Today, friends, I’m going to tell you a story I’ve never told you before. It’s a story of how Mario and—yes, the All-American/Spanish/International couple—were once hardened criminals.
Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl. They grew up in separate countries, speaking different languages, and eating very distinct foods. In September 2009, the girl flew to Spain, not suspecting that she was going to meet someone who would change her life—someone who would lead her into a life of crime.
The face of pure evil
But meet they did, and they soon spent every possible moment together, spotting each other on his way to class and her way to work, eating pinchos during their breaks, waking up early to sip coffee/tea in smoky bars. They fell in love and had their first kiss in front of la fachada de la universidad, a famous sport normally occupied by plentiful amounts of tourists, but he, familiar with the pedestrian traffic patterns in Salamanca, knew just when to take her there.
It all sounds so romantic—and indeed it was. But it was also forbidden.
Photo taken on an illegal trip to his hometown, Zamora.
The girl worked for a Christian campus ministry started in the United States with branches all over the world and, of course, Salamanca. The ministry had said they frowned on their new interns (for that was what she was) dating anyone, but most especially students.
Now, please don’t misinterpret her. She hadn’t meant to fall in love. As with all the best love stories, it had simply happened. And now she was helpless. But, being the good girl that she had always been, she wrote him a letter telling him they had to be “just friends,” at least for the time being.
That didn’t last very long.
It was impossible for her to stay away from him. But their relationship was an illicit one. Thus, the two devised ways to meet: in little-known coffee shops, in back alley restaurants, in small city parks. Her lunch break was practically the only free time she had to breathe, and she spent it in hiding. He did, too, if only because his feelings for her were much the same. This hiding thing…well, it could feel so different each day—from exciting to nerve-wracking to annoying to scary. She was always afraid of being caught, always had her eye on the door in case they were somehow peeking in on them.
After a while, she couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t just the forbidden relationship—it was the constant pressure, the you-screwed-up, the feeling as though she no longer had any time to herself. She had to quit.
So she did. She felt free for the first time in months. She was able to return home for Christmas with a weight lifted off her shoulders, free to bask in the warm glow of a new relationship with her friends and family surrounding her.
Quite obviously, that girl was me. That boy was Mario. Érase una vez…we were criminals. We couldn’t be out in the open, that happy, smiling couple for which I think my blog is known (for better or for worse).
I wrote this because I wanted you to know that, even if Mario and I seem like a too-happy, too-perfect lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy couple—we started out as criminals. I disobeyed a silly rule to be with him.
Best decision ever.
Totally, deliriously happy. Pardon my crazy face.