When I woke up I was all alone, with a broken heart and a ticket home.
On men and feelings and Galway, Ireland.
I already never wanted to leave.
I’d only been in Galway for a couple of hours and had only made it down the main stretch of restaurants and shops. But I felt like I could stay there forever, trying out different pubs, listening to the live music that changed every few feet, drinking Guinness and Bulmers at a wooden bar, talking to some of the friendliest people in the world.
There was something about the place. The way the light fell, creating dramatic shadows that stretched the full length of the blocks. The way rain water pooled in the crevices of the brick streets. Green flags soaring above, strung from building to building. The acoustic strains of fiddles and accordions and banjos coming from every restaurant, every pub, every street corner.
I wanted to know which pub sold the crispiest fish and chips, which coffee shop made the best latte to start my day, which bands played where each night. I wanted to know those secluded spots to escape to, where to wander when I needed fresh air to clear my head. I wanted to have people to share stories and pints with there. To dance with. Friends.
I get that way when I reach a new place, sometimes. There is so much to explore that I am overwhelmed. I want to know it all, see it all, experience it all. I want to find things about it the average person doesn’t know. I imagine my life there.
I wanted to know Galway like that.
And I realized, walking down the street that night, that I get the same way about men.
I meet someone, we talk, we kiss, and I want to know everything about him. I want him to know everything about me. I imagine my life with him. I fall hard, fast.
Maybe someone spends a night with his arms wrapped around me, kissing my shoulder, holding my hand, and I think, I never want him to leave. I want him to hold me like this forever. I want to know the way his hair smells, the way his skin feels, his favorite places, his secrets, his everything. And I want him to feel the same about me. Even if, hours before, I didn’t know him or I’d never thought of him that way at all.
But then he does, of course, leave. And, of course, I leave every city. Because, I suppose, there is more to see out there and you can’t stick around every place too long. Or with one person.
I sometimes wonder if I am looking for a home out there. If I want someplace I could really know like no one else. Or if I want to be an eternal wanderer. I sometimes wonder if I want to find a person I could know like no one else. If I ever will. If I am still looking for love.
I used to be this hopeless romantic. I used to turn down every man who showed interest in me because I automatically discounted them. I was one of those girls who hoped to find that one prince charming who would save her, who would show her the world. I was waiting for something grand, something magical, something perfect.
And now I just end up making out with a Brazilian guy on a bar crawl or the Irish guy who bought my friends and I dinner, as we swing danced to an after hours band. Guys who, afterwards, move on.
And I move on. I leave Galway. Even if it’s a place I feel I can stay for a long time. Even though I end up returning for a few more days a week later. Because, maybe, I guess, if I knew, deep down, that it was the right place for me, I wouldn’t be able to go.