‘The Sum­mer Ro­mance That Changed My Life’

EMMA FIRTH, 25, FROM LON­DON, NEVER LET GO OF HER SUM­MER FLING…

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Rewind to July last year and I was pretty happy in my sin­gle-girl bub­ble. After around two tor­tur­ous years get­ting over my first love, I was fi­nally happy be­ing alone. Week­end get­aways with my girls, flirt­ing with boys I had no in­ten­tion of be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship with – I was hav­ing fun. But my ‘I Don’t Need A Man’ mo­ment all went up in smoke when I met my now boyfriend – Shawn, 26 – last Au­gust in Lon­don.

‘You’ve got to meet my Amer­i­can friend,’ my best mate Alex told me. ‘He’s an artist stay­ing here for a sum­mer course and doesn’t re­ally know any­one.’ I re­mem­ber see­ing him for the first time – all 6ft 2in of him (FYI, I’m 5ft 1in) – and be­ing struck by his soft Philadel­phia ac­cent. We went danc­ing that evening in a big group of friends and I prob­a­bly spoke to him once – when I like some­one I be­come mute. But the next day I plucked up the courage to in­vite him for lunch, think­ing food and com­pany would cure my hang­over. We ended up spend­ing the whole day walk­ing around, talk­ing about our dreams, fears and fam­i­lies (‘I thought this girl must re­ally like me if she’s ask­ing me all these ques­tions,’ he would later tell me).

The weeks that un­folded there­after felt some­what like star­ring in my own rom-com. We spent our days to­gether by the canal in the sum­mer heat. We were fall­ing in love – fast – but we also knew it had to end soon, as his course fin­ished in Septem­ber and then he’d have to fly back to the US. But we kept in con­tact through Face­book or long What­sapp calls. While our sep­a­ra­tion was dif­fi­cult, other guys just paled in com­par­i­son.

Then the call came. ‘I got into the two-year Mas­ter’s de­gree in Lon­don. I ac­cepted and I’m com­ing in Septem­ber,’ he told me on the phone in March. He may catch the last glimpse of sum­mer when he re­turns to the UK, but I’m more ex­cited about our win­ter. To­gether.

The weeks that un­folded felt like star­ring in my own rom-com. We fell in love – fast

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