As a 22-year-old American girl, I had my hesitations moving to Cape Town, South Africa alone. This is why I made the conscious decision to live in a 17-bedroom house where people were always coming and going. Within the span of four months, I lived with 28 strangers--all from different countries, cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. But while my relationship with each of these strangers was unique and fulfilling, one relationship during my time in Cape Town rose above all the rest.
One of my 28 housemates was James, a dashing South African model with rock hard abs and a perfect jaw line. While James was kindhearted and sincere in many ways, he was what one might call a proper Fuckboy (see Hey Violet's "Fuqboi" for reference). He was always talking to multiple girls on Tinder and asking them on dates on different days of the week. One of the girls James #swipedright was Elizabeth.
When James asked Elizabeth to come to our house-party one Saturday night I thought it was going to be the usual routine. She would come over, he would spend the whole night telling her how beautiful she is and touching her legs, and ultimately they would sleep together. But from the moment I met Elizabeth I knew it wasn't going to be the same.
A law student from England studying abroad in Cape Town, Elizabeth was smart and interesting. While I began talking to her with the intension of being James' wing-woman, before I knew it we had been talking for hours and James was nowhere to be seen. From that night on, Elizabeth and I were inseparable. Sharing a passion for being active, we were constantly going on hikes together and exploring waterfalls. She gave me an appreciation for British Gin, and I showed her what a proper American Thanksgiving dinner looked like. When we went out, guys would ask us if we were a couple and we would just laugh and nod because we would rather spend the limited time we had together rather than sleeping with guys we'd never see again. Before long, people wondered if we were twins separated at birth and raised in different countries--Parent Trap style--because we had so much in common and were already so close. Honestly, it could be true...Elizabeth is the Annie James to my Hallie Parker.
All of my favorite memories from Cape Town are with Elizabeth. Belting Adele's "One and Only" at the tops of our lungs in the car. Smoking joints in hidden caves. Picnicking in the Botanical Gardens as a South African pop star who neither of us have ever heard of performed. Sharing a bottle of wine on Signal Hill watching the sun set over the ocean. Elizabeth and James never hooked up. But thanks to Tinder, I met my best friend in Cape Town.
Elizabeth and I still talk every day. But with her in London and me in New York, it is unclear when we will ever seen each other again. If this contest isn't fate, then I don't know what is.