Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I didn't mention earlier in my post but my visitor last week was S from London. I had met S almost exactly a year ago in Bangkok and I was completely smitten. I thought, after all the guys I've dated, I had finally figured it out. He was the first half Thai guy I've ever dated who also spoke the language and has grown up in Bangkok but lives abroad. He was always a true gentleman with me and kept in touch throughout the year, calling to tell me he misses me and to remind me how beautiful I am (in his British accent that didn't hurt).
A few weeks back he called me to tell me he booked his ticket to New York. I was filled with nerves. I had fantasized about us meeting again after all this time and couldn't believe he was really coming. But the timing couldn't have been any worse. I had just started seeing someone. I haven't been seeing him long enough to rule out everyone else completely but I also knew that I was going to have a hard time not thinking about him. I fretted about S's visit as the day got closer. What if it's awkward? What if I don't like him? What if I do like him? I didn't have a choice but to just wait and see.
From the moment he arrived it was nothing that I had expected. He came with a friend (I had thought he was coming alone) and already had a dinner party planned for the evening. A year ago I imagined waiting for him at the airport, running into his arms when I spotted him, and rushing back to the hotel to order room service and just catch up in private. So dinner with 9 other people was not how I imagined our first night. I was nervous to see him and uncomfortable around all of these strangers. To make it worse, I couldn't stand the strangers. They were the spoiled, rich kids that I avoid here in New York. Over dinner I learned that the things he wanted to do in New York was nothing that I would've taken him to.
As the night went on, and the more drinks I had, I started to see everything so much more clear. He was not the guy I wanted to be with. We had fit together so well in Thailand, someone who understood what it was like to never feel at home in your own country or anywhere else. But here in New York, we couldn't be more different. I didn't want to waste anymore of the evening being somewhere I didn't want to be. He apologized for the night. I told him there's nothing to be sorry about, this just isn't meant to be, and took off in a taxi.
I met up with him again over the weekend, this time for dinner, just the two of us. I thought, perhaps the fact that I couldn't stand his friends made me judge him in a harsher light. Over a sushi dinner, I saw again the guy that I had fallen for a year ago, kind and attentive. I thought, could this work? He said, babe, order anything you want. I thought, maybe it could. I made a joke and he didn't smile. I thought, no, he doesn't fit.
We went out for drinks with his friends after dinner. Everyone was tired from a big night out, the night before. S was clearly irritable, wanting to be at a more upbeat bar. He sulked in his chair. I thought, wouldn't he be happy just to be anywhere with me?
I didn't see him the following night, telling him to just go have fun with his friends. I met him at his hotel on Sunday to say goodbye. I was suddenly sad to see him go. I've never been good at goodbyes, especially when letting go is best. I felt so down for the rest of the day. I felt guilty for not spending more time with him. I was upset that the trip wasn't how I pictured it. I imagined showing him everything I love about this city, everything I've wanted to do with someone I care about, not meeting him out at clubs. I was sad that he wasn't the guy I remembered, the one that was always on the back of my mind. I thought, it would've been better if he hadn't come, if he could just be the fond memory I could keep forever.
But maybe this is how it was supposed to pan out. I continued to date jerks in the past few months, and S was always there every time I was heartbroken, reminding me that I deserved better. Each time, I would be able to move on knowing that better does exist. So perhaps I needed to see him in person to see this clearer. Better does exist. It's just not S.