1. The makeover scene. Where the girl emerges from the change room, transformed from mousy to foxy.
2. The morning after scene. Where the girl wakes up after a night of tequila shots, sees the person next to her, and goes “Shit…”
Let’s just say this is not a scene where I try on 20 different outfits.
So the next morning, I quickly gathered my things, and tried to sneak out as quietly as possible. However, having the nickname Klumsy Kat, I soon knock over a couple of lamps and chairs. Jun got up and asked if I was ok.
“Trip in few hours! Gotta run!” I tried to act cool.
“Well, don’t run. Lemme call you a cab…” He said as he looked around for his cellphone.
“No it’s ok!” I quickly protested, not wanting to stick around and wait. “Bus! No problem!”
“Are you sure?” He offered one last time, seeing that I already had my hands on the door handle.
“Yes. Yes.” I paused, not sure what else to say except “Alright bye!”.
In high school, a friend wrote us into a SATC styled fan fiction and made me the Samantha character. I said “Thanks!” then went on to imagine myself with closets of shoes and racks of men. But of course, none of us were actually getting laid at the time…We were writing fan fictions for God sakes!
On the ride back however, I couldn’t stop feeling conflicted and regretful. I wondered how other people did it, one night stands that is. Even though this was technically a two (three?) night stand.
Some Samantha I was…
I wondered if my feelings had anything to do with society’s conditioning; encouraging men to be players while shaming women for the same behavior.
Then I thought ‘Duh! Of course it did!’
However, acknowledging that didn’t chase away the confused feelings, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it as the bus came to my stop. I quickly got off, packed, then got back on again. This time headed to the Shanghai railway station.
I almost forgot about our altercation until I saw Carlos and Will. Having had no time to process anything since our conversation, I wasn’t sure whether to act mad or nonchalant. Mostly I was just embarrassed at myself for not having better comebacks last night. But to this day, I still don’t know what I could have said to him, except “Sucks for yo mama for having a son like you!”
So I chose to act like nothing was wrong. It was my trip too and I wanted to enjoy it rather than have it ruined by him. That would mean he got to me. That would mean he wins.
“Hey! Where is everyone else?” I greeted them, mostly talking to Will.
“Ronnie went to get food.” Will replied, “Fredrik and Fahad are on their way.”
“Lukas and Lucy are unreachable. Probably having a fight…again” Carlos chimed in.
Those two have been having problems ever since Lucy moved here. I often stayed in their guestroom after a night of partying, and got to witness their fights first hand. They would fight about everything. About Lucy not having a job. About Lucy’s English being bad. About Lucy’s jealousy.
I often witnessed Lukas flirting with other girls, but never said anything. Not really my problem is it? Plus he also flirted with girls right in front of her, so if she’s ok with it, who I am to stir the pot?
But sometimes Lukas can be so disrespectful that it made me uncomfortable. He often made fun of Lucy in front of everyone, usually about her not being very smart. Once she got drunk and started slurring her words, he said “Why would you guys give her alcohol? Her brain is normally 90% empty as it is!”
All the guys laughed.
I couldn’t do anything except cradle her in my lap while holding a plastic bag in front of her.
Lukas being an asshole was no longer a secret, but I never paid much attention to Carlos before now.
After last night however, it was like getting my blinders torn off violently. All of a sudden everything came to light. I realized that him and Lukas are just two peas in a pod, except he was less obvious about it.
My brain was suddenly flooded with memories of all the times that he made fun of Helen. Her English wasn’t good enough to pick up the subtle implications, so she usually laughed along. I never thought they were funny, because he just wasn’t very clever. Normally I had a repertoire of comebacks to shut him up, except of course when he outright called me a whore, then I was speechless. It wasn’t a joke anymore, so I couldn’t use humor, my one and only defense mechanism.
Lukas and Lucy showed up just as we were about to miss our train. Lukas cracked more jokes about Lucy, but I was too tired to care, so I put on a pair of headphones and slept.
For the remainder of the trip, I temporarily forgot my troubles and managed to have fun. We stayed at a hostel the first night in a town called Tunxi. Ronnie spent the night harassing Fredrik to let her see his six-pack. Her wish was granted when she accidentally caught him changing. At which point, she promptly ran away blushing.
The next day, we went to a “Yellow Mountain Expert” by the name of Mr. Woo. Mr. Woo was a middle aged Chinese man who spoke better English than me (I? Me?), and booked hotels for expats. He also mapped out a “secret” scenic route for us which the locals do not know about.
It was four hours of uphill climbing, getting lost and Lucy screaming “I’m dying! This is worse than death!!!” the whole time.
We found our way out just as it started to rain and everyone was on their last breath.
Lucy jumped up and down screaming “Yes! Yes! Finally, we reached the top!”
Then we realized that we have finally, at last, arrived at… the entrance!
Yes, we were at the base of the mountain. All the locals took a cable car up to the entrance.
Lucy instantly collapsed to the ground.
After a brief rest and many tears (from Lucy), we decided to buy tickets and continue our journey up the mountain. Or should I say “start”?
To be honest, my favorite part of the trip was getting lost. There were indeed amazing scenery to be found on that desolated path.
The official visitor’s path however, was paved with man made stairs rather than mountainous terrain. There were so many people, all I could really see were butts, butts and more butts.
Being a tiny little Asian lady finally paid off as I zigzagged my way up like a motorcycle during rush hour. Will made himself Gandalf styled walking sticks from tree branches, and challenged me to a race.
“I beat you at beer chugging last night and I will beat you again!” I said as I gladly accepted his challenge.
The two of us sprinted up the mountain and pushed past old ladies and Chinese girls in high heels.
After about two hours, we called a time out to take a rest. Fahad, a tall, muscly guy, was making his way up and all I could hear was “Fuck me! Fuck this! If I only knew! Never should have fucking come!” Fredrik was slightly behind him, also bitching like a little girl.
I nudged Will as I pointed and laughed at them, except he now busy answering a phone call.
“Shit…Ronnie is pissed at me.” Will said when he hung up.
“Why?” I asked.
“She was crying and said I ditched her. She didn’t have her rain poncho, and is now soaked.” He said guiltily “I should go back.”
“Yeah” I agreed.
I climbed to the top by myself, but couldn’t really gloat about the win.
The rest of the night was tension filled as everyone heard about the fight between Ronnie and Will. It was made even more uncomfortable when we discovered that Mr. Woo had booked all nine of us in the same room. Which still would have been fine, until I found out…
There was only one bathroom!!!
I instantly collapsed to the ground.