Previously, on How I met Your Father:
After three months of staring at me while waiting for his pizza, Alex finds the courage to ask for my name and “tell” me out—“we should have lunch together”, he says. On the 21st of September 2007 we have our first date. Two days later I write him a message—I’m torn, it’d be too difficult, the long distance and all—to which he replies by rollerblading all the way across town to meet me. He is determined not to let me go. That day we kiss for the first time.
We said goodbye on that Sunday afternoon, and on my way home I remember thinking how that kiss had made things pretty clear in my mind. I’m not going anywhere, this one’s a keeper.
A week later, I intentionally missed my flight home, and unorthodoxly moved in with him—Alex’s “obvious” solution to my rental contract ending and us wanting to spend some more time together before I flew back to Italy. In retrospect, moving in with a guy I had just met a week before does sound a bit foolish, maybe even a bit risky, but in my defence I’ll say this: when you know, you know.
Everything felt easy and spontaneous, so much that to this very day, I always encourage young lovers to move in together as soon as possible. Why wait? Especially if you’re not leaving at home anymore or you’re ready to move out, and you meet somebody who lights your fire and treats you right, move in together, spend every second of your free time together, eat together, watch loads of movies together, buy furniture together, share share share. Life is short.
My summer contract at the pizzeria had ended and I was living la dolce vita, writing, sun bathing and waiting for Alex to come home. My mind might play tricks on me after 10 years, but all I remember is rainbows and unicorns and perfection—the warmth of waking up next to each other every morning, the intimacy of cuddling in bed for hours before dawn, the beauty of starting the day sharing a homemade breakfast (he’ll keep making breakfast for me every morning for many, many years), and the anticipation of finally meeting again at the end of his working day.
I can’t remember a single moment of sorrow, an argument, a fight, a bad day—except when I had to call Boyfriend and break the news, of course; I hate break-ups, even when they’re good for you, there’s always crying, anger, resentment, guilt, and usually the “how can I get you back?” obsession by one of the two. Yeah, breaking up with Boyfriend—who was truly, madly, deeply in love with me—sucked.
But living with Alex was magical, like something I had never experienced before. It felt almost surreal. Like one of those too-good-to-be-true times of your life that are bound to end.
And in fact, it did end.
Soon, I had to move back to Italy, and graduate from university. Back to Torino, to classes, to student life. I wasn’t looking forward to it—the only two things that kept me going and positive were my two course mates Erika and Ludovica (hey, girls!), and the prospect of taking almost two years in one, finish all my exams in July, and move back to Marbella to write my final thesis.
For the next 10 months, Alex and I lived in two different countries, but we didn’t spend much time apart.
At the end of October he flew to Torino to help me look for an apartment of my own—quite a change from my previous one, where I shared a room with four other girls on two bunk beds.
At the end of November he made one of my teenager dreams come true: he probably thought he still had to impress me to keep me, so he took me to New York for my 22nd birthday, which is still one of my favourite, most mind-blowing memories of all time.
At the end of December, we spent our first Christmas together… with my family. At the time, I loved the idea, but in retrospect it might have been mean of me: this poor 22-year-old Finnish boy who didn’t speak any Italian yet, after only three months together, had to meet my whole family at once, and endure a traditional Italian Christmas at my grandma’s, where 80% of the people didn’t speak English, we sat at the dinner table for about 6 hours, and my grandma kept asking him about marriage and kids (!). If that’s not love, what is?
The next 7 months until July were a non-stop of back and forths—only physical ones, because our hearts were set—of Colbie Caillat, James Blunt and Jason Mraz, of night-long Skype calls, of uninterrupted studying of notions that are now long forgotten, of missing each other, of leaving and then meeting, and then leaving again.
And then the day came.
It was July 7th, 2008. Alex left Marbella at dawn and arrived to Torino the following day in a rental car. He had travelled across three countries to come and get me, my fair-skinned hero with dreamy, almond-shaped, blue eyes. We packed the car, buckled up my meter-tall, lifetime teddy friend Findus in the back seat, returned the keys to my apartment—and symbolically to my single, student, adolescent life—and left to Spain, across the Alps, and France, and all the way down to Marbella.
2000km and I’d be home—because it’s true what they say, that home is where your heart is. Another 2000km and Alex would have rescued me—because I now know I never needed rescuing more than that time of my life, when I was 22, about to get my useless degree which meant nothing in the real world, and with a blank slate in front of me.
Frightening and refreshing at the same time. I had never felt so good, and I thought I would never be happier.
Boy, was I wrong!
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