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How I Met Your Father — Chapter 2

Carlotta Cerri

If you missed the first episode, you can read it here.

I guess that such a statement—a guy telling a girl out—would leave anybody a bit speechless. Not me. I looked straight into his blue eyes and the only word that came out of my mouth was, Yes. I actually hadn’t even considered the possibility of anything like this happening—after all, I was leaving back to Italy in less than two weeks and I did have a boyfriend—but nothing had ever felt clearer and more right, and I wasn’t willing to ignore that feeling.

It was Monday, Alex told me he’d be out of town for a couple of days and to meet him on Friday at 1pm in front of La Pesquera, a restaurant by the beach promenade. I now realise I was just saying yes to whatever he suggested; had he asked me to move in with him, we’d have probably lived together by that same night—it didn’t actually take much longer, but that’s another story.

It rained the whole week—the usual and now very much appreciated rainy week in Marbella—and that Friday the sky was grey and the paseo looked more like a canyon of mud and puddles. Back then I wasn’t a big fan of dark, rainy days as they made me, too, feel dark and rainy, so all the enthusiasm I felt back on Monday had slowly faded, leaving place in my mind for a myriad of doubts, uncertainties and questions about right and wrong.

And of course, I had to lie—or rather omit the truth—to Boyfriend, who somehow seemed to be calling me a million more times a day… was he onto something or was it just my feeling guilty? To top it all, I didn’t even have any clothes or shoes that were compatible with rain and I hate hate hate not being dressed appropriately for special occasions.

Is the universe sending me signs? Is this wrong? Should I just bail? Or should I follow my first instinct? After all, this is just a simple, innocent lunch with a guy that can be just a friend, right? I mean, I’m leaving so soon, it can’t possibly go anywhere. Or can it? Is it maybe not that innocent? Should I care? Or should I just go with my guts?

I debated with my inner self all morning, but for one reason or the other I could always talk myself into believing this lunch was right—a sign that I was clearly willing to let my feelings overcome my sense of right and wrong.

And so I did. I deceived that sinister feeling that everything around me was saying “don’t show up!” by putting on colourful clothes to compensate the greyness outside, and wearing comfortable sandals to skip through the puddles. And I left to meet him.

It was awkward. That moment when you see each other—two strangers going out for lunch—and you know that you have to walk towards each other and find something (possibly smart) to say. Butterflies start flying frantically in your stomach and your mouth suddenly becomes as dry as a bone. Awkwardly beautiful—probably the part I miss the most about dating.

But we did well. We probably mumbled something about the weather and then he told me he hoped I was up for walking, because he was taking me to Terra Sana, 15 minutes away in the Marbella harbour (comfortable sandals: score!). We hit it off. Suddenly, I couldn’t care less if I wasn’t appropriately dressed, if it was right or wrong, if the universe was trying to be a party pooper… I didn’t even care that my English wasn’t perfect, which I was generally very self-conscious about.

I felt relaxed and carefree—and something else that I hadn’t felt in a long time: my cheeks getting warm (and surely rosy) when he looked at me.

We had lunch, we talked and talked and talked about everything and nothing, he showed me his brand-new first generation iPhone (it was just awesome, I felt like a little girl holding a new toy), and then he walked me back to the restaurant where I had to start my evening shift. We exchanged phone numbers and decided to text each other to meet again soon.

I felt 15 again and this stranger was all I could seem to think about night and day. Only now I wasn’t free, Boyfriend was actually waiting for me back in Italy, and not only he was crazy about me, we had even planned to share an apartment with some friends for the next academic year. That’s almost like moving in together, for Pete’s sake!

I started listening to the feeble rational voice in my head that I had ignored for the past few days. And oh boy, it had some good points: I was still trying to recover from my long relationship, I couldn’t let my friends down—they had looked for apartments all summer—I had to concentrate on my studies, and Alex would have been one of those long-distance relationships I never believed in. Maybe it was easier to leave things the way they were. I had to break it off before anything even started.

On Sunday morning I texted Alex something like “I’d really love to see you again, but I don’t think it’s right for me or you. It’s probably easier for both of us to leave things the way they are”, just way more confused and less well articulated—a clear reflection of my feelings. He came back to me, “Meet me at Guadalpin, I’m on my way”. Now, I did not expect that—even less to be getting ready and out of the door ten minutes later. But there I was, walking in my pink and black roses dress towards the Guadalpin hotel. After all, breaking up with him in person was the fair thing to do, I was going to keep it short and sweet, shake hands and say goodbye.

And then I saw him.

He came flying on his rollerblades, so tall and charming, his blond hair blowing in the breeze. He stopped right in front of me, with that sideways technique I had seen professional ice skaters do on TV. ”Sorry, I left in a rush and I don’t have my shoes with me”… How convenient,  I thought, he looks so damn sexy on his rollerblades!

We started walking (and rolling) around the neighbourhood, and I started explaining myself in an even more confusing way than any of my previous messages. My eyes were glued to the ground, and I couldn’t help but feeling like the words that came out of my mouth didn’t match my feelings at all, that all my rational explanations to push him away were just lies.

And then for just one second—a teeny tiny second—I looked up at his eyes, those dreamy blue eyes of his, my whole face started burning, the butterflies flying, my hands shaking, my knees weakening, my heart felt like it wanted to come out of my chest and shout at the top of its voice. And so for just another second—another teeny tiny second—I listened to it: I went on my tippy toes, I put my arms around his shoulders and kissed him passionately.

A few days later we were living together, but again, that’s another story.

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