If ever the scene had been set, this was it.
A week in Paris. He is strikingly handsome with his classic Californian good looks and a smile that could melt butter, and I am probably at my physical peak, with wavy brown hair, bright blue eyes, and curves that could stop traffic.
Neither of us knew what to expect. After meeting on a humanitarian aid trip in Central America, there was clearly a connection between us that we had neither time nor opportunity to explore. The fact that he moved to Europe the day after our return left us to continue building our relationship online through email and chat.
So as I flew across the Atlantic to visit him during my vacation, the possibilities ran wildly through my head. Friends at home had inundated me with notions that Paris is the city of love, and we would be fools not to be swept away. Pessimism reared its head, too, taunting that I didn’t really know this man, and for all I knew he was actually a monstrous human being I would be stranded with for a week.
However, from the time I stepped off of the metro and jumped into his arms until the moment we tearfully said goodbyes at the same station, all speculation was forgotten and the natural flow of “us” prevailed.
There were no impassioned kisses or nights of passion. But there were hours of conversation under the glow of the Eiffel Tower. Barrels of laughter over inside jokes that will never makes sense to anyone but us. Tears over the deepest secrets and pains of our hearts. Comfortable silences that can only happen in the peace of trust. Speculation over the future, our dreams and fears. Confession of our fears and failures. And reassurances that we see each other beyond the facade and to the truth.
And as I returned to anxious friends waiting to hear stories of scandalous Parisian rendezvous, there seemed to be some hint of disappointment. No excitement, no scandal, no drama. As though I had missed out on something.
Although our relationship did not progress or digress as I imagined or feared, I couldn’t have written a more perfect story. No, I didn’t walk away with a lover, but I now have a friend who is dear to my heart. Who I shared an amazing week with, who holds many of my precious memories, and who knows me and loves me. How could I hope for more?
One moment that resonates with me is of my last night in Paris. Exhausted from a full week and dreading my departure the next morning, we collapsed onto the bed and looked at each other. His bright blue eyes softly pierced mine with a reassuring knowledge that he knew me, and I knew him, and this was good. As we lay there, I knew that this was right, and what was meant to grow between us had.
“Just friends” is not a disappointment. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need.