The world can sometimes feel like an endless pit of trash, but if there is one thing almost everyone can agree on, it is that falling in love feels nice. In this story, I wanted to capture just that: the butterflies, the euphoria, the rush of one of the most complicated yet vital parts of being human.
It’s winter in Orlando, Florida which to my surprise is slightly cooler than I had expected. I reach for my powder blue cardigan just in case and throw it over my shoulders like a preppy frat boy. I take one last look in the mirror, run my fingers through my hair, dab on some minty lip balm and make my way out towards the bus stop.
I know that I am slightly late, but I restrain from walking too fast at the risk of getting sweaty. As I approach the bus stop I catch glimpse of him sitting there with his nose buried towards his phone, I can feel my heart beating in my chest, somehow it is much more obvious than before. I pick up the pace to avoid an awkward catwalk and he jolts up to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. I pretend this isn't awkward for me, but I am only used to greeting family and older people by cheek, yet there is something homey about it that infatuates me.
We make our way towards the Epcot World showcase, strolling around transporting from Japan, to Morocco and then France where we stop and admire the Eiffel Tower. He looks at me and smiles as I gush with such an overwhelming happiness and tell him how much I would love to get lost in the streets of Paris. He laughs “Why Paris?” “ I know it’s so cliche, but the music, the food, the architecture, the history! It’s romance it’s hopeless and I like that” I close my eyes and pretend that I am there, and for a minute it feels real.
As the sun begins to set, so does the temperature. "Here, have my jacket'' he offers. And suddenly I feel warm. It seems that his old school charm has done the trick, and I can feel my cheeks flush an embarrassing hue of pink. "Thank you, but I came prepared!" I say as I untie my cardigan from my shoulders and slip it over my head, it's soft and fluffy, just like the moment.
Nearing the end of the showcase, we stop by the centre plaza where there stands a tall Christmas Tree, covered in bright lights and red and green baubles the size of bowling balls. We sit down on a stone bench just beside it. It is slightly cold against my linen skirt and we look towards the reflection lake. People shuffling around, making the most out of every last minute. "Don’t you wish we could travel around the world that fast” he says. We look at each other, the moonlight shines brightly as it creates a reflection onto his irresistible green eyes. “Yeah" I sighted. I look at him and I can’t feel the cold, it’s almost like I’ve lost all my senses and the only one that works right now is my ability to breath! And then he kisses me.
The park is almost empty, and suddenly the fountain at the centre of the lake is roaring. You can hear the background music that blares throughout the park and the clinks of glasses being collected from outdoor restaurant tables. I’ve never seen it this quiet. The cleaners in their white boiler-suits, begin to loosen up and chuckle with their co-workers as they share their worst clean-up stories of the day. Teary-eyed children are now being reunited with their families.
We decide to make our way home and hop on the cast member bus. It’s a much different bus when you are a guest, you see all the people in their costumes, tired yet full of life. The bus is dark, but the lights of the park allow spontaneous gleams of light to illuminate their tired faces. They look like they've just worked a 12 hour shift, yet they are restless and vibrant. The bus quickly fills with chatter of plans to take on the rest of the evening. I gently rest my head on his shoulder and can feel his cheek stiffen, I look up and catch his dashing smile. I quickly look forward and can’t help but feel this sensation in my stomach that perhaps I’ve met someone special.
A few months down the track and we are inseparable, spending every night together, laughing and making the most of every second. He holds me like I've never been held before and the way he looks at me just makes me feel at ease. It's so easy and natural to be around him, but in the back of my mind I can't help but think that this is just summer love that accidentally crept up into winter.
The time to say goodbye is nearing, and there is an unspoken anguish of uncertainty and fear. We decide to beat the tension and go for a walk around the boardwalk, holding hands and sharing stories about our childhood. He stops me mid-sentence “Do you want to share an Ice cream?” Of course I say yes and we sit down at the infamous Ghiradelli Chocolate shop, where we share an over-indulgent chocolate ice cream (and here is where I discover that he is a very messy eater). He gives me those eyes again, but this time I see determination. He asks the waiter for a pen and takes my napkin (because of course his is too messy) “We need to make a list” he tells me. I laugh and take another spoonful of ice cream, “What kind of list?” I ask puzzled. “Of how we are going to make this work, we need to be organised.” This is where I learn that he is a lists guy. “Let's do it” I say, without any regards to the consequences of what this entails, and we begin to bullet point.