actuality.log


All entries tagged 'maiden'

Tuesday, April the 27th, 2010

“Do you like me as a girl?”

“What?” I muttered back in surprise to meet her tired, green eyes staring softly at me. As I continued to gawk mutely, she gracefully knelt beside me on the couch to elaborate on her question. “Well, it’s clear you really like me as a friend. Do you like me as a girl?”

Of course I did! Did she think I’d have invited her home so quickly after getting introduced, and stayed up all night talking about anything and everything if I didn’t?

I am not entirely sure how it all began.

A close friend of a close friend, it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon her at one gathering or another and we’d get to talking. I think it was the evening we’d all been out to the neighbouring comedy club. The comedienne was mediocre, and my mind had begun to wander. I was drawn to the softness of her eyes and the genuineness of her smile from the instant I noticed her. Her dirty blonde hair, parted and held in place with a cute, purple clip—much like a young girl would have worn it—was framing her face and exposing her expressive eyes behind her chic glasses. The way her nose crinkled every time she tried to adjust them without touching them was adorable!

Everything about her screamed a serenity and a positivity that fascinated me, and I soon braved myself to approach her. Before long, we’d retreated from the group to walk along the pier close by, so that we could focus just on each other.

I remember the smell of the cold ocean breeze hitting my face. I don’t recall anything I said, but I can’t forget how easy it was saying it. That’s been one of the most wonderful things about being with her. Her ability to let you know she genuinely cares about what you have to say: listening, empathising, sharing; without judging. The words escaping her moist, pink lips are ever cheerful, soothing and supportive. You know those people who’re born with innate abilities that make their career choices almost beyond question? I don’t think it will surprise anyone who talks to her for a few minutes to hear that she’s a psychologist.

Parting that evening felt incomplete, but I didn’t think she felt the same way. I was wrong. The next morning, I woke to an e-mail fondly reminiscing the things we’d shared, and sharing some more. How she’d felt challenged by me, and how that was a very good thing. It was clear we had so much more to say to each other, and we decided to meet again as soon as we could. After a few days apart, where annoying life responsibilities—like that lecture I needed to prepare for—got in the way, we found ourselves together at a park. No other friends this time to overwhelm me, just us.

What began at that park in the late afternoon transitioned to my humble abode around midnight. It was early in the morning when she asked me the question; her tired eyes beckoning me for a response.

I wanted to scream out the obvious answer: “Of course! Of course I really, really like you.” But I didn’t. My mind wasn’t prepared for the candidness of her question and it stalled, suddenly nervous, needing to think it through. After a brief, awkward pause, I composed myself and answered it in a strange manner. An honest answer, but still very strange. I don’t know where it all came from—all those probabilities and percentages and all that talk about not being able to open up so much to her if she were a boy instead. I went on an on, talking in circles for what seemed like an eternity until I finally felt I’d blown it and asked, “That wasn’t the right answer, was it?”

“There isn’t a right answer or a wrong one,” she tried to reassure me. “I wanted to know what was going through your mind, and I felt comfortable enough to just come out and ask you. I knew you’d be brave enough to give me a thoughtful answer.”

I’d told her earlier my pantry was bare, and she now suggested we leave to go find breakfast. Quite certain now that I’d blown it, I started to tremble; I spent minutes tying my laces which normally take me seconds. As I was kneeling on the floor fumbling with my shoes, I remarked, “I am not going to turn the question around on you. But I am going to ask you why you asked me.”

“Because I didn’t want to do something indecent,” she sighed softly as she stepped closer beside me. “Indecent? Whatever do you mean?” I egged her on, half-smiling now as I slowly rose. She met my smile with her own. “Like this,” she cooed as she raised herself on her tippy toes and kissed me.

Sunday, November the 15th, 2009

There’s a sweater which, whenever I wear it, never fails to get people fawning over me. It’s this chic, patterned item that works well on its own, but yesterday I had it on as part of a more formal ensemble that aimed for something of a “preppy British schoolboy” look.

The sweater struck again last night.

At a quarter-past-three, as the party was finally winding down, she was huddled close to me baring her every insecurity. She was too drunk to make her own way home, and I only wanted to watch over her to make sure she could safely hail a cab. But she had other plans.

Pressed up against me for support, here she was—one of the prettiest, most confident and capable people I’ve known—telling me how insignificant and uncertain of herself she felt. Her low-cut dress was doing little to hide her ample chest, but I hadn’t the urge to gawk. I held her supportively and listened to what she had to say, trying my best to calm her insecurities with my calm voice. Telling her how I honestly felt about her and her accomplishments; reminding her that she was still young, and had plenty of time ahead of her to explore anything she felt passionate about.

There were a few things about my behaviour last evening that leads me to believe I just might be growing up. First, the thought of taking advantage of her drunkenness didn’t cross my mind. Instead, I felt strangely protective of her. Second, I didn’t fall head over heels for her simply because of her closeness, slinky dress or soft scent. I was looking to be a supportive friend; truly wanting to reassure her that her self-doubts were unfounded, and make sure she got home safe. And finally, it was through reassuring her that I realised how secure I am about fundamental aspects of my self. I might not have figured out where in the world I will be next year, or what I will be doing with my life, but I have no underlying fears about how much I know or what my capabilities are. This awareness of self made me feel rather special, and allowed me to be calm and reassuring without thrusting any of my own neuroses to the fore.

The fact that I was able to serenely pull off all of this—with my actions not being motivated by anything ulterior—makes me feel so much more of an adult. An emotionally-mature adult capable of healthy, sincere relationships with the people I care about.

In other words, I’m beginning to think that maybe it wasn’t the sweater people were fawning over. Maybe it was me.

Sunday, September the 13th, 2009

“Hope for everyone”? “A loving home for every child”? “Home is where the…”?

I was staring at the clichéd words on the sheet of paper before me when I first sensed her. I had promised to help Crayola with the branding and publicity campaign she’d embarked on for Shelter, a small home caring for orphaned children infected with H.I.V. And on a sheet of paper colourful options for logos sketched upon it, I was doodling potentials for a suitable tag line; hoping to come up with something that was relevant, heart-warming and not hackneyed.

I think it was her sweet-smelling perfume as she approached that I picked up on first. I casually glanced upwards with a curious smile only to have her beam back at me with her wide grin and big, lively eyes. As I returned to my doodling, I unconsciously hoped that she would make her way through the crowd to the vacant seat beside me.

“What about, ‘A home for hope’?,” asked a lovely voice interrupting my thought. I had been too engrossed in my scribbling—I really thought I was getting somewhere—to notice her make her way through and sit down beside me. She’d glanced over and gathered what I was doing; and now she was trying to help.

Soon, we were giggling and going through one cheesy phrase after another. When it was obvious we were actively playing with hackneyed phrases just for gag value, we gave up. I folded the heavily-scribbled piece of paper and the lively conversation turned to other things—who we were, what we wanted out of our lives, where we were along those journeys… It was fascinating, and most unexpected. Here I was, talking to someone I’d just met and baring some of my deepest thoughts and opinions. The fact that she had an interesting point of view on just about everything made the affair heavenly.

The minutes spent in the rush-hour traffic had whizzed by, and we’d reached her stop. She grabbed that piece of paper from me and somehow found enough room on it to jot down her phone number—telling me she didn’t want this to end and would love for it to continue. By now, the bus driver was becoming impatient waiting for her to get off. When she hurriedly returned the sheet to me, I didn’t bother looking through it for space to put down my own number. I just got off the bus with her, hand-in-hand. I didn’t intend on letting her go anywhere.

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Saturday, February the 7th, 2009
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and so was she. For she’s a real life pastry chef you see—the cutest one there ever be. Perky, vibrant and giggling with glee, it’s not surprising everyone was her arrestee. Why then did she gaze into me—melancholic, morose and moody me?

I don’t think I’ll ever know, nor do I care if I do, but I am glad that she did. It was a magical couple of weeks and I wish she didn’t have to return to the States.

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Sunday, December the 7th, 2008

I could’ve sworn I had some money in Euro lying around the house. I seem to remember exchanging a lot more currency than I ended up needing during my last trip to Germany, but perhaps I’m just misremembering things. Either that, or I’ve lost a bunch of bank notes during the move to my new apartment. Anyway, it’s not like they don’t have ATMs in Paris, which is where I’m spending this week. I reckon it’s going to be interesting—my mom sent me a long list of her favourite places there which she insists I not miss—but more on that later as events warrant it. We now have bigger fish to fry.

As I run around my home tossing things into my trusty campers’ backpack a few hours before my flight, my mind keeps returning to the events of last night. There she was, pressed up to me whispering in my ear even though the obnoxiously loud music in the club had long since given way to much softer and more relaxed background fare. Her slinky cocktail dress which exquisitely accentuated her delicate form did little to sheath the warmth of her body. I remember being transfixed by the way her tongue-piercing glistened under the subdued lights as her mouth moved, and struggling to string coherent sentences together as I drowned in her intoxicating perfume; but her frequent giggles and pouty smiles seemed to suggest I was doing something right.

It took much of the night, but I was finally beginning to feel relaxed and not completely out of my element. Without the blaring music and the smoke, my system wasn’t on constant sensory overload (at least, not the kind that bothered me!) and the setting quickly became a lot more intimate. It stayed that way for a long while—until it eventually evaporated; an inevitability I was bracing myself for the entire time.

I amn’t going to discuss details, but I believe I do need to take up some form of dance lessons. Not for improving the gracefulness of my movements, but to prevent me from getting petrified and retreating into a shell (not to mention arguing to defend my pitiful chickenhood) when being pushed to.

As I sit here amidst this scattering of paper I rummaged through to look for my Euros for the trip, I can’t help but glance at their contents. Much of them are unfinished journal entries over the years, many of which are desperate pleas and pointless grousing, a sizable chunk serving to highlight the complete history of my sexual failures. I seem to be doing the same things over and over expecting dramatic changes in my life. But the events of last evening, this stack of memories strewn about, everything, points to how absurd a notion that is. If I want my situation to change, I need to change too.

First stop, manning up and signing up for dance lessons. For a while now I ain’t had nothin’ twixt my nethers weren’t run on batteries.

Wednesday, October the 22nd, 2008

I keep working on these in-depth introspective pieces that don’t really go anywhere, and never seem to get done. I think it’s about time I tried something different.

My move to Scandinavia has been far more pleasant than I’d imagined. (Which isn’t really saying very much given my imagination, but you know what I mean.) I’ve gotten to spend far more time outdoors, the people are open, friendly and drag me into their fun, and recently, as the weather has turned unfriendlier and everyone’s spending more time indoors, work has begun to pick up as well.

No longer just a “lowly student,” I’ve taken it upon myself to expand the scope of my work and my responsibilities. I now split my work time roughly in thirds between new, challenging work (which is hard and takes a lot of effort for little payoff), expanding on stuff I worked on during my Ph.D. (which is easy, and involves little effort for sizeable payoff), and finally, helping lost kiddies around the lab who seem to gravitate toward me (which takes substantial effort and offers a reward of a very different kind). All in all, between the intelligent and friendly company, the nearly unlimited resources, and the heavily subsidised food, it’s been a very positive intellectual environment.

The only thing that has irked me thus far has been my ghetto living conditions. Actually, it hasn’t really irked me that much (or you would have heard me whine about it every day), but what really has bothered me is how hard it has been to find a decent replacement. How much ever I enjoy mocking and deriding the U.S. (doesn’t everybody?), things there were usually a lot more streamlined and systematic. If you were willing to pay for something, you usually received it without questions. Here, well, I don’t want to use words like racism, nepotism, and xenophobia (Hey, I just did!), but things are just a lot more convoluted and arbitrary (to my detriment). As a colleague remarked of my experiences, “It’s not surprising, but it’s regrettable.”

Even so, I’m relieved to report that through a recent sequence of events (fortunate or not I am yet to decide), I’ve found myself a nice place to move into. It’s a chic little flat in a quaint little neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s ridiculously expensive, but what the heck, I’m fairly certain I can afford it. (What could possibly go wrong with that kind of logic?)

But I know that still leaves some central questions in your minds: “Why aren’t you ecstatic? What is it about this mysterious ‘recent sequence of events’ you chose to mention but not elaborate upon?” You see loyal reader, the reason this flat even opened up in the first place is because a cute girl I know is moving in with someone else (who she’s known for even less time). And while I am delighted by the location, the view and the ambiance, I’m not particularly thrilled by the context.

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Tuesday, July the 29th, 2008

Or at least, what’s left of it.

Reduced viewership

What do you think it means when a woman tells you she’s “not sure” if she’s single? Does it make a difference that she brought up the topic and volunteered this information to me? (We all know I’m too chicken to speak my mind on the matter.)

What am I then supposed to do?

  • Do I go, “OK, that’s uhh… good to know.” (Not how I feel.)
  • Do I probe for more information? (Scary, and the thought of what I’ll find out puts my tummy in knots.)
  • Should I speak my mind? (Potentially too forward.)
  • Must I sit back and wait until she figures things out for herself? (Might blow my opening while I wait.)

Life ought to come with some sort of instruction manual; one with really pretty and colourful pictures, so it has a prayer of being read.

Thursday, January the 17th, 2008

In a little town far far away, I once tipped a waitress more than what my clique’s dinner cost me. Quite plainly, she really was breathtaking and I absolutely could not resist the urge to do so. Perhaps it was just my imagination running amok, but I believe my act elicited one of the warmest smiles I have ever seen. I don’t think I was alone in feeling that way, for the men in the group I was with for dinner kept insisting we return to the same table at the same restaurant three times that evening. And quite certainly, they couldn’t have been that famished.

But this was a long time ago. So why am I recounting the tale now?

Being the kind of person that I am, I rarely remember the specifics of any event, and instead only carry with me a vague notion of how the event made me feel. It’s experiences such as this that leave me feeling warm and fuzzy every time I think of that little town so far away. And, it’s perhaps why I’m actually looking forward to a research position that’s slowly coming my way.

I get to move to that little town.

Tuesday, November the 20th, 2007

I’ve spent most of my day with this woman whom I can only describe as… me. Sure, she’s a woman. Sure, she’s attractive. And sure, her life path has been strikingly different from my own. But the entire time I was with her, every word that escaped her lips could just as well have emanated from mine. The similitude of our outlooks, aspirations and mannerisms was uncanny; she even pats her pockets—counting upto four each time—to make sure she’s picked up her keys and the lot every time she rises to her feet!

As amusing as it is to observe two grown people patting their bodies in tandem as they get up, the experience was not weird. (Who doesn’t enjoy hearing themselves talk?) I just found it very surprising: I’d assumed that the state of my life, and my mind, were unique to me. Or perhaps, I’d just convinced myself that things would automatically be very different if I were an elegant woman.

Then again, I figure if two kids from the same family and social fabric can differ by night and day—as most do—then a couple from half-way across the world can be spitting images of each other. It makes just as much sense.

Whatever the case, it was a blast. Sometimes, you just need to be reminded that you’re not the only one.

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Wednesday, July the 26th, 2006

During a recent flight, I came across, arguably, the hottest mom ever; and I really mean that superlatively so. She was barely in her 20s, had a gorgeous face, soft-flowing hair, was super slim with a teeny waist and yet oh-so curvy. She had the tiniest shirt on and the tightest jeans riding down to her mid-thighs, cutely exposing her purple-string bikini.

But, I really wasn’t paying attention.

I, was generally cooing, peek-a-booing and gurgling throughout the journey, as I was having fun with my new single-serving friend. She was gleefully cuddling up in my arms and bouncing away excitedly on my lap; and her serenely-happy, somewhat-tired glow later indicated that she was as pleased with this bonding as I was. Now, it was time for her sippy-cup filled with orange juice.

You must realise, of course, that I am speaking of the woman’s most adorable little few-year-old girl. You know, the kinds with a smile that can melt a glacier or three? Yes, one of those kids.

As I was getting off, this other woman—also arguably (superlatively) cute—approaches me all-excitedly (and gurgley!) and tells me that she’d observed me playing with “my little one,” and found us adorable together. She then animatedly began to talk to me, using words implying that she was thoroughly impressed, somewhat amused and quite entertained.

I am unsure who was sadder as I was informing her that she wasn’t my little one.

Sigh.


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