For 6 weeks in 2016, Marlee Mansour (31) was basically living her very own episode of Sex And The City.

That is, she took a Spanish lover who showed her what true romance looks like – in a passionate and exciting love affair that Queensland girls aren’t typically treated to.

And by Spanish, she means some sort of South American.

Also, if we are being realistic – in this Carrie Bradshaw style fantasy, New York is actually Brisbane. And true romance means casual sex and a fair bit of marijuana.

His name was Antonio, and they met on Caxton street. He stood out from the other blokes at Hotel LA, because he could actually dance and didn’t resort to violently assaulting fellow patrons to get her attention.

While the relationship was only ever serious enough to tell mum about, Marlee did hold high hopes of it developing into something long-term enough for her to tell dad about.

Immediately, she began polishing up on her language skills, with hopes of being able to impress his family and friends with fluent Spanish when the time came to visit his homeland.

Sadly, just like the love affair that every Australian mum had with Ricky Martin in the late 1990s, Marlee’s fantasy was never to be.

But Antonio wasn’t gay, he was just on a working visa that required him to endure 3 months of gruelling labour in the Outback if he wanted to stay in Australia. That was too much of an ask, and just like that Marlee learnt that their flame didn’t burn bright enough for Antonio to spend 88 days picking fruit and sleeping in a sweltering shipping container out the back of some redneck’s farm in North Queensland.

Men have come and gone since – including her current boyfriend that she’ll probably end up marrying – but the flame still burns bright enough for Marlee to peruse Antonio’s social media activity every time she has a hangover bad enough to trigger an existential crisis.

While Antonio’s Instagram currently shows that he’s exploring alternative medicines and working as a deckhand in Thailand with a couple kids to a dreadlocked Kiwi woman, Marlee hasn’t forgotten her own Spanish Boy Summer – and prefers to remember the unskilled Latino backpacker that she knew.

The fading memory limps on, in her phone, in the shape of the Duolingo app that burns through her iPhone storage space with all the Spanish language tips that she’ll never revisit.


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