The moment I knew: I arrived home days late after a holiday from hell to find 30 deflating balloons

Cold, exhausted and broke, Lucy Pearson realised she’d come back not just to her apartment but to a man who felt like home

On paper we shouldn’t work. Nico – a construction worker from Italy with a penchant for fashion, good coffee and late nights fuelled by Negronis; me – a writer and book blogger from the UK; whose ideal bedtime is pre-9pm. My weak, iced oat latte order is a sore point in our relationship and I can’t stand the taste of Campari.

We met on the street in Bondi one sunny Sunday afternoon in February. It was thanks to his shirt: a bright Zara number covered in books. That unlikely collaboration between a Spanish fast fashion brand and the French publishing house Assouline got us chatting.

He took me for drinks the following weekend and we spent the entire Sunday together, getting to know each other in a sun-soaked haze of prosecco and pizza. I saw him again two nights later, then two days after that. He took me to a candlelit Italian restaurant in Darlinghurst where – as the night progressed – we spoke about everything and nothing and discovered we had almost no common ground – other than a fundamental desire to live in Australia long term, a fondness for Italian food and a weakness for dogs.

The next day I flew to Byron with my best friend, Ella, for a 30th birthday party. What was supposed to be a two-night stay turned into a protracted nightmare as flood water engulfed the town’s streets. Navigating endless flight cancellations, and a very cramped minibus to the Gold Coast, we stayed three nights longer than expected. By the time we left it felt like 30.

I arrived home cold, exhausted, broke and bone tired. Nico called to tell me he was on his way over. I dumped my bags and made my way into the sunroom. There I found 30 somewhat deflated balloons, a bunch of wilting flowers, a box of chocolates and a card, with “Welcome home Lucy” scrawled inside. That’s when it hit me: I had arrived back in Bondi after a holiday from hell – not only to my apartment but to a man who felt like home.

We became a couple with ease, settling into the rhythm of a new life together, never questioning what we were nor where our relationship was going; simply knowing that it felt right and that was enough.

We haven’t got a thing in common but for some reason it works.

We’ve now been together for just shy of seven months – and my love for Nico gets deeper with every day that passes. I love his quick and fiery nature, his easy charm, his passion, his vibrancy. He’s the most romantic man I’ve ever met; by far the funniest, but also – most importantly of all – the kindest.

  • Lucy Pearson is a freelance writer, book blogger and host of the Bondi Literary Salon

Lucy Pearson

The GuardianTramp

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