After maintaining a long-distance relationship, they were finally ready to move in together in early 2020. Then the pandemic hit.
Valentina, who was studying in New York City, returned to Chile, while Rafael was in Spain. The two decided to get married so that Rafael would be allowed to enter Chile through the country’s lockdown exceptions.
Since they were not yet in the same country, Valentina had a proxy marriage with an acquaintance who represented Rafael. “We got married in this tiny office while my boyfriend was in the dentist,” Valentina said. “I’m not going to say that it was romantic because it wasn’t.”
By October 2020, Valentina and Rafael were able to reunite in Santiago, Chile. She showed up at the airport hours early in anticipation. “It all came back to me — the smell, the feeling of his beard against my cheeks,” she said.