Traveling to Ireland for spring break was something that I always wanted to do, but I never imagined that I’d meet the father of my favorite celebrity: Niall Horan of the band, One Direction. I have followed Niall and the rest of the boys for years. I’ve stayed up until midnight to listen to their newly released music, bought all their albums, seen them in concert, and even met them back in 2012. That was one of the highlights of my study-abroad experience and one of the most vivid images in my mind.
It all started with a visit to Niall’s hometown and the craving for my favorite beverage: pulp-less orange juice. Since pulp-less orange juice is not common in Morocco, my day was already made when my orange-juice-deprived-self saw a whole aisle dedicated to it in the local Tesco.
I was making my way to the refrigerated beverage section when I spotted a face that looked too familiar. It didn’t even take me a second to recognize the face of Niall’s father behind the meat counter. Although I usually disregard this section back home, I literally ran to speak with this man who is like God to me. I could not have been more excited to engage in conversation with him. What better person to talk to about my love for Niall Horan than his dad?
“Excuse me. Are you Bobby Horan?” I asked, even though I knew the answer better than the back of my hand. As he formulated a response, I began to sort out what I should and shouldn’t say. After all, Niall does not know me personally. So it would probably be strange to mention certain facts that I know about him to his father. “I love your son,” I said, without waiting for a response.
He laughed, “Well that’s something we have in common.”
Wow, I thought, I love this man. We began to talk about Niall, occasionally bringing in Harry and the other band members as well. Bobby mentioned that he had watched Niall grow up through the media, and that the last time Niall was home was around Christmas. We talked about Niall for an hour straight before Bobby asked me for my name.
I was caught off guard. How could my own father-in-law not know my name? I’ve followed him and Niall for years. Wait, I thought, dumbfounded. What even is my name? Eventually I replied, “Michelle,” in a slightly puzzled voice.
Niall’s dad laughed as he asked me to tell him more about myself. I told him that I was from Connecticut and I was studying abroad in Morocco, which surprised him.
“How do you like that?” he asked. He then cut some ham for a customer. “This is Michelle,” he told her. “She’s studying abroad in Morocco. She loves my son.” The woman laughed in approval.
“Wait here,” Niall’s dad said before I could say anything more. He disappeared into a back room and shortly returned holding a small piece of paper. “This is for you. I had Niall sign some pictures for fans for Christmas. This is the last one left over.”
My eyes became teary at this exciting news. A real-life picture that the real-life Niall Horan touched, for me. “I’m gonna cry,” I stated when the picture was in my possession. I glanced down at my phone and gasped, realizing that I was now a whole hour late to breakfast. “I have to go but can I please get a picture with you first?” I asked. Niall’s dad nodded and I snapped a quick picture, then ran out of the store, toward a taxi, completely forgetting my orange juice but holding onto Niall’s picture for dear life.
After arriving back at our bed and breakfast, I posted the pictures on Twitter as Paxton and I indulged in eggs, bread, tater tots, and bacon. To my surprise, the post blew up almost immediately, resulting in around three thousand retweets and two thousand favorites. Due to the multiplying replies and congratulations, the app would crash after two seconds every time I opened it. In the end, I gained almost two thousand followers on Twitter and a hundred on Instagram.
Due to my new Internet fame, I have been advised to put the signed picture of Niall up for sale so I can make a lot of money. But not even the thought of billions of dollars can compare to the exhilaration I feel whenever I look at my prized picture of Niall. That picture will be something that I will treasure for the rest of my life, even when Niall and I are married.