An open letter to the God of Love,
I can only write this letter because I’ve fully recovered from the damage you inflicted when you left me smitten one year ago. You might have me believe you’re just some Spanish kid in a wooly green hat with a snub-nosed bow and arrow, but the day I met you was the day I met him, and this is no coincidence. This was the beginning of the end of my life for the next six months. But, all things considered, I guess I made it out all right. Your affliction takes down even the mightiest of Gods, and I’m proud to say I maintain a beating heart on the other side.
The day I met Bruno was a rainy day in Galicia. I say this as if every day isn’t a rainy day in Galicia. But in a land with 70 words for the variations in precipitation, I’ll be more specific.
The day I met Bruno was sunny at first. I stepped off the train with a mountain of expectations and an eager heart thumping in my throat.
I found him at a particularly lonesome time in my life, where I knew very little and understood even less. Five months I’d lived in Spain contemplating what the concept of home really meant to me, and five months I’d explored the depth of my thirsty, homeless heart. Moving to a new country whose language I did not speak was a peculiar choice for someone who craves connection and some semblance of stability. My daily struggle to communicate only furthered the isolation I felt in the President Trump era. Then there he was...
He with his hat and his mustard-colored pants.
He with his half-Arab eyes and Andre the Giant voice that spoke broken English.
He with his promises to teach me how to develop film with wine.
I didn’t stand a chance. Were you already involved at this point? You must’ve been.
As we struggled to understand each other’s words, I blissfully discovered through digital-translators that we had the same favorite tree and the same favorite music, the same history of heartbreak and the same obscure collection of plastic cameras. I’ll blame you for making me believe in destiny this time.
He convinced me to come visit him for the weekend, then tried to back out, saying he wasn’t ready to fall in love yet. He was a storm on the horizon and I desperately wanted to dance in the rain.
But love, but love—in a world full of hate, how can we choose to avoid love?
My sails were beckoning his winds.
So I went.
The day I met Bruno, it began to rain lightly as we drove along the winding coastal roads. When he parked his car between a weather-beaten white horse and a patch of wild calla lilies, I began to realize we were in an enchanted land.
Down the misty, moss-covered paths we went, the droplets collecting on my eyelashes, creating a glistening frame around my already rose-tinted glasses.
The day I met Bruno smelled like eucalyptus and pine and salt water.
We reached the top of a hill next to a 2,000-year-old ruin; the sun burst through the dark clouds shining over the ocean that separated my life-from-before with this exact moment. The grass really is greener over here. I thought. Everything in Galicia is greener.
I feel like I’m dreaming, he said.
You’re the woman I’ve been waiting 28 years to meet.
He took me in his arms and kissed me under his umbrella, then took a picture with his antique camera. The roar of the mountain-sized waves crashing against the cliffs couldn’t drown out the sound of my heart.
At this point, a family arrived—a little boy with a bow and arrow—that’s you—and two parents with umbrellas. I’d stopped paying attention to the weather.
...Were you aiming at me all along?
In the fading light, we decided to leave, hesitant to let this moment end. Your mom stopped us to ask us for our numbers so she could send us a photo she took. You’re in it, shooting us with your bow as we kiss, the sun exploding through a storm in the background….
I fell in love the exact moment a stranger took a picture of her child posed as Cupid shooting me with an arrow.
If you are actually Cupid, then you already know this. But the day after you shot us, the day after I officially met him, Bruno introduced me to his family. He showed me the place he wants to build a house someday. He told me he couldn’t believe I existed.
He took me to a bar called Mardi Gras when I was homesick for New Orleans. He danced with me to Sam Cooke in the kitchen of his grandmother’s beach house. He cooked me vegetarian food. We drove two hours to a magical place that’s supposed to be so crowded it requires a reservation—but you already knew it was empty, didn’t you?
You probably placed that waterfall there, spilling off a cliff into the sea; water so fresh we could drink it. We tiptoed around tide pools to try to keep our feet dry, while we walked toward the colossal rock arches in the fading light. They were further than we thought, but then there they were. And so there we ran.
Only you could have created this irresistible moment under the massive eroded-rock arches of Playa de las Cathedrales —the abandoned beach that should’ve been full—the stage on which I told him I loved him two days after meeting him and meant it. Before this moment I was convinced every time I fell in love, I fell in love less. You did not agree with that, did you, Cupid?
The raindrops heightened my senses. How thrilling it is to be touched a thousand times in a thousand places all at once?
Maybe it was you that was speaking when he said I know it sounds crazy because you just met me, but mark my words: you’re going to marry me someday.
And then the raindrops poured, but from my eyes this time, as I stepped on my train home. “To rain” in Spanish is “llover.” Dear lover, I love you. Don’t leave me.
We met a few more times, and my homeless little heart yearned to keep it, but as all storms do, ours came and went right back out to sea.
You’re the right person, this just isn’t the right time, He’d say.
You’re my soul mate, but you need to slow down, He’d say.
You have a friend in Galicia, not a lover, not a romantic—nothing more than a friend.
And the arrow you shot through my heart was twisted and shoved deeper, and I never saw him again.
The God of love is to blame for many great and terrible things. But you gave me Galicia, which is where I reside as it rains today, with weather that is less predictable, even, than a Galician man’s heart.