A Little Bit About N
N was a friend I’d known back when I was still studying. I knew him to be humorous, and very popular among friends. Before we were in a relationship, we ran into each other during an outing with my ex-coursemates a year before. After that day, he started asking me out. At that point, I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, so I blew him off after one date. He was very persistent though, but he finally gave up after a few months of trying.
At the point when he started pursuing me again during the incident with Sean, I was a little hesitant, but let my guard down eventually. That’s when I started getting interested in N as I got to know him better.
My Relationship With N
I was introduced to N’s family pretty early. I guess he was serious about me. His parents were extremely affable and keen to have me over all the time. Like I mentioned above, N was a friend I knew while studying, so this also meant that we had many friends in common. When mutual friends learnt about our relationship, some were very happy for us, while a handful (of kaypoh ones) messaged me in private to express how surprised they were that we got together. Nonetheless, we were quite happy together.
I even introduced N to some of my friends, including the group of colleagues in which Sean was a part of. There was one particular woman who disliked the idea of both of us in a relationship though. She was a friend of N and I later found out through N that she’d had a crush on him before, but he’d rejected her, so they remained friends. She openly showed her disgust at our relationship, insulting me without any provocation in front of a bunch of awkward friends. It was a strange evening.
How Sean Reacted to the Relationship
I remember during lunch at work, while chilling in the office, I casually told Sean about N. He asked many questions about N. “Oh that’s very fast, since I just met you a few weeks ago.” “Have you met his family?” “How did you all get together?” I waved his questions off as him being curious about how people get into relationships.
During one of our group outings with the colleagues, I brought N along. When Sean saw both of us holding hands, he felt a tinge of jealousy. This was only related to me much much later when Sean and I were already a couple. But yeah, I would take N along with me to friends’ outings, while N would sometimes take me along to his.
At times after work, Sean would check if I were free for dinner. If I had nothing on with N, I would oblige. I thought, why not? We were just hanging out the same way we did, before the Taiwan trip. During our dinners, Sean would ask a lot of questions about N. But the same old, we always had very nice conversations about work, sometimes politics, and sometimes our family. He would also walk me home, more often than before. But because I knew that Sean knew I was in a relationship with N, it didn’t feel like it was anything out of the ordinary.
Our Friend C’s Auntie’s Observation
Remember C back in Part Two? He invited all of us to his home to attend his baby’s first month celebration. So I asked N to join me as well. C’s relatives were also at the party. Sean was a familiar face among C’s relatives, so they would often tease him about not having a girlfriend. So after N and I left the party, C’s aunt had a conversation with Sean. The following was related to me by both C and Sean.
She asked Sean, “Where did your girlfriend go?”
“Huh what girlfriend?”
“That girl (she was referring to me) earlier. Why did you not leave together with her?”
“That’s not my girlfriend, Auntie. And the other guy is her boyfriend.”
“Doesn’t seem like her boyfriend. I thought YOU were the boyfriend! Why aren’t you both together?”
“Auntie, didn’t you see? She already has a boyfriend.”
Ok, well, this auntie must be some guru or something. 😛
Things Got a Little More Serious With N
Besides meeting his parents and friends, N would occasionally bring up stuff like marriage and settling down. Even though it seemed a little early then (we were only two months or so into the relationship), we would still have pretty serious conversations about it. Once, he brought up a topic on getting a HDB flat together.
Because it was quite a serious topic, it was on my mind for quite a long while. During one of our dinner sessions, I told Sean about it. I vividly recall Sean suddenly sitting up and going, “Oh you both are getting a flat together? That’s fast!” I had to clarify that were only had a conversation about it, and we were not making plans yet. But this kind of spurred what was to happen next…
I started noticing that Sean wanted to spend more time with me, but he’d never insisted on blowing N off just to have a meal together. If I had plans with N, he’d always respect it and tell me to have a good time. So we started spending more time together. It was always fun and enjoyable, but I never second-guessed why I was always readily available to meet up with Sean. I noticed too that Sean had stopped asking questions about N, unless it was to ask if N and I had plans together.
Guess Who I Met
One fine Sunday, Sean asked if I wanted to have breakfast with him at a prata place near my home. (And made the excuse that it was “on the way” for him since he was attending a seminar in town. My home is nowhere near town.) I told him that I was attending a wedding lunch together with N, so I could only have a couple of hours with him. He said it was fine, so we met up for prata.
During the wedding lunch, I saw a very very familiar face from a distance, but my brain just could not process who she was. She spotted me and waved at me. That means she knows me too! She was with her boyfriend, who was a friend of the groom at that wedding. I waved back, and it just occurred to me: that person waving at me was X! (Remember X back in Part One and Part Two?) Straightaway, I texted Sean to tell him about my encounter with X, and that she had a boyfriend. (“Did you know she had a boyfriend?” I asked him that as well.) His response?
“Oh that’s nice! By the way, my seminar was quite boring and I think it’s a scam, so I’m going to leave now.” (Yes Sean used to attend questionable seminars to check out scammy businesses, because he was just too free.)
I was wondering what he was thinking of and whether he was bothered by the fact that X had a boyfriend. But I did not try to entertain that thought and left it at that.
“I Think, I Am Ready to be With You…”
A few days later, one evening after another dinner session with Sean, while chatting about random stuff, he suddenly turned towards me, and started stammering, “I think, I want to be with you…”
“What do you mean?” I was trying to understand what was going on. After all, I HAVE A BOYFRIEND!
“I am ready to be in a relationship with you.” I think it took him a lot of courage to mouth those words, because he took some time.
“But, what about X?”
“What about her? You remember that day you told me that you saw her with her boyfriend? I felt absolutely nothing about that piece of information. It made me realise that I’m not bothered that she has a boyfriend, but I’m really bothered that you have a boyfriend.”
“But ya I HAVE a boyfriend. What do you want me to do now?”
“I can give you some time to think about whether you want to be with me or N. If you choose to be with him, I am ok with it. Really. I will wish you well.”
“I… really don’t know. Why are you telling me all these now?”
“Because now I’m very sure. And I need to get this off my chest. I know maybe I’m too late, but it’s ok. I just want you to be happy.”
In my head, I was screaming, WHY ONLY NOW? It was truly agonising. I thought I could forget about Sean. I thought I could be happy with N. What should I do now?
The Days That Followed…
The next few days were torturous. I texted a couple of good girl friends, and told them about what Sean had told me. They asked if I had any feelings for him. I thought I’d moved on from him. I thought I’d put everything that had happened before away and shelved those feelings for good. N was such a great guy. How could I bear to leave him for another person? But if I still had feelings for Sean, then it wouldn’t be fair to N. I knew I couldn’t pretend that nothing was happening. How could I look N in the eye and pretend that Sean was of no threat to our relationship?
That whole week, I avoided Sean. Maybe that would clear up my confusion. Maybe I didn’t have to break up with N, and I liked him more. But I somehow knew that I was being in denial. So I set myself a deadline. The following Monday: I was going to tell N that we should break up. I was very determined.
Oh the Guilt
Ok, I didn’t really have the whole week to think things through, but I knew I wanted to be with Sean. On that Friday evening, I met up with Sean for dinner. And he asked, “So have you spoken to N?”
“No. I have decided to tell him on Monday.”
“Oh ok. So why are you not having dinner with him tonight?”
“Because I cannot look him straight in the eye and pretend everything is ok, when I know that I am going to end things with him on Monday.”
“But what will he be thinking? Will his parents wonder why you’re not over for dinner?”
Right after Sean asked that last question, I broke down. I was racked with guilt and just felt so awful. I felt that I was such a horrible person for wanting to be with someone else while being in a relationship. Sean was taken aback and tried to get me to stop bawling my eyes out. I told him I couldn’t help it. I just feel so bad for N.
So he just stood with me right in the middle of a busy pavement, while I cried in his arms. We eventually left for my home. It was a quiet journey.
Was That Car There Before?
As Sean was walking me home, he thought we could turn back and have a chat at the small park near my home. Perhaps he could make me feel better. He was probably feeling bad about putting me in such a situation.
Two hours later, he walked me back home. He suddenly made a comment, “Was that car there before? I don’t remember seeing that car there when we were here earlier.”
“What car? Please don’t scare me!” I couldn’t see because I cried my contact lenses out earlier.
“There’s a car parked right at the very end.”
“What? No la, please don’t scare me. It could be my neighbour’s car. What colour is that car?”
“I can’t tell, because it’s dark. I think someone is inside! Could it be N?”
“Huh is there really someone?” I was trying to reach out for my phone meanwhile to check if N had tried to contact me.
My phone had about 10 missed calls. Shit. I don’t know about you, but I was scared to bits! I wasn’t prepared to face N yet!
“Ok yes there’s a person, and that’s N. He’s walking over already.”
“Oh dear what do I do now?”
“It’s ok, I will be here all the way.”
N Wanted Answers
N walked over, and asked why I wasn’t answering my phone. He then pointed angrily at Sean to go away. Sean stood at a distance, but made sure that I was within his line of sight. I asked if N could calm down, and I needed to tell him something. He agreed, and I told him all about what I’d been feeling. He asked, if I was ending things with him. I said, yes. He asked a few more times. Yes.
N then went back to his car. I thought he was going to drive away, but he was actually approaching me dangerously and pacing with me. I was so afraid that he would do something rash. He finally stopped, to my relief.
It was already quite late at night, and I was tired. But I knew I had to handle this. At least be fair to N, right? N wanted answers… How? Why? When? I wanted to make him feel better, but I knew no matter what I said, it wouldn’t help. Sean was nowhere in sight then… Had he left?
Finally, after what seemed like eternity, N left. I do not remember the details, but Sean reappeared, to my surprise. He understood he had to give us space to sort things out, and that his presence would agitate N. He walked me back home. Sean knew I was upset, and perhaps he knew too, that this drama could’ve been avoided in the first place. He promised to see me the next day.
I met N a few days later to talk it out. It wasn’t pleasant, but I just had to do it for the sake of closure. I was ready to close this chapter, and start a new one with Sean…
Sometimes You Just Have to Follow Your Heart…
It’s hard to describe exactly why I felt such an incredible connection to Sean. But I suppose anyone who has found their soulmate can comprehend these feelings. I (or we) had wronged N, but it’d have been a greater wrong had I chosen to remain in the relationship.
So two years after this incident, I finally married that man who broke my heart. And two years after we got married, Baby J was born into our happy family. 🙂
Note: Sorry I took so long with the last part. Since Part Two, I haven’t found some quiet time to myself.
Some people also feel that I shouldn’t even be writing this story. But why? We all go through some “undesirable” events in our lives. By facing our fears and being honest with ourselves (and others), we will be able to accept that we all make mistakes as human beings. As long as we learn from our mistakes and do our best each time, we will be able to embrace every aspect of our lives, good or bad. And this is the kind of spirit I wish to teach my students, and inculcate in Baby J.