Chapter 25 – Breakdown
During a weeklong stay in Hanoi back in November 2012, I fell in love with a girl. Well, hold on a minute, that’s not right. You can’t truly fall in love with someone that fast. Perhaps I fell in lust with a girl… Shit. That’s not it either. “Lust” suggests it was a cheap roll in the hay with some two-bit slut I never wanna see again once my load’s been blown and that’s not what it was to me. That’s not what it was to me at all. Hmm. Let’s try “enraptured.” During a weeklong stay in Hanoi back in November 2012, I met a girl by whom I’d been enraptured. Yeah, I kinda like that. I’m gonna stick with “enraptured.” So, during a weeklong stay in Hanoi back in November 2012, I met a girl by whom I’d been enraptured. And this charming young lady put a spell on me. She’d go on to be all I could think and dream about from the day I met her up until the very day I sit here writing our story in this tear-soaked journal.
She was sleek and beautiful. She had a perfect complexion and long black hair. She had magnetic eyes that caught mine from across the room which she used to draw me to her at a bar filled with rowdily drunken Australian assholes. They pulled me through the hot sticky crowd until she and I had been standing face-to-face.
“I’m from America,” is one of the first things I remember saying.
“Oh, America huh?” replied the cute little Asian girl. “Well, I’m from North Korea, so fuck you America!” she said and burst out laughing to herself.
I didn’t actually believe she was from North Korea – if anything, I figured her to be Vietnamese – but I’d been strangely turned on by the ethnocentric harassment and decided to move forward in the conquest.
Aside from getting this girl to let her guard down enough to tell me that she’d actually been from China, I recall very little of what she and I said to one another. For the most part, I let the liquor do my talking. I know that “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t, didn’t already have,” but the person I become when I’m wasted always seems so much more charming than who I am dry. Mr. Hyde always gets the girl he wants and it has the uncanny effect of making Dr. Jekyll quite jealous of his “kavorka.”
Dalliance turned to dancing and drinks were knocked over as she and I uncoordinatedly spun each other around and repeatedly collided into highboy tables positioned around the outer edges of the room. Holding her close, I put my sweaty dripping forehead down on her glistening one, looked into her eyes and let my lips supplant the beer bottle that’d moments ago been resting on hers – lips which’d been whip cream soft and just as sweet. A make-out session ensued and the barroom around us disappeared. I could no longer hear the music playing. I could no longer hear the obnoxious Australians yelling. I no longer cared about when I was gonna get my next beer or smoke my next cigarette.
Hand-in-hand, my little China girl and I walked home from the bar gazing up at the stars. Every now and then we came to a halt, pulled each other close and sucked face in the middle of the street while the occasional motorbike went burning past. Eventually we made it back to my hostel where I’d had one bed reserved – a top bunk – in an eight bunk dorm room. Sneaking past the seven people who’d been sleeping – my college buddy Tim included – she and I clambered up to my bed and horizontally embraced one another. Piece by piece, the clothing came off and it didn’t take long for certain body parts to find their way in and around others.
I figured the grunting and coughing of those with whom we’d shared the room to be a subtle way of showing disapproval towards our not-so-subtle moan-inducing public display of affection. As such, my dream lady and I scurried over into the tiny bathroom that’d been attached to the dorm where we continued to express the mutual physical attraction we’d been feeling.
With her ass on the sink, her legs wrapped around me and both pieces of the puzzle connected the way they’re meant to be, I returned to the zone of nothingness I’d entered back at the bar earlier in the evening. This ecstatic rush only lasted a few moments, however, before the tiles behind the sink began to crack off the wall under the pressure of our pelvic collisions. After calling a timeout, we non-verbally agreed an audible was in order.
Following a few moments of awkwardly attempting to get into physically demanding positions we were too hammered to pull off, we agreed on the tried and true. Bent over with her back arched and her hands on each side of the sink, I stepped up behind her, grabbed onto her hips and started pumping away as we locked eyes in the mirror hung on the wall in front of us.
At some point in the exchange, I felt compelled to remove my love cable from the tight little outlet and slapped it across her ass cheeks the way dudes sometimes do in pornos. I’d been wearing a red-colored condom at the time and when my cockslaps had left two red streaks across her “bum” as she hilariously referred to it as, I suddenly became alarmed.
“What you doing?” she asked. “Why you stop?”
“Yo, I think this condom is melting.”
“Yeah,” I said as I dabbed at the red goo with my finger, “this condom is definitely melting.”
“Are you an idiot?”
“Uh, no,” I replied.
“I tell you back in bed that it’s my period. Have you already forgot?”
“Yeah,” I laughed, “I guess I did.”
“Idiot,” she shook her head then turned back around.
Perhaps I’m one of those guys that like to be put down by women and just don’t know it yet, but her calling me an “idiot” really got me goin’. Following the brief lull in action, I dove back in, finished what we set out to do, showered each other clean and climbed back into bed where we huddled under the covers and slept face-to-face, sharing the same pillow.
Over the next several months, after she and I parted ways, this girl and I kept in constant contact, sharing with one another of our values, our senses of humor, our past life experiences and our hopes for the future – very many of which had aligned in a way that made me feel not so alone in the world. It was around this point that I came to realize whatever initial sexual infatuation I had with this girl had grown into something way stronger and I felt like my life wouldn’t be right if I didn’t see her again. So, during one of our nightly video chats, we began discussing future travel plans.
The two of us ended up convening in Sri Lanka for two weeks at the beginning of 2013 where we visited ancient Buddhist temples, went hiking through a tea plantation in the central highlands, had a home-cooked meal in the humble abode of a local family and spent countless hours frolicking together in the sands of unspoiled beaches.
After she and I had once again physically split, I shortly thereafter had received an email saying, among other things, “Our lives have been altered since we met each other. Love changes people and their perspective of the world.” And upon reading these lines, I couldn’t help but feel that what we had was the relationship I’d been waiting for my entire life – one that would fulfill me and all that other fairy tale, happy ending bullshit that Hollywood films had implanted in my brain from an early age on. I’d finally found it. I’d finally found true love.
Over the next year and a half, when we weren’t video-chatting with one another, this girl stayed with me at my parent’s house in Chicago for a couple weeks and I spent a month-and-a-half visiting her in China. Suzhou, to be specific, had been the name of the town where she and I spent some of our last days together.
As the sky pissed down on the Jiangsu Province one rainy-ass February afternoon, we’d been watching the movie Cloud Atlas on a fluffy white king-size bed when we looked over at each other, reached out with our hands, offering a mutual caress that led to some making out. The passion led us off the bed and over to the ottoman on which I laid this girl down on her back and slid off her knickers. It was there we made love for at least half-an-hour. By the time I’d finally climaxed, we were both so exhausted, we couldn’t do anything but lay there – me on top of her – listening to each other breathing and feeling each other’s heartbeat. Right then and there, I remember having the overwhelming urge to tell her just how fucking much I loved her and wanted to be with her but couldn’t pull the trigger.
In the months following my visit to China, our contact frittered and we began to grow apart. Even though I’d spent some of that time banging hookers in Thailand while working on my first book because I tend to let my dick do a lot of my decision-making for me, I never could stop thinking about the girl I left behind. After about two months of having not seen each other, I video-chatted with the temporary owner of my heart from the apartment I’d been renting in Nepal. During this conversation which was held via instant message, she told me that she’d recently gone on a week-long holiday to Yangshuo and Shanghai during which she’d banged four dudes and made out with a fifth. She also told me how much happier she’d been recently – an assertion to which I’d taken personal offense. I started crying and used this inopportune moment to tell her how much I loved her. She laughed and typed the word “Oops!”
“How could you do this?” I asked.
“C’mon, Tim,” she responded. “I appreciate how much you love me but you already knew we weren’t going to be living in the same part of the world. You said you were going to move to South America. We are not a couple.”
“Well,” I fumbled for words to express the betrayal I felt, “if we were a couple and you did this, I’d fucking kill you.”
“Whoa! Well, I’m certainly glad we’re not a couple.”
I couldn’t stop crying and remorsefully decided to tell her about all the hookers I banged in Thailand.
“What the hell? Why are you banging hookers?”
“I don’t know. ‘Cause you’re the only one stupid enough to fuck me.”
“Tim, c’mon. Why you say that? You’re a good looking dude. I want to see you enjoy your life.”
“C’mon, don’t start with that shit.”
“No, really. I’m saying it as a friend.”
“I don’t wanna hear it from a friend. I wanna hear it from someone who loves me.”
“Well…I hope you will find a nice girl in South America.”
I couldn’t do anything but sit there in front of the computer screen staring at her face and weeping my ass off.
“I gotta go shower,” she imparted. “I’m going out to dinner with a British dude. I’ll talk to you later. And STOP banging hookers!”
I shut my laptop and laid there shattered. She was the best drug I’d ever taken. She delivered me from my pain. The thought of having to go on without the narcotizing effect she had on my life was excruciating. I got zero sleep the next two nights and wouldn’t get out of bed to do anything but buy and smoke more cigarettes. I was totally despondent.
As the months passed, we talked a little bit via email but our messages to each other became fewer and far between. Whereas the content of mine remained long and well thought out, hers diminished from suggestions that I’m fucked up and should see a shrink to indifferent one line responses. In the meantime, I’ve tried dating other people to get over her but I’m just not interested. As many as six months since I’ve last seen this girl, when I’m alone or hear a song that reminds me of her, I can’t help but emotionally capsize thinking about how I’ve lost the best thing in my life.