I’m sitting at a small table outside a cafe in Italy. I’m drinking my expresso but only picking at my croissant because I’m too busy watching the young boys dribble the futbol around the Camp de’Fiori piazza to care about eating. I think about the many bottles of wine I have yet to open back at my villa, eventually it will be mid morning and I will open one – as has become my tradition before I start writing for the day. I glance at my phone thinking of taking a few pictures to text to my mother who brags to anyone about how brave and adventurous I have been over the past few weeks, but then I don’t because I realize the moment I’m in is uncapturable, lost to anyone but me.
I’m watching the rain fall outside a pub in London. I’m missing the familiar life back home but mostly I’m missing you. I stare at your postcard sent from somewhere in the mountains of Thailand and read over and over again how you can’t wait to meet up with me in Barcelona before the jolly men sitting next to me start singing and buying me pints and I join in and start to miss you less. My best friend tries to Facetime me but by that time I can barely feel my face and I’m all flushed. I text her that I’ll call her in a few days, that I’m having a blast, and that I can’t wait to come home and all of it’s true, except that I don’t ever want this time to end.
We’re holding hands while you point out the small artistic details in the Palau De La Musica Catalana. You’ve been here before and your excitement in showing me everything so that we also have these memories of traveling together make me love you even more. Back at the hotel I open an email from my editor who tells me my writing has never been better, how once I get back stateside we have to have a serious conversation about me freelancing and I’m flattered to think we’ve arrived at this point. I watch as you sleep from behind the glow of my computer screen because I’m just too inspired not to write at odd hours now. The clicking of my keyboard makes you smile, half conscience, as you motion for me to come to bed. When I do, you kiss me and tell me you love me and my world feels as beautiful as the sunset over the Turo de la Rovira.
I’m hugging my mother. She is so happy to see me back in the states that she is crying and telling me how different I look. We eat the dishes I learned to cook in Italy and drink wine from day until the next morning, pouring over every picture and moment – feeling, laughing and crying some more. She whines that next year it will be our turn and I agree because there is so much I still never saw. In this moment she is my best friend and every lesson she has ever taught me about taking chances, seeing the world, and being in love are all true and I love her for holding this vision of my life for me, even when I could not.
I’m calling my Dad as my closest friends and I dodge in and out of stores at the mall. He talks to me for almost an hour, which is a lot for him. I can hear pride in his voice, and a softness that has grown more prominent in ever phone conversation we have. After I’m done the group of women in my life – who are more like sisters than friends, we gossip about the romanic part of my travels. They let me gush about how amazing it is to be with a man who has grown with me so much over the past year. They smile and don’t fain any surprise when I tell them that we’re thinking of moving to Portland together because they genuinely want me to be happy. Later we all go out and drink and party without a care in the world for the many obligations waiting for us on the other side of the evening. That night we’re just girls again, living 25 like we’re 21- unapologetically.
I’m glowing, because everything in my life is better than I could have ever imagined. I’m not living off of some list, I’m living off of my own dreams. I’m not scared or nervous about the future. I’m not thinking about when he might propose or trying to deciding between writing and anything else I might want to do for a living. I’m applying to grad schools, but I know my success doesn’t hang on which one I get into. I dig out this piece and read it, shocked at how accurate I managed to get everything and then I smile, amazed that this is my life.