It was my senior year of college. A good friend was studying abroad in Rome, so I decided to go visit for my spring break. It was a great opportunity because I had a free place to stay and someone who knew the city well to direct me.
My last day in the city was beautiful and I decided to venture to an area with which I was less familiar. I found myself in the middle of a traffic circle, on a bench, taking in the breathtaking architecture surrounding me, which culminated in a beautiful old church that was at the top of an expansive grassy hill. My map was open as I decided that my next steps were to walk up the hill, eat a snack, and visit the church before heading back to meet up with my friend.
Then, it happened. That moment in the movie where the exceedingly handsome Italian man on the moped stops, takes off his helmet, makes eye contact, and motions to you.
Wait. What? Me? I’m not in a movie. I walked over and he indicated he was lost and needed to borrow my map. I handed it over, he barely glanced at it, and then began a flirtatious conversation.
“Come on,” he begged in a sexy accent. “I take you for a ride and we go get a coffee.”
Oh, how badly I wanted to get on that moped! Not because I had dreams of wanting to be on a moped, but because I had dreams of being desired. And here was this handsome, sexy, Italian man who wanted to take me to coffee! This doesn’t happen to me. I was a senior in college. I barely dated in high school and not at all in college. I wanted a boyfriend so desperately. I wanted someone to see me, desire me, and do anything to be with me. I watched my friends enter into serious relationships and meet their future spouse. I was the sidekick friend for all of it. I listened, got excited for them, and waited for it to be my turn. I waited. And waited. I had always been told, “You’re the kind of girl guys want to marry, not the kind they want to date.” What the heck does that mean? Why did it feel like the good girls get punished? Where was my freaking knight in shining armor? On a moped, maybe?
I wanted to get on the moped.
Reality check. This is a handsome, sexy, Italian man who wants to take me to “coffee.” I’m an obvious tourist, he knows this is my last day in the city, I know absolutely nothing about him, and if I get on his moped I have no control over where I end up. What are his intentions? Does he really want to get to know me over a cup of coffee?
Even knowing that, the risk almost seemed worth the reward. Thankfully, I decided not to risk my life, but rather to stick to my original plan involving the grassy hill and the church. It was much less romantic than the dream vision with the Italian mystery man, but it was far more sensible. My final day in Rome rounded out with a peaceful view, a calm breeze, and just a touch of regret for not finding out what could have been.
Looking back, it was my impatience that almost led me to make a bad decision. It’s amazing to think that had I chosen differently my memories of that trip could be vastly different. I’m glad that I didn’t let my desperation for love make me do something stupid.
I had to wait a little longer for my knight in shining armor, but he did come. And by the way, he doesn’t ride a moped.
Have you ever desired love so much that you were willing to accept a counterfeit? We all have those desires for love. How do we stay true to real love when we feel weak?