My life with James became quite difficult…or rather quite unbearable. Even the smallest thing could make my eyes water and I really didn’t know how to cope with my wild emotions taking over. It was a kind of a novelty for me because my normal-self was way more reasonable and able to keep a straight face no matter what. Unfortunately, with this guy, it seemed to be impossible.
Conversations about The Woman were my daily bread, served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And no matter how much I hated them on the one hand, I was still craving for more on the other. I wanted to know how on Earth this mysterious entity had won this man over. This one particular person who I cared for so much. Every single conversation about Her was always ending with James furiously demanding some answers and solutions, that I didn’t have.
- I can talk to a wall and it will have the same effect as talking to you! – he shouted. And me? What was I doing? Crying. My only answer to it all were tears pouring down my face.
But somehow it was still pretty hard for me to admit, that this guy was destroying me emotionally. Even now I still refuse that he (probably) actually was a psychopath. Why? Because besides those really ugly times when I cried and I wanted to go back to his flat while he was at work, pack my suitcase, leave the key on the table and disappear forever (which happened more or less every second day), there were also the good times. The times when he was inviting me to his sophisticated, smart, successful world and when compliments were rolling off his tongue. He was calling me smart, beautiful and very business-savvy. He was telling me how much he wished to be like me, and damn, that felt great. I wanted it to last forever.
When you were showed a piece of happiness that’s taken away from you shortly after that…you act like with any other drug – desperately trying to gain it back. And yes, I just named the happiness a drug, because I believe that once you tasted a real one and you know its source, you’re gonna be striving to get it back no matter how hard it is. And so I remained entangled in this Hong Kong drama.
In the big, big world.
The good, charming James was the master of unusual surprises. If it wasn’t a droning trip to one of the Hong Kong islands or a secret Indian restaurant then it was a lovely day in Disneyland. But none of these was as good as something he mentioned one morning right after passing me the freshly brewed cup of Americano, straight to bed:
- I was invited to do some lectures at the Hong Kong University, Department of design, would you like to come with me?
- Do you need a bigger public or what?– I giggled.
- No, I want you to come and share some thoughts on a modern design as well.
- Me?! – I exclaimed almost spilling all the coffee on the pristine white bedsheets – Do you want me to TALK?! In PUBLIC?! In front of PEOPLE?!
- Yes, I know you well enough to be sure that you’re a professional. I value your opinion and I’d be delighted to have you there.
My heart rose so much that I was seriously scared it was about to explode in my chest.
It took a lot of effort to remain calm while realising that I was about to present on the stage. As an artist. To share my design-knowledge with people not that much younger than me. It’s not what you expect from your regular Tinder date, isn’t it?
The day came and I was once again excited and anxious. That’s what my life with James, My Best Tinder Friend was like. Both exciting and anxious all the time.
Can you imagine how amazing and appreciated I felt when out of the sudden I got upgraded from my 24kg-suitcase-working-on-my-laptop to this Prada-shoes-several-design-awards-won society? It was way more magical than the whole Disneyland thing and every possible Indian restaurant combined.
Public vs. Private
\The whole experience went smoothly and I felt great. James was in his usual “Mr Charming uniform” and
of course, just like everywhere we went, also there, we were taken as a couple. And of course, I was over the moon. James never denied, never confirmed, just smiled. This is how it was on the outside. But as soon as we came back to his flat he didn’t hesitate to call me smelly, loud, clumsy… To correct me on everything, to make me feel unwanted and uncomfortable. Talking about The Woman was nearly the only type of the conversation we had and I burst into tears every single time when he shouted “I don’t need you to say <<I don’t know>>, I need a piece of advice, it’s not why I’m spending my whole evening telling you my story to hear <<I DON’T KNOW>> in reply!”. I was helpless and I felt useless.
But I still couldn’t leave. Somehow my silly brain was whispering to me that it was my fault, that I should change MYSELF. Definitely not him. Because for me…he was perfect.
It was probably already my 4th week with James, even though, according to our “agreement” I was supposed to stay for two, maximum 3. Surprisingly enough, he never mentioned that “maybe it’s the time to move out” and I was too scared to ask. Finally, one evening, I took my courage in both hands and started:
James, wasn’t I supposed to stay with you for max 3 weeks? As you see, finding a position in Hong Kong is not that easy and there were no jobs that could be even comparable to the one that I already have. It’s all great, but I guess it’s time to leave… – I ended with a sad voice.
No – he interrupted – I don’t want you to leave. I’ve got a slightly different idea that could help you stay here for good.
What’s that? – I asked hesitantly.
There’s a support program for new companies. You need to have an idea and a business plan. Then, you might be given pretty lovely funds to jumpstart your business. The plan still has to be written but I already have an idea and…you’re innit. As my business partner.
My jaw dropped all the way to the floor. It was an absolute madness, so how could I say no?
Good news and bad news, which first?
Things were better again. The evil ghost of The Woman almost disappeared, we were so focused on writing the business plan while still keeping up with our 9-5 jobs that there was simply no time left for Her. James almost stopped sleeping, he was working very, very hard and I was supporting him as much as I could. Deep down in my heart though, I still didn’t quite believe we were ever able to make it. I couldn’t picture myself leaving my amazing job, leaving my nomadic lifestyle and starting a serious company with this talented and successful guy.
Finally, you won’t have to think twice before buying those Chanel boots – he added – they looked so good on you.
My mind was blown. Was I ready to step into this high-end world? Of course not. But, as I said, I still didn’t quite believe this fairytale scenario could ever come true, so once again I just went with the flow, working hard on my bright coloured future.
And when I thought things couldn’t get any more hectic I got a phone call from my cousin.
Granny is very ill, she’s in a hospital. Heart problems. You should come and see her.
This message tore me in two. I wished I could be in two places at once, but I couldn’t. So only a couple of days later I was at the airport saying goodbye to James and crying like crazy.
- Don’t worry, we’ll be able to complete the application online, I’ll be calling you every day. Go and see your Granny, she’s everything to you. Here, that’s for you – he added handing me a small package.
I opened it and saw the watch I was dreaming about for so long. Seafoam green swatch skin. I raised my glossy eyes at him:
- Thank you – I whispered.
- I hope that every time you’ll look at it it will remind you that there’s someone waiting for you here.
He gave me a hug and that was it. With my heart heavy like a stone in my chest, still sobbing I boarded the plane. Even the business class upgrade I was given for free couldn’t cheer me up.
“Everything’s gonna be fine and you’ll be right back.” I was repeating to myself over and over again but something was telling me it was a pure lie.