.

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