I still remember the last time I saw her.
She drove me to a local bus station and left me to find my way back to Paris. She glanced back for a split second and drove off as I stood in the middle of the road waving her goodbye. I was now all alone in a country completely foreign to me; waiting for the next bus to take me back to Paris with only a backpack full of my belongings and a plane ticket back to the US.
I fucked up.
She and I met by chance while swiping through the dating app, Tinder. She was an au pair from France looking to make new friends while on her stay in the US- I was just looking to get laid. Neither of us was looking for any sort of commitment since our time together was limited; she was only staying in the US for a year before going back home.
Fortunately, life never goes as planned.
In our late night adventures driving around, singing along to Young the Giant
In our road trips to little restaurants hunting for pizza bigger than our heads
In our hikes through random forests getting lost in nature or drunkenly stumbling out of bars late into the night
In each other’s presence, spilling our deepest thoughts and ideas or sitting together in silence
We fell for each other.
We fell for each other but wouldn’t admit to it because we knew it was all temporary; that we would only have each other for a brief moment in time before having to go our own ways. It wasn’t until her final day, after dropping her off for the last time that I grew the balls and told her my feelings and she told me hers.
Uh, I think I love you.
She went back home to France.
I went back to living my life.
We would try and talk daily, telling each other what we were doing and how things were, that we miss each other and can’t wait to go out again; holding onto the belief that we’d see each other again one day.
Winter break was coming up and I had a month off for classes. Wanting to travel and see the world, I immediately talked to her and told her the news- I was going to come visit her in France. Neither of could’ve been more excited and happier. I purchased the plane ticket as the semester started and slowly counted the days until December.
Unfortunately, life never goes as planned.
As the days went by we adjusted ourselves to our new lives. Work, school, and other responsibilities became our daily routine, resulting in us talking less and less. The 6 hour time difference didn’t help much either. The countdown till us reuniting was going down every day along with our communication. We were losing touch with each other and had to fix it. In an effort to hang on to whatever hope we could and keep things alive we decided to try and consider ourselves in a real relationship, boyfriend, and girlfriend- brushing aside the notion that long distance doesn’t work and that we were the special exemption.
Feelings don’t last forever.
Things were starting to look up
We were talking regularly and the day till we saw each other again got closer and closer. I also landed a new gig bartending at this Tequila restaurant making significantly more money but also working a lot more hours. That’s also where things took a turn; more hours worked meant less time spent on her. I justified it as a small sacrifice to make sure I could fund my month long trip away.
That’s also where I met her.
She was just a friendly coworker at first. We would talk during our shift and joke around to make the night go by easier. One conversation turned to another and slowly another as we got to know each other. We started to casually go out for drinks after shifts and somewhere within one of those empty bottles, we hooked up.
She and I were only sending each other one or two messages a day at this point-
“good morning, hope you enjoy your day”
“hey, babe hope you had a good day, goodnight. love you”
My feelings for her started to grow weaker and weaker, diminishing with every passing day only to be found within her. She was different; a calm hippie soul that believed in the stars and life. She saw the world with an innocence that radiated warmly towards everyone. A cute yogi that was looking to find herself; getting lost in her practice and spirituality, something I find myself doing often. Somewhere in her eyes, I saw the pieces of myself that I was trying to fix- I started to like her.
I found myself confused and lost; not knowing how I really felt about anything anymore.
What was I getting myself into?
Is this the right thing to do?
All these thoughts plagued my head up until I landed in France. I got off the terminal, collected my bags and waited for her anxiously. Headphones in I sat slumped in my seat, tired from the flight but too excited to sleep and that’s when I saw her.
She looked just as beautiful as the first time I saw her. With a simple glance at her big brown eyes, all the fleeting feelings and memories of our adventures came flooding back to me. I fell in love with her all over, everything naturally finding itself again as if nothing had changed.
We traveled around France together, going to cute little cafes and eating crepes and pasta. We walked around all night holding hands, going from one bar to another, refusing to let go of each other even for the slightest moment. We talked about our lives and our wishes, our thoughts, and our hopes.
Things were bliss up until the last week of my stay with her. That’s when she found out the truth.
We were planning a trip to Paris to spend our last couple days together. I gave her my phone to find some AirBnbs we could stay in. She went through my phone and read my conversations with her, saw the way I felt.
Without hesitation, she told me to pack my bags and “Get the fuck out.”
And that was farewell.
I’m not writing this as a way of justifying what I did; by no means is cheating ever okay. It’s more so a way to share an experience from my life- one that has been the most impactful and as shitty as it was, something I am grateful for getting a chance to experience.
This was my first relationship and the one thing I learned is that they are blissful just as much as they are difficult. I hope everyone that reads this takes a moment to truly be grateful for their significant other, and take extra care to show them the love they deserve.