Fate speaks to us sometimes. It was exactly one week.
I lived in a townhouse in the campus village with five roomates. Every night was a party, and weekends were usually a mess of keggers. One was parked in our living room that night and students had filled up every square inch of our house, hands our for brewskis and bopping to some Donna Summer remix.
I'm not a huge beer fan, so I was at the counter making pitchers of Black Russians and Killer Kool-Aid. That might make me an elitist snob but who are we kidding, any kind of alcohol is appreciated at a school party. I handed out a plastic-cupped Russian to a waiting hand, not looking at the face of the taker - too many people - and turned back to make more, but someone had stopped me by slightly pulling on the back of my belt. I turned around.
It was him. He was smiling. And boy, did he look good. Mystery soccer boy leaned in and said, "Is the camera dead yet?"
I was smiling and in complete shock to even be seeing him again. "I buried it after the game. You can pay respects later if you like."
He laughed, we clinked cups and he disappeared into the crowd. He mingled, I mingled and bartended, and we noticed each other until the party thinned out and there was more room to talk.
That's what we did until the sun came up. We talked and we talked and talked. And we talked. He was Persian, had a large family, and wanted to be a cardiologist. He'd joined the school overseas program for one year mainly for a change of pace, and was loving it so far. I told him about my family, writing passions and devotion to Monty Python films, which made him laugh. He had a very nice laugh.
We became great friends. Whenever Marco wasn't busy slicing cadavers or I wasn't out on a story, we discovered the city together, told stupid jokes and made fun of people who dressed weird. Soon enough, we could finish each other's sentences. Over countless lunches Marco and I learned about the places we came from, our likes and dislikes, hopes, fears and dreams. I knew he was worse than a woman when it came to chocolate, that he actually liked shopping despite complaining about it all the time, and that he was pulling my leg when his eyes twinkled. He knew how I took my coffee, my favourite books, and that I couldn't stand mechanical pencils. When you spend so much time with someone and never run out of things to say, is there any surprise when it turns into something more?
I adored Marco as my friend. It almost freaked me out when I started to like him as more than that, because I knew we had no chance. He wasn't here to stay and moreover, his home was ridiculously far away. Not even manageable long distance. We came from very different worlds, very different backgrounds and very, very different upbringing. Religion wasn't important to either one of us, but our contrasts were large enough that even if we didn't mind, our families sure as hell would. We both cared very deeply for our families. That alone, was enough.
With the cards stacked against us, I forced my floodgates shut. That shows just how naive I really was. If I didn't know or want to admit to it then, attraction always finds a way. It always finds a way to take you to that one pivotal, defining moment.