Cosmopolitan (UK)

“The week I realised I was in it for the long haul”

- Daniella Scott

“I’d embarked on a one-night stand that had got out of hand”

The journey from the airport to the Airbnb was messy – physically and

conversati­onally. It was 30ºC and the air was sticky; we had flown from Manchester so were layered up, and as we lugged our suitcases through the city – two sweaty cheapskate­s unwilling to pay for a cab – we bickered ferociousl­y. If I’d seen us on the street I’d have laughed and given us six months. Tops.

We had met on a night out 18 months previously. Our “friendship” was only intended to last those few hours, but on that first day in Rome, I realised I’d made a grave mistake. After arriving at the Airbnb we got cleaned up and headed out for lunch. There was a moment when we were sitting opposite each other at this little Italian restaurant, on a cobbled street dripping with jade-green vines, when I looked at him and realised that was it. I sighed. But it wasn’t one of relief, it was a bizarre mix of happiness congealed with terror. I had unwittingl­y embarked on a one-night stand that had got out of hand, and had become something else that didn’t seem likely to end any time soon. And in that moment I realised I wasn’t mad about that.

As someone who has generally pined

for a life of solitude (I’ve considered running off to live in a commune more than once, but they’re not exactly great environmen­ts for personal space...), this realisatio­n came as quite a surprise. I was so taken aback I was only able to manage the one plate of gnocchi. I’d always dreamt of living on my own, had never seen myself sharing my space with someone else, getting married or committing to seeing the same person day in and day out. But as the week went on I became more and more sure that not only did I enjoy living with this person, but I could see myself sharing greasy takeaways, IKEA arguments and morning breath with him for quite some time. One day, we sat outside the Pantheon drinking beers (we’re still Brits abroad after all) and people-watching in contented silence, breaking only to smile at each other as a bird stole chips from the table next to us. There are very few people I can sit in silence with, and there are very few times in my life when I have felt truly relaxed.

Until that holiday I hadn’t considered

our future. I had been happy to simply enjoy where we were and, given that I hadn’t expected to find myself thinking like this, it had never occurred to me to put the walls up. But all of a sudden I realised he’d bedded in, like an emotional tick. I was done for. It was perhaps something I had known all along, but there is something so reliably frantic about Rome that it forces your brain to relax into the white noise around you, and all my thoughts were let loose to wreak havoc on my rigidity.

When we returned home, I worried that panic might set in. But the next morning, as I watched him cooking breakfast in his grubby kitchen, I realised I felt the same as I did that day outside the Pantheon. That the reason for the calm I’d felt wasn’t because of the holiday, it was pottering about the kitchen wearing odd socks and scrambling eggs.

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 ??  ?? The (surprising­ly) happy couple
The (surprising­ly) happy couple
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 ??  ?? Always going 100MPH
– same
Always going 100MPH – same
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