Johan flew back from Guilin and came straight to my place.
“I’m exhausted!” He took off his massive hiking bag and collapsed on the couch.
“I’ve missed you!” I squealed and smothered him with kisses. “And BOY are you black!”
He chuckled at my Chinese way of saying he’s tanned, “No Shanghai pollution to protect me from the sun.”
“So? How was it???” I asked, eager to hear about his trip, but mostly just glad he’s back.
He showed me pictures on his cellphone, and told me about Yangshuo, a more scenic and less touristy town near Guilin. The mud bath looked especially fun. I wished I had gone with them.
He finished his story and grinned to himself, “You know what I kept thinking the whole time?”
“How much more fun it would have been if you were there.”
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and I was reminded of the elephant in the room.
“We should probably talk about…” I got choked up before I could finish.
“Yeah.” He knew exactly what I was talking about.
I took a deep breath, “It was all I could think about while you were gone.” I didn’t go into details about how tormented I felt this whole week.
“So…what do you think?” He asked tentatively.
I swallowed and continued the speech that I rehearsed a million times, “It seems to me that we only have two choices. Either try long distance or…or…”
“Or break up.” He finished my sentence.
“Yeah.” I said sadly and wondered if he felt the same way. “Long distance is extremely difficult. We are guaranteed to fight. And what if…”
“You meet someone else.” He finished my sentence again.
“Or you do.” I added.
He squinted the way he always does whenever he plots. “If we do long distance and we break up, it’ll end on bad terms. However…” He stroked his chin as he continued to think aloud. “Let’s say we break up and you meet someone else in Toronto. I could always go there a year later and mess it all up.”
I must be getting used to his way of thinking because I was genuinely touched by that. The fact that he wanted us to be together in the end, however convoluted the plan was, was well…kind of appealing. The idea of two guys fighting over me was exciting. I would be like Rachel McAdams in the Vow.
“What do you want to do?” He asked, and I snapped back to reality.
I swallowed again before working up the courage to tell him my feelings.
“Despite all the reasons not to, I still want to try long distance.”
I wanted to tell him that while long distance seemed difficult, breaking up would be unimaginably painful. I just can’t imagine, nor do I want to, be with anyone else.
I can’t imagine finding anyone else who could make me laugh like a hyena when I’m with them and smile like an idiot when I think of them.
I love that we could always have fun doing nothing at all. I love spending sunday mornings debating about where to eat, then sharing dessert as we browsed the mall for dinner places. I love how instead of being embarrassed, he’d join me when I start spontaneously dancing in public.
I wanted to tell him how much I love his fat, playdough earlobes, the mischievous sparkle in his eyes, and how his hair look like Einstein’s when he wakes up in the morning.
Food somehow taste better, and life seemed infinitely more exciting whenever we are together.
So while I could probably find someone better, why would I want better when I already have the best?
However, before I could say any of that, he said “Ok I’m in.”
“Wait!” I protested, taken aback by his decisiveness. “Don’t you want to think about it? This is a big decision! I’d rather you say no than agree to something you’re not sure about!”
I had prepared myself to get hurt that I didn’t know how to react to a positive response.
“I’ve never done it before because I’ve never wanted to.” He said thoughtfully. “But I want to try it with you.”
Johan was not one to act impulsively, so I had a suspicion that he had thought more about it than he led on. Perhaps his past week were just as sleepless as mine.
I sat there quietly as I attempted to digest our decision. Some dramatic gesture seemed appropriate at a moment such as this. I had a sudden urge to shake his hand.
Johan stared back me equally as intense and said in his most serious voice “So…what should we order for dinner?”