“Where should I pick you up from this time?” he texted, clearly amused, as indicated by the multiple emoticons accompanying his message.
“Echo Park,” I replied.
“I could’ve sworn it was gonna be Los Feliz or Silver Lake.”
“Los Feliz was last week, Silver Lake will be next. Told you, I’m a pop-up person,” I reminded him.
And for the moment, I really was.
Who would have thought that just two months earlier I was still spending my days confined to a desk, wasting my 29th year at a soulless job in the south of Poland.
Fast-forward, and there I was, a full-time traveler, occasionally freelancing while on the road.
From Airbnbing all across the States, to staying exclusively in L.A., I was having the time of my life.
Everything was exciting and new to me.
As a tourist, I was marveling at the ocean, the blue sky and the famous L.A. sunlight.
As an aspiring screenwriter, I squealed with joy while setting my foot in the WGA headquarters on Fairfax Avenue and 3rd Street, as if I were entering the holiest of temples.
And then there was the young, handsome musician, who never knew where to pick me up because my accommodations changed every week.
That’s because I wanted to see as much of the city as I possibly could. After all, I had only four months’ worth of travel left.
He knew it, and I knew it.
But when we swiped right on each other that first night, he was still blissfully unaware that my plan was to travel and stay in the States for a while, and then eventually go home.
So when I spilled the beans on our first date (brunch at Santa Monica’s Blue Daisy Cafe), he was a little bit taken aback, but still left a door open for us to meet again.
“Hey, it was great talking today. If you want to hang or do something fun while you’re still here, feel free to hit me up. My number is…” read his post-date message.
“Hey, same here,” I responded. “But if you want to hang again, you’ll have to hit me up yourself. I’m old-fashioned like that. My number is… Use it wisely!” I cautioned him.
This set the tone for all of our interactions. David was attentive and courted me like a real gentleman. There were flowers, presents and lots of laughs, as well as romantic dates at the Griffith Observatory, and trips to Manhattan Beach, and walks at the Grove.
And soon, I felt like my heart was skipping a beat every time I saw him.
Even though we’re both millennials, used to transient flings with little commitment, something pulled us toward each other in a way that was neither transient nor noncommittal.
“But how could this be?” I asked myself. For years, I could never find anybody I really liked.
And then there I was, in this weird state of in-between-ness, without a schedule or definite plans, an ocean away from my friends and family, and... crazy in love.
Was it the ultimate irony? You bet!
A few weeks before my planned departure from LAX, I told David I was about to buy my plane ticket. “You know,” he said, “there’s also another option.”
And he didn’t mean just a long-distance relationship. That’s when the possibility of marriage came up.
“That’s the only way we could be together all the time without having to worry about visas” and other paperwork, he explained. “We could start a life together.”
I was astounded and a little disoriented. Marriage? After less than four months?
My mind immediately went to what I’d be leaving behind, including my parents. The fact that I’m an only child definitely doesn’t make things easier.
Then, there are my girlfriends, many of whom I have been close with since high school, and the question of my career. The thought of starting over in a new country is intimidating.
And what if I decided to stay? Was I ready to settle down? Never kiss another man again? Were we just in the honeymoon phase where we couldn’t see each other so clearly?
These questions didn’t leave me for days until it hit me: I was truly, genuinely happy with him. The thought of going back to Poland became too painful to consider. It was the classic case of, “It’ll happen when you’re not looking.” And if there was one thing I’d learned by now, it was that sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can lead to amazing, beautiful things.
We wed at the Beverly Hills courthouse. His parents flew in, and so did my dad. It was just the five of us, on a beautiful, sunny day. After we exchanged our vows, we went to Malibu for dinner. It was simple and unceremonious, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Today, Los Angeles is no longer a dream or a whim. David and I have nestled into a home in West L.A. Now, when he’s out and asks where he should pick me up, more often than not, I answer: home.
The author is a writer in Los Angeles.
L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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