A long, long time ago I traveled to deepest, darkest South America on an adventure with three dear friends. In a melancholy haze I’d agreed to this trip to Chile as a way to heal from the disappointment of first love gone sour.
Within a few days of arriving in this mysterious and beautiful country I met a walking cliche, a tall, dark, handsome stranger. He slid up next to me at the bar, a studious young Doctor with soft brown eyes, an abundance of gorgeous dark curly hair and big designs on me or so it turned out. He asked in broken English if we could dance, to which I said no, all the while giggling and blushing like a schoolgirl, but he persisted and eventually I gave in. No sooner had I agreed than he grabbed me firmly round the waist and whisked me round the room merengue style. It was like a cruel ballroom competition where I didn’t know the moves, not that it mattered, I just had to learn to relax and be guided. Now there’s an aphrodisiac right there, a man who can dance and lead. Gliding round the room I asked him what his name was “Francisco” he replied sexily rolling his ‘r’ “Ohhhh you mean as in San…Franscisco!” I chuckled at my own bad joke, trying to break the ice and the language barrier, but he was a tough audience and was way too focused on steering this robotic Westerner round the floor.
In a Brazilian nutshell I warmed to the dancing, he warmed to me. I was progressively showered first in compliments, then in drinks and finally in kisses, given to me on a romantic moonlit walk around the lake shore. My weary heart was already on the mend after a few short hours of his undivided attention and over the next few days I’ll admit that Francisco and I did more than a Latin tango. He was just the ticket for my 24 year old self, no ifs, buts and maybes, just a simple promise to enjoy our time together. Soon enough it was time to part with the promise to keep in touch and I left Chile drunk on life again and with happy memories of my trip.
But this is me right, and we all know that nothing is ever straight forward for Miss Kitty? Over the next three months Francisco and I emailed each other a few times, just general catch up stuff and then one night I got a phone call. It was him “You said I stay if I come to UK yes? I’m here – bus!”. Surprise, surprise, I kid you not, my Latin romeo had traveled 11,000 kms to come and see me and was currently standing at the local bus stop waiting for me to pick him up! And so I had some fast explaining to do to my Mum, who was this foreigner who had just turned up and was now staying in the guest bedroom? Oh just a friend, from my travels..
But it didn’t end there! When we ate dinner he would play footsie with me under the table and during his week’s stay while I showed him the sights of my home town in the day, in the evening Francisco showed me his own sights – lying in wait, naked in my bed when I came upstairs. He never tired of this routine all week, even though I told him that things were different now, I had a boyfriend and whats more my Mother was sleeping next door! Every night I would pack him off to his own room throwing his clothes behind him and every time he would give my the sad puppy dog eyes. But see that’s the thing about holiday romances that he didn’t understand, they only really flourish in the bloom of travel and adventure. They don’t and shouldn’t fit into our humdrum lives.
So Francisco eventually and rather reluctantly caught a bus back to where he came from, a little disappointed but better traveled for the experience. I just went back to my normal life but I still treasure the memory of the Chilean charmer who helped fix my heart.