Written and photographed by Dani Moreno
When I think about the first time I fell in love, I think about how easy it was, and how impossible it could have been. See, people from different generations never stop arguing about how certain things used to be easier, or how they used to be way more difficult. They can never decide. Love is one of those things. There used to be fewer expectations, but also less freedom. Maybe letters were more romantic, but texting is more practical. Well, what I think is that twenty, fifty, or a hundred years ago, I would have never met Alejandra, and our love would have been impossible.
Grandmothers everywhere would be scandalized to hear this, but I met the woman I fell in love with… online. You’d be surprised by how intense and precious simple words can be when there is no option to reach out and simply hold hands. It was, literally, not an option. Because, here’s the catch of our story; we had the entire Atlantic ocean in between us. We were both teenagers; we lacked the money or independence to make that trip without our parents’ support. Parents that would have immediately frowned in confusion and disapproval at the idea of trusting someone you’ve only seen on a screen. Different generations, different opinions.
So, we were just friends. Just friends for years. Just friends even if every day I woke up to a sweet text from her, and every night she went to bed with a loving message from me. Just friends, even if we told each other everything. Every secret, every problem, every moment of joy. We cried together, we laughed together. We spoke the same language, but we teased each other for our different accents.
I bragged about having nice weather the whole year, she made me jealous with tales about cozy winters and exhilarating summers. We were always there for each other, just one text message away. And then, the miracle happened, I got a scholarship that would take me to Madrid.
Now, as I said, we were totally just friends, and so we felt under the obligation of acting casual, nonchalant, like completely platonic friends that hadn’t been dying to meet each other for years. So, I got my own place, she didn’t pick me up at the airport, and we planned to meet calmly the next day. But, the thing is, I didn’t plan to meet her over the internet, I didn’t plan to catch feelings, and I certainly didn’t plan to need her so badly as soon as I stepped out of the plane.
I tried to settle down in my new home, but I grew restless and went out that same day to explore my surroundings, or so I tried. As soon as I was on the street, I found a particularly pretty leaf on the ground. “So this is what you call autumn, huh?” I texted her along with a picture. This was something we used to do all the time, just sharing our days in whatever ways we could. But now, would things be any different?
I was nervous; I didn’t want her to think I was too desperate to see her. However, I was surprised and overjoyed when she replied with a picture too. The message was playful, nothing extraordinary, but there was a trick in the picture. There was a street sign right behind her. I remember my heart skipping a beat when I got the message.
I remember I started asking for directions like a crazy person. I didn’t have time to figure out the public transport system; I pretty much started running. The entire time we continued to exchange casual pictures with more sneaky clues of where exactly we were, closer and closer with each picture. I had crossed the entire ocean. I just needed to find one street, and I was finally, finally there. It was better than any dream. It was perfect. It was also very fitting for us because, once again, it happened to be our phones that brought us together.
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