We met this summer on my study abroad trip to France. We met through an app, something I never thought I would say. I was so nervous before our first date, not knowing if he spoke a word of English, not knowing if my French would be adequate. I took the bus and then the metro to our meeting spot in Bellecour that July evening, sweating all the while. I wore a black skirt from NafNaf and a nervous smile. I carried a French-English dictionary.
To my surprise and relief, I hit it off with Florent, a tall, easygoing Financier full of effortless charm and interesting stories. We spoke (and speak) almost exclusively in French, though he does speak English from time abroad. Finding an easy rapport, we managed to meet up several times in the two weeks I had left in Lyon. We ate late, light dinners of tartines or crepes, and once at a cozy bouchon, ducking out of the rain. We watched subtitled films and walked by the rivers at night. He drove me home in his Peugeot. He was incredibly patient, listening to my slow & stumbling French. He was funny, and kind.
Still, I was prepared to say goodbye. We hadn’t met under traditional circumstances, and it seemed unlikely that anything real could come of something like that. I knew I would miss Florent, but I was also realistic: once I returned home, we would talk a few times, the inside jokes fading more and more, until finally there were just memories.
Much to my surprise, though, it didn’t happen like that.
What can I say? Never underestimate the power of Skype. After all, if someone can make you laugh, can make you wanna stop what you’re doing to see their pixelated, thousands-of-miles-away face, you know you just might’ve found something worth holding on to.