(two pairs of slippers, two European countries, two weeks)
Today, out of the blue, I decided to login to a social network site that I’ve not been using for ages. Unexpectedly, S, the first person whom I’ve confessed my feelings to, started chatting with me. After the usual “How are you?” and other pleasantries, she suddenly said “Guess what?! I’m nearer to you now!” She kept asking me to guess where she is right now. Hong Kong and China were my two guesses but in the end it seems like she’s back in Japan once again, this time in Kobe.
After a quick mental calculation, I realized that we have known each other for almost 10 years now. We were once living under the same roof of a nice elderly Ojisan, W-san. I just moved out of an international student hostel, while she had stayed with W-san for a few years. The one thing I remembered clearly was that I was totally captivated by her the moment she came down the stairs.
Those were the last six months of my stay in Japan, the time when I only needed to complete my thesis before getting my degree. I should have been at my busiest, yet my heart was no longer in it. She was just retrenched by her company, so she had plenty of time on her hands while she was job searching.
Because of her, I went out more than usual, I laughed more and I was much easier to get along with. It was springtime, so I went out fairly often with her and other friends to see the sakura. I cooked for her every night. I asked her what she liked to eat and then went to the market for ingredients. Stir-frying, stewing, deep-frying, roasting, boiling and steaming; chicken, beef, pork, seafood and seasonal vegetables. I was happy and contented just watching her gulp down my cooking.
We even went backpacking to Italy and France after my oral defense. I was a poor student then while she was jobless, so to stretch our budget, she suggested that we do couchsurfing. It was something that I as an introvert would have never thought to do. Yet, in order to not disappoint her, I agreed, much to my own surprise, deciding to throw caution to the wind and go along with her plans to sleep on strangers’ couches. I was really out of my comfort zone but I was willing to take the plunge. All because of her. In the end, she took charge of contacting the hosts for our accommodations, while I took care of itinerary planning and transportation arrangements.
Those were the happiest, yet most torturous 14-days of my life as I was unable to tell her truly how I felt about her. I wanted so much to hold her hand while we strolled along those fantastic beaches. I wanted to kiss her while she was sleeping next to me on a shared bed. I wanted to hold her in my arms while we watched those magnificent sunrises and sunsets. Alas, all throughout the trip I had to suppress those feelings, keeping my distance and pretending that we were just friends, although we were once mistaken to as being a couple by this elderly husband and wife in Italy. I was elated when I heard them but I had to pretend not to hear, much less react to what they said.
In short, those six months were the happiest time of my stay in Japan, although it was also the time I had the most mixed-feelings with plenty of highs and lows.
After those six months, we went back to our own country. Having decided not to stay in Japan, I went back that September after getting my degree. As for her, she went back home a month before me as her savings ran out before she could secure a job. She lived in the city, while I went back to the little town where my parents were living.
After struggling for more than a month, I decided to confess my feelings via email, even though I know the chances of her reciprocating were close to nil. As expected, the “you are like a sister to me” from her became the first of many rejections I would get later in my life.
It took me more than two years to get over this six-month crush. Was I too naive, too infatuated or too persistent? Maybe all of the above but I do not regret falling for her.
Because of her, I like eating red tomatoes. Because of her, I realized that I’m happy and willing to cook for the person I love. Because of her, I realized that I can change for the person I love. Because of her, I realized that I have the capacity to love. Because of her, I realized I am willing to make sacrifices and do anything for the person I love. Because of her, I realized I am human after all, one who will become irrational when it comes to love. Thus, even though we can never be together, I still hope that she’ll be safe and happy.
Now that she is, alone, working in Japan, the only thing I can do is to give her my sincere wishes, “S, all the very best!!”
(編輯: LeeWang Ching; Zac) (Photo credit: Alexis)