My almost fairytale ending makes The Australian Bachelor's Honey Badger look like Man of the Year when it comes to mastering how to let a woman down gently.
It had been my last night in the Philippines, two years ago, when I met Aaron* on board a cruise ship.
You could say there was a modern-day Jack and Rose, Titanic vibe to the entire encounter — if Jack and Rose were both backpackers.
I began chatting to Aaron after I recognised the book he was reading was one I had tried to sink my teeth into many times over.
It was Bill Bryson's science read, A Short History of Nearly Everything and I quizzed his progress with it.
I admitted to him that parts of the paper brick had completely flown over my head.
Soon enough, our conversation seemed to expand to topics, as far-reaching as those in his book.
My own personal Leonardo
Meeting Aaron felt like the collision of a neutron star and we ended up speaking non-stop for eight hours, under the blanket of stars across the Filipino sky.
My own personal Leonardo had arrived to save me from what could have been a tedious and uncomfortable night alone, attempting to sleep in a tiny communal bunk bed, on a budget cruise ship, with my luggage taking up most of the space.
Sorry modern-day Leo, no space for you on this bunk either.
Despite how romantic the night was, as we passed islands on the top deck beneath the moonlight, we didn't share a kiss.
We are like passing ships in the night, we went our separate ways after the ship docked, and I gave him my business card in the hope he would contact me soon.
I didn't have to wait long until the first email arrived, and a back and forth correspondence ensued.
That was over two and a half years ago.
During that time, my curiosity kept lingering on our one-off in-person encounter.
Were we ever going to meet again?
After a phone chat, we decided to do something about it and agreed to meet up again.
Since we both lived on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, we began brainstorming about where exactly we should meet up.
Fast forward to December 2018, and there I was, waiting at Frankfurt airport with a handmade sign held high.
My heart was fluttering wilder than the world's biggest butterfly zoo.
It was a case of playing a real-life Where's Wally as I searched for Aaron among the flurry of people in the terminal.
Turns out, I had been waiting at the wrong gate (of course I was) and hurriedly found my way to the right one.
If only a crew from Channel 9 were following me around that day, I would have given them the real chemistry that Married At First Sight so desperately needs — they wouldn't have required an editing team to amplify the romantics.
Soon enough, I saw his red-beanie, and he spotted my black Russian hat among the crowd.
As I skipped towards him, he dropped his bag and, without a moment's hesitation, he grabbed my face with such passion and gave me the kiss of a lifetime.
It was truly the longest kiss I have ever experienced and I'd had to wait so long for it to finally happen, that it was almost like a dream.
We soon snapped back into reality, joking about my corny handmade sign as we collected our car for what would be an epic 12-day road trip, traversing Germany's Black Forest.
12 days together
We traded the stereotypical summer beach romance for a cosy cottage in the German mountains, overlooking some spectacular scenery — which allegedly inspired the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Would this be the setting to my own Happily Ever After?
Our days were filled with hiking through snow-capped forests, chasing waterfalls, exploring castles, visiting art galleries and going on day trips to France.
To top off those magical days were some seriously enchanted nights where we would stroll through the region's Christmas markets.
I was living out my fairytale in this place that oozed beauty and perfect weather for staying close to one another.
Not to mention I was stuck all alone with a tall, handsome prince — or in my version, a blue-eyed punk rocker.
But, as it would soon turn out, this Disney Princess would soon been introduced to the not so charming side to her Prince Charming. Sigh.
Not all sunshine and rainbows
Aaron and I were with each other night and day during this trip.
For the most part, we got on exceptionally well. Our conversations weren't superficial at all.
We laughed, we had good banter, we even created in-jokes, gave each other nicknames and admired old music together.
But we would soon learn that staying in the middle of nowhere for 12 days, with only each other for company, was always going to test us.
Regardless of how infatuated we were with one another, our companionship was going to falter at some point or another.
A few days into our trip, Aaron told me he thought we were different people.
I took this badly, seeing as I believed we were getting on famously.
For the most part, I am an extrovert, and he is an introvert.
I took his words as to mean that he did not see us being compatible and that made me feel anxious about us.
But after a while I started to think about the concept of Yin and Yang as well as Paula Abdul's nostalgic pop tune Opposites Attract.
Then I thought about Jack and Rose on that boat, The Little Mermaid and her Prince Eric, and even real life couples who come from opposing worlds and make it work.
Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — who managed to make love bloom despite their differences — and look how well they're doing!
There were times when I questioned if his feelings for me had waned, and if this fling would ever actually go anywhere.
His messages were often so mixed, I truly couldn't tell.
But ultimately, I came to realise that this was probably tougher on his part than it was on mine, and that he deserved space and time alone.
The trip away with Aaron was an incredible getaway nonetheless, and we parted ways at Frankfurt airport, promising to keep in touch.
And then . . . nothing
When we said our goodbyes, there was no melodrama, tears or proclamations of love, but there were sweet kisses, jokes and lingering hugs.
We continued to enjoy each other's company until we were forced to board our planes.
Neither of us said goodbye, but parted with an "until we meet again" attitude, both agreeing to visit each other at one point within the next 12 months.
Since then, Aaron, the guy who travelled from America to Germany to be with me has completely disappeared.
He has ghosted me.
Not even the team from Ghostbusters would be able to crack this mystery.
I tried to reach out to him, but received barely enough to fill an old school 140-character tweet with.
It was as though the romantic rendezvous was something I dreamt up. It happened, and it was real.
Without rhyme or reason, Aaron had disappeared from my life — he was gone.
To perform a disappearing act on someone is absolutely heartbreaking.
I know I gave those days with Aaron all I had.
I was even committed to delivering much more.
But to ghost someone is just wrong.
At least the Honey Badger had the decency to deliver closure to the other parties in the final chapter.