Prologue

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One day I woke up, walked out on my job, and moved to a different continent.

Once in awhile we all wake up and think “fuck this!” yet we move on and get our asses to work.

I didn’t get my ass to work that day.

There is something about a terrible breakup and realizing that someone you were in love with was cheating on you. You wake up with a special kind of bitterness. This wasn’t some kind of “girl power” moment either so I’m not going to paint it that way.

I wallowed in self pity as I locked myself in my apartment for two weeks. I had to throw away the remaining bottle of wine I gave myself as a gift. All the songs on the radio reminded me of him, all of the objects in my home somehow brought back memories, and I couldn’t go for a walk without wanting to hit every couple in the face that crossed paths.

It was a decision made after endless hours of ugly crying and refreshing his Facebook page. Everyone started to feel sorry for me, and sometime after devouring too many Lindt chocolates (damn those were good) I started feeling sorry for myself.

When I gave Tony my two weeks notice, he smiled, seemingly unsurprised. He told me to give him a call if I needed anything. He probably just wanted a quick shag.

I decided I would start with the language course. After all, I had studied Spanish at college so I wouldn’t have too rough of a time understanding how to get taxi, perhaps renting out a small place, and eventually looking for a job.

I sat next to my window and looked down at the people walking by. Two girls walking to school wearing matching pink oversized backpacks. An eldery man with his over-eager French bulldog going for a walk. A middle aged couple holding hands. For fucks sake, another couple.

This isn’t going to be like one of those movies where a sad woman moves abroad and lives a life of luxury, meets tons of attractive men and “finds herself”.

I stood on a chair in order to fetch the dusty suitcase that was propped on top of my wardrobe.

This is a story of a woman who made a terribly impulsive decision (as I’m known to do) and moved to a country with no backup plan, a considerable amount of credit card debt, and difficulty finding her keys let alone some kind of personal realization.

There were quite a few attractive men though.

The one about the roadtrip

I don’t want you to become a story, a memory I recall about my crazy twenties.

You’re in the driver’s seat next to me and the windows are open. You have a sly grin on your face because you know you’re annoying me with your singing. Your dark hair has recently been cut, exposing the tanned skin on your neck that I notice when I slide my palm around it. It’s August in northern Italy, so the streets are completely empty, as everyone has made a mad dash for the sea. No one will notice if you drive a little faster – since the road ahead of us is completely empty.

We’re on our way to some small town 200km away on the coast. I convinced you to go after I read about it last week. I convince you to do a lot of things, it seems. Maybe it’s because you know that a few weeks from now, you might never see me again – so you’re trying to memorize every detail of my face, every reaction, every moment that we spend together in this hot car – or maybe it’s just me.

We stop at a ice cream shop, gelateria, because thanks to you, I’ve also developed an addiction to the myriad of flavors begging us to have a taste. We always choose the same. I’ve memorized your order, and you know mine. If we always choose what we’re comfortable with, why did we choose one another?

I don’t want to find a photo album 20 years from now, with this trip documented on the inside of it. I don’t want you to be a story I tell my kids one day…”when I was your age, I was in love with this incredibly handsome guy…”

I don’t want this to fade into nothing.

I’m at a crossroads between a career and love, and the two things happen to have a body of water in between. Unfortunately that body of water is the Atlantic Ocean.

So what if I choose the irrational option?  The stupid girl who stayed for love. The one that gives us one more road trip, one more ice cream, and one more horrible rendition of your favorite song on the radio.

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The one where you fall in love.

I slammed the door so hard that the picture on the wall next to it began to shake. It was the same old story, you find someone you think is great, but there’s always a catch. This time, the catch wasn’t so much a bad habit or a series of arguments, it was another person. A beautiful person that won everybody over within the first 5 seconds of every conversation. Statistically, it takes a person 2 minutes to form an opinion about a new acquaintance. In her case, you’d be swooning from the start. So how could I blame him? Besides, he was my roommate and we’d broken the roommate bible. So why was I taking it so personally?

I couldn’t be the bigger person. I didn’t want to share a cab with him and his little lovebird because he was making the biggest mistake in his life by choosing her, and he knew it.

I rushed off to take the bus with the rest of the group heading for the match, and that’s when I saw you.

You hear all these stories about love at first sight, the butterflies, the deer in headlights look you get when you see your so-called soulmate – but I felt nothing.

In fact, I didn’t even make eye contact because I was too pissed off and loathing in my pool of self pity. I had a chat with you and your friends, and didn’t think about you afterward. I remember thinking you had nice eyes, more than nice…intimidating. It later became one of my favorite things about you. Remember?

It wasn’t that moment that got me though. It was later on, in the pizzeria where we went that one time after I cancelled and rescheduled 3 times within an hour. You were telling me a story and you were speaking Spanish with an Italian accent because even though we were from two different continents it was the language we had in common. You were exaggerating every character in the story, stereotypically using your hands to describe your feelings- using a chair as a prop, and everyone in the restaurant was looking at you like you were nuts, but you had us all laughing at our table.

You were full of life, and that’s what got me. You had some sort of fire that hypnotized me from that moment on and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away, no matter how hard I tried.

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