We went to Taiwan early this month, with both our mums and Baby J. Sure brought back some of ‘those’ memories, but I’m glad we’re back to build new ones with our loved ones.
In Part One, I mentioned a trip to Taiwan with Sean. And remember a female colleague who ‘warned’ him about me? Yeah that was the start of our troubles… Well, more of mine actually. I never knew about her ‘warning’ until Sean told me about it in Taiwan. So I was still blissfully looking forward to the trip with a great friend I’d crushed on.
Off to Taiwan We Went!
We met at the airport for our past midnight flight. I didn’t know why, but I just felt ecstatic seeing Sean. Throughout the plane ride, I felt a flurry of emotions that were hard to admit then.
“Should I put my arm on the arm rest?” “What if our arms touched?” “What is he thinking of now?” “Is he happy to be travelling with me?”
“What if he saw me without makeup???”
You know, the usual butterflies in your tummy and the unnecessary overthinking that comes along when you like/semi-like someone. So anyway, after we disembarked from the plane, we took a train ride to Taichung, where we had planned to meet Sean’s ex-student for dinner. We found a very simple hotel, and grabbed the last room they had. By then, I couldn’t wait to take a nap. We went for a quick lunch, then returned to the hotel to get a nap. But right before I dozed off, I noticed Sean sleeping exceptionally stiffly right beside me. And when I woke up, he was still in the exact same position. (I asked him about it much later, he said he was really nervous and didn’t dare to move in case he bumped into me lol!)
And Then His Birthday Arrived…
The next few days, Sean remained respectful of our distance as friends. Meanwhile, I was kinda hoping for him to suddenly grab my hand and profess his feelings for me, like in the movies. But it never happened, of course. Fantasies tend to remain fantasies. I know, I sound ridiculous, but I’m sure most people have had silly fantasies every now and then! 😛
Anyway, on the third day of our trip (we were in Hualien by then), it was Sean’s birthday. That night, right after midnight, I wished him a happy birthday. He had forgotten that it was actually his birthday. His initial response was, “Oh ya hor!” And then he teased me, “Since it’s my birthday, what’s my present?” Me, being a cheapskate, said, “Uhhh… Ok I’ll give you a hug!”
Truth be told, I really enjoyed the hug! I suddenly did not feel confused anymore. I knew I liked Sean. So I made it known to him how I felt about him.
His response? Well, it was not what I had hoped, BUT this was not what broke my heart… He just stayed silent, seemingly surprised that I felt something for him. I did not expect much of a response from him, so I left it at that and we both went to sleep. However, I knew things were going to change, for better or for worse.
The Colleague Who Warned Him About Me
Next morning, everything resumed as usual, without any awkwardness. (This is what I liked about Sean, as a friend back then. He knew how not to make me feel uncomfortable.) We then made our way to Taitung, which would be our temporary stop before Green Island. I was silently hoping he would try to address what happened the night before. But well, it only happened later that night.
So remember back in Part One, there was this colleague who had ‘warned’ him about this trip with me?
After settling down in a minsu in Taitung, right before we were about to retire for the night, Sean suddenly put his arms over my shoulder, and asked, “Why do you like me? What do you like about me?”
“I like you because …”, I listed out as honestly as I could about what I thought of him.
“I think I like someone too.”
“What do you mean you think? You mean you don’t know?”
At the same time, I was wondering if he was talking about me, or someone else. But in my experience, when the guy is being vague about whom he likes, he definitely doesn’t like you. So I felt a huge weight in my stomach… I knew I was going to get disappointed, and I was afraid of what I was going to hear next.
“Ya, I think I like her.”
“Do I know her?” At the same time, I was wondering, WHY ON EARTH ARE WE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION WITH HIS ARMS OVER MY SHOULDERS? DOES HE THINK IT’S COMFORTING?!
“Actually, before this trip, I had lunch with X and Y. Then X said she had heard about our trip, and told me to watch out for you.”
“Watch out for me???”
“What for???” I was getting more and more confused. What was it about me? Why is another woman, whom I barely know, being bitchy about me? I’d always kept a low profile at work, or at least try to.
“She said she wasn’t very comfortable about me going on a trip with you. But I told her that we’re just friends, and nothing will happen.” Gah what the heck.
“And??? What does this have to do with you thinking you like someone?” Meanwhile, I was wondering, WHY IS THIS GUY SOOO CHEONG HEI (long-winded)?
“I think I like X.”
“Oh. Are you sure? Why do you keep saying ‘think‘? Isn’t liking someone very straightforward?” While saying those words, I took his arm and unwrapped it from my shoulders. I simply didn’t want him to come into contact with me in any way.
“She told me to watch out, this means she cares for me.”
This stopped making sense to me, because he couldn’t even be sure if he likes X. I was also extremely annoyed at the situation I was in. So I blurted out, “Maybe we should go our separate ways for the rest of the trip.”
He Got Even More Annoying
Sean then said, “Are you sure? I mean I would love to continue on this trip with you, but if you prefer to be alone, then I shall give you your privacy.”
You know, that’s one of the worst things any guy can say to a lady who likes him. But anyway…
I replied, “All I know now is that I’m tired and I want to sleep.”
“Okay,” he muttered in a disappointed tone. In my mind, I was thinking to myself, WHAT THE HECK IS HE DISAPPOINTED ABOUT?! But I guess on hindsight, he was probably just as confused about this whole situation.
I then tried to fall asleep, but not without playing the entire conversation in my head. My emotions were also in a mess; I was so very angry and disappointed, but I also started doubting myself. Why did someone like X come in and mess with Sean’s head? And why is Sean so indecisive? What’s wrong with me, am I not good enough?
I just want to state that, at this point, I didn’t feel heartbroken, YET. But I sure was close to that.
The Ferry Ride to Green Island
We ended up not going our separate ways, as he appeared genuinely apologetic. Despite being annoyed by Sean, I was also feeling sorry that I made him so confused. However, I just stopped talking as much to him. He tried his very best to cheer me up, and make light of the situation.
We bought ferry tickets to Green Island at the ferry terminal that morning. Sean also got breakfast for both of us. He told me to eat something, or it will worsen sea sickness from the ferry ride. I waved him off, saying I wasn’t hungry and he should just finish my share. He tried to persuade me to eat a few more times, and finally gave up, gobbling up all the food (except for one sandwich) while we waited to board the ferry.
The ferry ride was bumpy and I felt a little sick to the stomach. But it didn’t affect me very much. I was also trying to avoid chatting with Sean, who was still earnestly trying to get me to talk to him. Halfway through the ride, he suddenly grabbed a plastic bag in front of his seat and puked out all his breakfast.
Witnessing how vulnerable he was, I secretly felt a little happy because he totally deserved it (heh heh). At the same time, I also felt sorry for him. I then patted on his back while he continued to expel his stomach contents into the bag.
Our Frustrating Conversations
Green Island was fun. We cycled around the entire (tiny) island, watched the stars and had lots of good local food. The cool weather and friendly residents made it all the more pleasing. We also went to the hot spring, where Sean felt embarrassed to see me in a bikini, while being amused at how much attention the residents were giving me. I was hardly embarrassed though! 😛
After Green Island, we headed to our last stop of the trip: Taipei. The next three days was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. While I was doing my best to pretend everything was normal, Sean would occasionally mention X. Out of curiosity, I asked, “If you liked her, why aren’t you making any moves?”
His replies were often frustrating, along the lines of, “Because I am not sure if I like her. I think I do, but maybe not enough.”
“OKAYYY… THEN WHAT ABOUT ME?”
“I don’t know…”
Ok, this also happened to me in the past, when I was only 14. I had the hugest crush on one of my seniors in secondary school. He would make some moves, I would also wait around on IRC, hoping to get to chat with him. But when I asked him if he liked me, he would always go, “I don’t know.” He made me a sad sad teen back then, but of course I eventually moved on.
Back to my infuriating interactions with Sean. Our conversations would often cycle from chatting about interesting stuff (like getting to know his family background, and politics), to X, then it would trigger a silent treatment (because I have no idea how to respond next without embarrassing myself). After the silent treatment, Sean would apologise, then things resumed to normal. Repeat cycle.
I Felt That I Had to Make the Most of Our Time Left in Taiwan
Because of the little emotional rollercoaster I was on, I was a little exhausted. It just frustrated me that Sean was not even sure of how he felt for X! I mean if he had been absolutely sure, I would know to give up. But he was essentially leaving me hanging with his uncertainty!
In the last few days, I also felt that I had to make the most of our time. So while walking around one time, I held onto his hand. He seemed to enjoy it, since he did not let go. However, it also made me wonder if he was just trying to be nice to me because I seemed pitiful. I was like this pathetic little girl trying to win over the attention of some guy! The hand-holding lasted for the rest of the trip.
Post-Taiwan and Dinner Dates
The frustrating conversations continued all the way. Yes, even after our trip! We had this routine where we would meet with other colleagues during our breaks at work. I tried to pretend everything was normal. Meanwhile his other colleagues would tease him about me, after learning we went to Taiwan together.
Sean also has a good friend, C, whom I confided in about my feelings for him. C, being a helpful friend, was usually the person I went to to understand how Sean’s mind works. He would always explain to me that Sean was at the age where he was not just looking for a girlfriend, but a life partner. So I needed to be understanding that he needed time to figure things out. Also, without any experience with ladies, he would most likely not know what to do. (Yes, I am Sean’s first girlfriend, now wife haha!)
Every now and then, I would text Sean about something interesting. (Or sometimes I’d find something to tell him about because I missed him.) This would prompt him to ask me out for dinner. I would always oblige because I really wanted to see him! But every single dinner date always ended up with him mentioning that ‘maybe he still liked X’ (without my prompting). WHY WOULD HE RUIN A PERFECT EVENING BY TALKING ABOUT X?! I also couldn’t care less about him ‘maybe‘ liking her. I’d then respond with, “If you like her, why are you still asking me out? Why aren’t you asking her out?!”
“I don’t know.”
Trying to Move On
Sean’s uncertainty and his confusing actions made me break down emotionally. Well, no one really knew, because I’d put on a brave facade. Only a few of my close friends understood the situation, and kept encouraging me to move on. After all, I wasn’t lacking of suitors at that time. However, anyone who’s been in a similar situation would know that moving on is easier said than done.
I wanted to be with him, but he thought he wanted to be with someone else!
And yes, my heart was broken.
Meanwhile, we stopped hearing from each other for many weeks. Then he contacted me again, some time in July, to catch up over dinner. But by then, I was starting to consider dating someone who had been asking me out for a long time. Let’s call him N.
During dinner, I told him about N, that I have been meeting him and has expressed interest in me. Sean’s response seemed nonchalant, but he said, “Can you wait for me to sort out my feelings about X? I think I may or may not like her.”
“Aren’t we back to square one? Why have you not figured it out yet?”
“Why are you in such a rush?”
“I’m not, but I think it’s unfair for you to ask me to wait around while you see if you like X. This is the last straw. I’m moving on, and I will date N if he asks me to be his girlfriend. I think I can like him a lot.”
That day was sort of the last ‘date’ I had with Sean. I channelled my energy into other stuff, like friends, going out with N and work. Finally, I was getting closer towards being free from my heartache.
I Moved On With Someone Else + Part Three Finale
Sean was getting further from my thoughts. N asked me out more and more, and I liked him too! So one fine afternoon, N took me to a nice restaurant, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I said, yes. It was liberating. It also felt good to have someone like me back. N was sure of his feelings for me, unlike Sean. We also had so much in common. I was so very sure I’d made the right choice.
All my close friends and colleagues were happy for me! I was also excited to be in a new relationship with someone who was serious about me. We had planned lots of stuff together; going on a trip with friends, introducing each other to our friends etc.
I eventually told Sean about my new relationship status. To be honest, I cannot recall how he reacted, but I couldn’t care less. Sean was going to remain a friend, at the very most, a good friend. I didn’t know then that I would end up marrying this good friend…
In Part Three, I will talk about what happened during my relationship with N, and how Sean and I eventually got together (under pretty nerve-racking circumstances).
Some notes: I would often jokingly chide Sean about being so 欠扁 and indecisive. On hindsight, perhaps all the seemingly unnecessary chain of events are actually necessary for our relationship to become what it is today. Life is funny like that; we cherish the precious moments more with some downs mixed into our ups. 🙂