I have never been shy at professing love for men. It is not my strong suit to be coy about my likes. I mean I have never fully understood the mentality of “I like you but I don’t dare to tell you and hope that one day you’ll find out”. If you leave it to men, they’ll never know! They are pretty dense in the relationship matter (if you ever have been victim to one such dense man, you’ll fully understand what I mean).

But it came down to this one man whom I finally grew shy about. I always found it ironic that the more I put up a brave act and declare I will never do this and that, the more likely I will encounter the “this and that” and accept it, contrary to my will. So it is just one of those situations. We found each other snooty on the first encounter (which we later admitted and laughed about). He’ll pretend not to acknowledge my presence when I came up to him to ask about work. If I ask him too difficult a question, he’ll reply “Damn you!” and we’ll start another round of giggles. In my dictionary, Laughter is the best link between two individuals who need not necessarily be like-minded. It is something that connects one person to another. It is a weird friendship which I grew to treasure. It was heartwarming to hear his anecdotes about the dog-which-walked-home-by-itself, the Vietnamese pancakes his mom made (told when we ordered vietnamese pancakes in Bangkok, not knowing what to expect and his apparent jubilation at discovering they were authentic) and make fun of his apparent dislike for the rain.

I’ll include the story of the dog-which-walked-home-by-itself because it is my favourite story by him and because I may read this in the future again so it’ll serve as good memory. So he has this dog which grew fat under his parents’ tender administrations. When it grew fat, it grew lazy too (i found this story particular poignant because it sounded like me…). In a bid to be a good master to the dog and because he probably genuinely cares for the dog’s health, he decided to walk the dog one day. After walking for a short distance, the dog turned back and decided to walk home “because it couldn’t take it anymore”. Okay, maybe not particularly funny if you read about it but it was hysterical, the way he told the story.

I used to have this suspicion that he prefers another girl over me and even if there is a remote possibility he likes me in return, it will not be a good idea given our professional relationship. Anyway, I tried to curb such pessimistic thoughts after I went to a fortune-teller one day. I know how everyone thinks fortune tellers are unreliable and they probably are. But I figured that if a fortune-teller actually dishes out good advice, regardless whether he is a phony or not, I should follow it because it makes me a better person. And I did. I found myself happier, succumbing less to my negative thoughts.

On our annual company Christmas dinner, i was dressed to the nines out of vanity and I wanted to look pretty (partly for him). He sat himself beside me for dinner, we went out partying together and he was sweet to me the entire night. I know it might not mean anything but there were many firsts he did which even if they do not mean anything more to him, I was contented to just remember it. When I was lost in the throes of people getting into the club, he actually left the rest of the people and came out to look for me and that was a first. He asked what drink I wanted and disappeared in a flash to get it and that was a first. He made me walk in front of him when we were squeezing through the crowd (he did that for the others too as a gentlemanly gesture) and I felt protected. Late into the night, he asked if I wanted to get another drink with him and we went to a quiet spot which sold non-alcoholic beverages and sat there talking till even later, never once complaining he was tired even though he usually does. When another who lived in the same building he did left, he did not get up to go, he stayed and kept me company. In short, it was worth remembering because I spent time with him alone which we usually wouldn’t do and because I actually felt he wanted to spend time with me too.

Always believe in the power of music. As I was listening to Corrinne May’s powerful vocals serenading the hall and her narration of childhood Christmas stories, i thought of past occurrences, of love, joy, sorrow and giving. I saw myself engaging in silly scenarios that used to make me cry and indulging in senseless emotions that left me raw. I saw the other man I used to care so much for and felt a deep sense of desolation. I saw flashbacks of the Christmas night and then …. i saw him. I never thought one day, I’ll find a man who touches my heart in a way that I light up just thinking of the way his dimples dance. But I’ll never tell him I like him, because I’m afraid of what will happen. I’m not one to be afraid of rejection but I am scared of anything that would change the way our laughter would forever sound to our ears. The last thing I want to do is for him to act different the way he is now for the remaining amount of time we have left – to allow me to remember the way his eyebrows arch and how his cunning dimples come into view, making my heart skip a beat before he heads home, never to return.

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