Chapter 18- Christmas on a Beach (part 2)

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After finding out that Linda (UK gal) and Jacob (UK guy) were not a couple, I became intrigued.

The feasibility of an actual relationship was never my concern. I only had one thing on my mind: Dating.

Sorry for overusing the “candy= guys” analogy, but having only had Snickers so far, I wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to try the KitKats, the O’Henrys, and maybe even *gasp* The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

I never understood how people can marry their first girlfriend/boyfriend. How do you know they’re the one??? I needed to explore all my prospects before settling down with just one type of Candy for the rest of my life. That’s a long time of eating only Snickers!

If my ex was a Snickers, then Jacob was a white-chocolate-covered Twix. Both of them were over 6 feet tall, but that’s where the similarities end. He was mild mannered, quiet and extremely soft-spoken. The exact opposite of my ex.

I had a feeling that every guy from now on would be compared to my ex.

He was also not very aggressive, the most we did was hold hands. I think he tried to kiss me at one point, but it took too long and I got distracted by something shiny.

Once the trip was over, he said I should visit him in Guangzhou, and I invited him to Shanghai. We promised to keep in touch on Wechat. (like Whasapp but better) Of course in my head, I was like “Yeah right, it’s over.”

To my surprise, he texted right when he landed, and we continued to keep in touch after that.

Fast forward a few months to Chinese New Year.

He asked me where I was going for the upcoming break. I told him I was going to visit my dad’s family in Hunan province. He said that’s really close to him.

Now, people make a lot of empty gestures, especially expats in China. “Yeah, let’s totally meet up again!” “Sure I’ll make that quiche for you some time!” Then you never see eachother again.

People just say things sometimes!

So when he mentioned not knowing where to go for Chinese New Year. I said “Feel free to come visit me in Hunan!”

I didn’t expect him to actually take me up on the offer.

The next thing I know, my dad and I were picking him up from the train station.

I didn’t go out of my way to show him around, but he did come along on all of our family outings. It was awkward, explaining to everyone that “No, this big tall British man was not my boyfriend.” My grandma especially, did not understand.

After about 2 days, I was exhausted! I was tired of having to translate everything for him, when I had trouble understanding him myself! I said he was soft-spoken before. What I meant was he was the World’s Quietest Talker Ever! Plus that accent…

Here’s a typical conversation:

Jacob- “So I really sfsaewrwersdfsfs( incomprehensible)”

Me-  “Oh, yeah so true.” *smile nod*

Aunt- (in Chinese) “What did he say???”

Me- (In Chinese) “I don’t know” *shrug*

After another day or two, I finally found my way out.

Chinese new year was the worst time for travelling within China. It was so busy that he was unable to pre-purchase a return ticket. So I asked my aunt to pull some strings and get him a ticket. She said the best thing that she could get was in a week, unless he wanted to leave tomorrow morning.

“Tomorrow! Tomorrow!!!! Get him the ticket for TOMORROW!!!” I may have seemed a bit too eager.

When I gave him that ticket, I apologized and pretended it was the only option available. In my head I justified it as “He must want to leave just as badly. I was giving him an out.”

I sighed with relieve as I closed that chapter.

Or so I thought.

—-

Fast forward a few more months.

Out of nowhere I get a call from him, saying he was in Shanghai. I think there was a delay in his flight or he was stuck at the airport somehow.

I was rushing to class, so I told him I couldn’t talk, but gave him Jenny’s phone number.

She told me later that Jacob needed a place to stay for a few days, so Alan gave him the keys to his dorm. They were also going to take him around Shanghai, and that I should come.

I mumbled “Sure, maybe. I have plans this entire weekend, but text me and I’ll try to join.”

I considered going, but then decided I had better plans. I also didn’t feel like having more awkward conversations, so I made sure to avoid running into him in the hallways. (It involved a lot of peeking out, then stepping out. Like a mouse.)

After he left, Jenny asked what happened to me this weekend.

“He showed up without notice, it was too late to change my plans!” I justified myself.

“He really liked you, the least you could do was say Hi.”

“No, we’re just friends.” I replied with a straight face.

“He rode a 6-hour train to see you! Each way!” She said with disbelief.

“No…I extended a friendly invite. He took me up on it. It wasn’t a marriage proposal.” I said in defense, suspiciously echoing Lukas’ speech.

“You can be such an asshole sometimes.” Annie chimed in from across the office.

Shut up Annie! What do you know!

—–

As I write this, I noticed a pattern to my behavior. Which I like to call “The Coward’s Guide to Life”, or “DIJA”.

D- Deny

I- Ignore

J- Justify (my actions in my head)

A- Avoid

Again, this is all in hindsight. At the time, everything would happen subconsciously without me realizing.

However, the universe has a way of doing onto you, what you’ve done to others.

If only to make you realize what an asshole you were.

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