‘I got sent the worst breakup text ever’
OUR first encounter was like something out of a '90s rom-com about a woman holidaying in Portugal.
I was sitting alone on a park bench, writing in my diary when I looked up and spotted him - a tall, dark and handsome man with a gorgeous head of curls, looking completely lost in suit complete with tailcoat.
Who is this guy? Is he going to the theatre? Is he waiting for a date?
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I COULDN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF HIM
I was smitten - he was the very definition of the ideal leading man.
In true rom-com fashion, the mysterious man strolled over and sat opposite me. For a moment, I was frozen, wondering if I should speak first or see if he would ignite the conversation.
Being my impatient self, I decided to make my move.
"Are you waiting for someone?" I asked. He was startled but quickly replied: "I was."
He then proceeded to tell me that he was an actor in an immersive play and that his attire was part of his character, to be the messenger for a group of people involved in a drama-filled tour around Lisbon.
We couldn't stop talking and when he spotted the people he was waiting for, he quickly offered me his number. Inspired by this scenario's theatrics, I decided to get out of character and did something I wouldn't normally do - I declined.
Instead, I said with great confidence that he should take mine instead.
MY GREAT PORTUGUESE ROMANCE
For the next few weeks, we were lovebirds in Lisbon.
I was completely caught off-guard. Here I was, infatuated with this man and this city, both of which were taking over my heart. After a string of dates that included going to jazz bars, up-market dinners and lounging along the shores of the river, it all seemed to be smooth sailing to couplesville.
Soon enough, my head was in overdrive. To continue this holiday romance, I needed to anchor myself in this city. I started to contemplate a move to Portugal solely to continue this relationship.
THEN THINGS SHIFTED
There were a few days where we didn't see each other due to work commitments taking him to Porto. During this time, I didn't really hear from him that much.
Soon enough, I turned into something that I loathe - a crazy woman. I started to feel anxious that I hadn't heard from him. Naturally, I started to feel like something was off; like our new relationship had run its course.
I was soon put out of my misery when I heard from him (finally) and I felt foolish for even thinking something was amiss.
I told him we needed to have a conversation about where we were headed.
Over the phone, we had agreed to spend a romantic day together before I was due to depart Lisbon.
THE DATE TO END ALL DATES
The plan was to go out for a lovely lunch and stroll around the city, then end up at his to cook dinner together.
On the day of our epic date, I decided I wanted to dress up for him. I couldn't remember the last time I had made so much effort to impress a guy. I wanted to look my best and to wow him.
I had an Anne Hathaway-type Princess Diaries makeover where I got my hair done, went into plucking overdrive with my brows, put on a face full of makeup and wore a dress, all to make me feel like a woman to be desired. (I live in ponytails and pants, so this was quite the transformation.)
After I walked out of the salon, I was strutted along the streets of Lisbon like I owned the place. My confidence was at its peak and I couldn't contain my excitement.
It was just past noon when I checked my phone to see which restaurant we were meeting at - only to see I had no new messages.
I tried to call him. The phone rang out, so I messaged him instead to ask where we were due to meet.
I aimlessly wandered around Lisbon for a while, biding my time until the phone in my hands vibrated.
About time - it was him.
I WAS FLOODED WITH HAPPINESS - UNTIL I READ THE FIRST LINE
"Something happened last night with an actress that I work with. I couldn't avoid. It's better not to see each other. I think I'm in love. Can I call in a couple of hours?"
I froze. My heart sank. It was like an out of body experience. Was this for real?
I re-read and re-read the message. I tried calling him, but no answer. This was one fully loaded message that had more bombshells in it than any tabloid tweet.
I had to let this sink in. Firstly, he slept with someone else, something that apparently he couldn't avoid and now, he was in love with her. Say what?
I WAS WALKING AROUND LISBON FEELING LIKE A SHELL OF A HUMAN
I tried calling my girlfriends back home, but no one picked up. Tears were streaming down my face faster than the flow of the Tagus River.
I felt defeated. I felt like my world as I had known it for the past few weeks had been crushed - and by someone I had just opened my heart to.
Why did this person feel like it was necessary to disclose every single detail and to say that he was in love? How could you not avoid sleeping with someone?
I drowned my sorrows that night, drinking with new-found friends, and left Lisbon the next day, broken-hearted and nursing a killer hangover.
Unfortunately, my Hollywood rom-com turned out to be a short film instead. About a foolish man who has since tried to make contact with me.
I declined because this love story didn't deserve a sequel and if it did, it would be the type you just know is going straight to DVD.
- Julia D'Orazio is a freelance journalist and contributor | @roamingflamingo
- This article originally appeared on whimn.com.au and was reproduced with permission