The movie-like romance of my life part 3

The plan in the morning was this, Jen and I were to leave the hostel at about 8:30 am, grab a little breakfast and then walk around the city a little more. She was mostly packed as she had a big backpack full of stuff, I was going to drop her off at the public transit station, then I’d go back to the hostel and pack up my very few items. Afterwards we would meet up at Campanha station before we said our goodbyes for my 10:45 am bus, her bus was leaving soon after. I was pretty upset about leaving but I was really looking forward to spending what time I had left with Jen.

We got a coffee and a pastry at one of the few local places that were open early in the morning. We spent the rest of our time just wandering the city. She asked me a lot about my sports background and did her detective thing where she started reading into my origin story. My third encounter with her and she already knew me better than my friends from home. I think the best part of conversation with her was that it just flowed so naturally. There was rarely ever a filter and when I would brace her for some weird Baron stuff, she’d just nod and ask me more questions about how I would come to these conclusions. Like when I explained to her the time that I – ah, never mind – kids read this blog. Of course the conversation wasn’t one sided. I got to learn about her music tastes, she put me onto some Quebecois artists. At the time she was very into an artist called Les Louanges. I was also just genuinely curious about life in Quebec City as I’ve never met someone from there before.

Eventually we get to the local bus station for her to head to Campanha. We have a great hug and I go back to the hostel. It was probably close to around 19 degrees Celsius, which is fine, but when the sun is out and the hostel is on top of a hill decorated by several bumpy roads, you start sweating a bit. As I walked up that hill thoughts started to enter my head. Is this the last time I’ll ever see Jen? She’s so special. I don’t ever want to lose this connection. I felt the tears coming on but held them back. Suddenly the hill wasn’t the reason I was short of breath. I DIDN’T CRY, OK. I get back to the hostel, pack up my stuff, and call an Uber, buried under a cloud of melancholy.

The Uber comes and things are going fine. Coldplay starts playing, it’s a bit emotional but it’s whatever. Then, a second Coldplay song comes on, then a third, then a – I ask the driver if he listens to anything else. He tells me that he only listens to Coldplay, that’s his fave band. So now I’m extra fighting back tears because I’m listening to freaking Coldplay while going through an emotional episode. FANTASTIC. Mr. Uber driver was a nice man though, no hard feelings there. How was he supposed to know that I was about to get my heartbroken?

We get to the station and I ask the Uber driver if he knew where the bus terminals was. HE PROCEDES TO TELL ME THAT THIS IS CAMPANHA TRAIN STATION, NOT THE BUS STATION. CAMPANHA IS ALSO THE NAME OF THE BUS STATION – YOU SEE WHERE I GOT CONFUSED? I start panicking because I’m thinking that I’m going to miss Jen and my bus. He reassures me that the bus station is only 10 minutes away. So problem solved, I get to see Jen, right? Well I get to the bus station and no Jen. I call her and she tells me that she’s on her way, no problem I wait. 5 minutes pass, 10 minutes pass, 15 minutes pass. People are starting to line up for the bus.

A wave of anxiety flashed through me as I realize something. Jen probably went to the wrong station as well. I call Jen, she lets me know that she’s at the wrong station. We missed each other. I should’ve been smarter. I should have realized that the bus station and the train station had similar names and knowing that, I would have reminded her before we parted ways. If I did that, the plan would have been fine, everything would have been fine. She didn’t realize that she was at the wrong station until I called her and she finally arrives. But I’m already gone. On the phone, when we both realized that we were going to miss each other my voice started to shake. I could feel my lip quiver. I don’t know if she could hear it but I fought hard to keep it in. The nail in the coffin that had me punching the air was when she told me that she never got the goodbye kiss. I’m sorry to the kids reading this but – fuck man.

When I got onto the bus I told myself that I was not going to listen to any sad songs. If a sad song came on, I’d just skip it. I held back the tears as long as I have, I’m not going to cry now. The worst has passed right? Universe by Exo started playing and I start crying. I kept trying to remind myself that crying over a woman that you’ve only literally been together with for a cumulative 12 hours is insane, so I would make up reasons to cry instead. I would think about missing my family, missing my friends – but let’s be real, I knew why I was crying. The worst was not passing, it was just beginning. The goal of the trip was to have fun and just be a single man, make friends with everybody, and be joyful. I never felt alone on this trip, until I got on that bus back to Lisbon.

The rest of the trip was fine but it was lonely. Sorry, I’m having trouble writing the rest of this article. I haven’t really thought about her like this in awhile and suddenly a wave of emotion has just flooded me. When I do think about it I usually just think about our date – but rarely do I think about how it ended in Porto. I’m not going to get into the details but Jen and I talked for a long time until we didn’t. Believe it or not, that wasn’t even the last time I saw her. You can ask me about it offline because I could write a whole other article about that post Portugal experience. Unfortunately that doesn’t matter anymore, as she recently unfollowed me back in December on Instagram. Not just that but she made me unfollow her. I don’t know why because back in November she even liked one of my IG stories. It might have to do with my post about finding a wedding date. I honestly have no clue whatsoever beyond that.

Truthfully, I do miss her – but I miss her like I miss a close friend that you have shared amazing experiences with. I mean, it’s been about a year and a half but I still appreciate her. I have a hard time believing that I’ll never hear or see from her again. This realization actually really hurts. Even as I’m writing this I’m constantly reminding myself that she owes me nothing and that I’ve only known her for a few days.

I think a lot about why I care about this and it’s because I never forget the important things that have built me. I never forgot about the first time I played football in high school, or the last time I played football in high school. My first university rugby game or my last university rugby game. I never forgot about the trip to Europe with the boys, or the time my brother called me from Hong Kong telling me that my uncle had passed away suddenly – I don’t forget. Those moments, they just matter more because they impact your life so much. They build you.

With me never being able to be friends with her again, it feels like reading a poorly translated book, or a cake having every ingredient but sugar – I don’t know, I’m trying my best to describe the feeling. Essentially it’s a good thing but it’s missing the best part, in my memory anyway. I lost a good friend, that’s all. OK I’m getting a bit too emotional now but if I can leave a parting message it’s this – Jen is literally one of the best people that I’ve ever met in my life. Sometimes I think about whether I regret meeting her or not because I think that the bar for future romance is so high now. Whenever I start to think about regretting, I pull my head out of my ass and realize that I’m just being childish. Maybe you have a Jen in your life and if so, I hope that no matter what happens that you keep that person there because they don’t just exist normally in the world. I mean, I had to go all the way to Porto.

By the way, I still have that cork.

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