When I was 16 years old, my family and I were on holiday in Greece. It was June 2005 and we were going to stay in Greece for two weeks. On the first week of our holiday, we visited a friend in Athens and took a small trip to the island of Naxos. Afterwards, we went to Kalymnos. My father is born and raised in Kalymnos, so my Greek family comes from there. We lived in a hotel apartment with a balcony, just a few meters from the beach. Next to the hotel were families with children who apparently were all boys.
The American guy
One of the families had two sons. They were always out; they either went to the beach or spent the time together with the other boys, or their friend from the United States. The two boys knew a guy from America whose parents were both Greeks. Every other summer, the American guy always travelled to Kalymnos on summer vacation, as his family had their own house on the island. A house located right next to our hotel and close to the beach.
My sisters and I spent most of our holiday lying in the sun, either on the beach or near the swimming pool at the neighboring hotel. In the evenings, we were often sitting outside with the boys from the nearby houses. We played crazy games which we had learned back home in Denmark, or we just sat and talked (read: giggled as a bunch of teen girls do).
We didn’t see the American guy much during the day, but on several occasions, I saw him from afar with the other boys at his house. They would often look up towards our balcony, and we even waved at each other at one point (we were brave) when we came out to the balcony before heading to sleep. My sisters and I were 12, 14 and 16 at the time, so boys were still a fairly unexplored subject.
Guitar and butterflies in my stomach
One evening, the American guy was sitting together with some of the boys just playing his guitar. He had brought a small amplifier outside and connected his electric guitar. You know what you say about guys who play guitar – they suddenly become much more appealing. I do not remember if both my sisters were there, but I remember walking down the stairs from the apartment and sitting in front of the American. For the most part, I sat in peace and just listened (shy as I was), but little by little, we started talking. His name was George and was really good at playing guitar.
At one point he started playing a song that I had never heard before. I thought it sounded beautiful and he told me that it was “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. I was completely enchanted by the music and the beautiful tones, and it was as though I really noticed him at that moment.
When I had to teach the American Danish
Unfortunately, I can not remember all the details of my holiday in Kalymnos, because it was so many years ago. However, I remember pieces of memories, but I’m not sure which one came first. I remember, among other things, that my oldest sister and I went out with George and one of his friends to a cafe to have a drink. George drank Corona beer while I just had a Sprite. He laughed at my Danish accent when I said Sprite, but he assured me that it sounded sweet. We were also playing pool and I got my sister to take a picture of George and I standing together. There was no doubt that a crush was developing between us.
One day, I talked George into swimming in the pool. He was not that happy about going from the natural sea to an artificial swimming pool, but he certainly did it for me. We floated around – halfway on an air mattress and halfway in the water. At one point, he asked me if I could teach him Danish. He wanted me to translate different sentences, but there was only one single sentence that I still remember: “Can I have a kiss?”.
The summer romance slipped away
When the day arrived for me to go home, I was completely broken. It was very hard to say goodbye and I cried in the car on my way to the boat. George and I had promised to write and call each other every single day, so we could manage to be apart for two years until we could meet up in Kalymnos for vacation again.
We missed each other a lot, and we both bought phone cards to dial and call abroad. We texted each other on the old Messenger chat where we could see each other on webcam. He played the guitar for me and I could see and hear him from the other side of the world.
We emailed back and forth for a long time, but only after six months, we could not continue anymore. It seemed unrealistic to keep a summer romance going for two years when we were both in high school while living in two different countries, so many miles apart. The first crush was therefore pushed aside, but every time I heard “Nothing Else Matters” since then, I always thought about him.
10 years later …
Since the summer of 2005, I thought of George from time to time. But the years went by with high school and later my education, and that summer vacation ended up being nothing but a sweet memory.
In the fall of 2015, I was about to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I had planned to go travelling after graduating, as I didn’t have anything holding me back in Denmark. At some point during the winter, on a cold evening on December 28th to be precise, I just so happened to hear “Nothing Else Matters”, and immediately the memory of the Greek American was back.
I really wanted to find George again, so I sent him a friend request on Facebook. Very shortly after, he accepted it and wrote me a message: “Wow, what a blast from the past!” I answered back, and from that day, we began texting back and forth again. When I completed my education in January 2016, the plan was originally to take a trip to Australia, but after the renewed contact with George, the plan was changed and my trip took me to the United States. I wanted to visit the American who made me weak in the knees when I was 16, to see if it was still the case as 27 years old!