Where have you been all my life?

I recently moved to Madrid from Latin America for college only to find something bigger than me. Yes, the city is beautiful, I enjoy my major, my new acquaintances, and all of the extracurricular activities. However the best of it all, is that I met someone who makes me really ponder about life. Let me tell you how this person has made a huge impact in me (without him knowing so).

As a freshman international student I feel completely lost everywhere, at all times. So in order to find myself, I started attending each and every conference there was in campus. I realized that in every one of them was this short guy, with curly brown hair, brown eyes, who wore plaid shirts beneath cozy oversized cardigans and always had something to say… I saw him everywhere, and I intentionally stared at him long enough for him to notice me and smile at me quickly. I started wondering what was his name, his major, and why was he everywhere. As silly as it sounds, I started imagining we knew each other for the longest time, I caught myself thinking about him without even knowing him, there was just something really interesting about him. Really, it felt like I’d known him before.

One day, he was directing a small gathering in which Spain’s political situation was being discussed and I, as usually, was completely lost. So afterwards I asked him all the questions I had about the subject, but soon enough we went off-topic and started getting to know each other. He told me he was a journalism major senior, he told me he had seen me in a lot of conferences —he had noticed me!—, we talked about our favorite movies, our favorite authors… I told him how much I love literature, that I write poems and short stories, he seemed surprised and asked me out so he could read them. We spent until almost 2 a.m just talking.

Only two days later he texted me to arrange our ‘date’ (I don’t know if I should call it that), we were supposed to meet at Tribunal subway station and he was going to take me to an awesome place in Barrio Malasaña. The place he had in mind opened at 18:00, and we arrived at 17:00, so we had an hour to spare. We walked and talked, he fulfilled me with history about Madrid and explained local terms as I told him about my traditions. We went into a bookstore that was also a café, he opened up to me as much as I did to him as we had some coffee. I showed him a couple of my poems and told him the motifs behind them, he also told me something he said he doesn’t usually share with anyone…

At 18:30 we headed to the bar he had initially planned taking me to. At this point of the ‘date’, I had found his company delightful; he made being around him so easy, he made wonderful, well-pointed questions. I could see he was eager to know me better. That stirred something in me.

He also had such a deep insight to every aspect about life, needless to say, I find him extremely inspiring. Besides, he’s such an accomplished person (I won’t give out details about this to make the story short), but I love how humble he is about it.

Until that point we hadn’t had any awkward moments. Not to spoil the story, but thankfully, we didn’t have any awkward moments at all.

The bar’s name (Ojalá) translates to ‘hopefully’ —which I find beautiful—had an awesome artificial beach in the underground level. As we waited for our table, we read a couple of each other’s poems and I asked him about the story behind one, as he did too. In comparison to his story, mine was quite recent and I hadn’t shared it completely to anyone but my own writing. So a few moments after I started talking about it, I couldn’t help breaking out in tears. I was so embarrassed, I thought I had ruined the evening. However, he hugged me, handed me a kleenex, and immediately changed the subject. We moved past it like it never happened. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother him, even though it was the biggest deal for me, he looked at it as something normal.

The rest of the evening we spent talking about music, family, the city…Overall, it ended very well. I couldn’t leave without thanking him for the evening.

After we said goodbye, I realized that with him, something had happened. He didn’t notice, but he made me feel valuable. His questions and his will to listen to me, to make me laugh despite the tears; his politeness, his innocent jokes, his way of trying to imitate my accent as a way of flattering it, the way he stretched out his arms to ask me for a hug, was eye-opening for me.

I felt so far away from the person I used to be, an insecure girl, who didn’t seem to have a place in the world, who didn’t take herself seriously because she thought no one else did, a small town girl who couldn’t see beyond that... With him, I could see myself as the person I am supposed to be. In short, he brought out the real me. He made me feel like someone else besides me, cared. His company made me ponder, it impacted me deeply, because not on a daily basis do I feel like that, to be honest I hadn’t felt like that in a long time (not to say for the first time ever).

I feel with the greatest conviction, that I needed to meet him at this given point in my life as a part of a quest of finding myself. I needed that, I needed him, I still do. It’s like I am looking for sense in my life and somehow he leads me closer to it.

I wish there was more people like him. ‘Ojalá’.

Read the follow-up stories to this one:

Now that we’re in each other’s life

Part three