“It’s not infidelity. I was just trying to save my sanity.”
Those days that I was having trouble keeping up with my best friend, I resorted to the kindness of some strangers I had met, thinking that all I needed was just a break from the mundane, the familiar, and the boring. Those guys made a lot of promises–none of which I believed because I knew exactly what they wanted from me. It was a thrilling ride, though, but at the same time there was fear. I was afraid that I would just be hurt in the end. But it was the other way around.
Paolo is not the one of the most handsome guys I’ve encountered. His physical features easily get him lost in a sea of people. The first time we met in a mall, I had a hard time recognizing him among the strangers walking towards where I stood. But he had such a gorgeous smile. That was how I spotted him as he pushed his way out of the crowd and came to greet me with his shiny teeth a hand shake.
I was hungry so we had a filling snack at a Japanese restaurant. I felt like bossing around so I had him make our order. From where I sat, I observed him stand, walk, and talk to the cashier of the restaurant. Not my type, I thought. I got guilty by how easily I had judged him, but he surely changed my mind when we started chatting over the tempura, dumplings, miso soup, veggie salad and beef udon on our table. He talked a lot but not too much. He was able to break the ice and eased his hands into mine. Before he was able to do anything else, I asked him out for a short walk outside the mall, because I felt uncomfortable inside the resto.
Outside, he lit a stick of cigarette. An unbearable sight because of the way he pulled it off. That moment he looked so sexy to me I started to notice how good he looked under the day light. The tan of his skin suited him; the sharp curves of his face, especially his jawline, gave him a very male look, though his gait, the movement of his fingers, and his humor always gave him away. He offered a stick to me and that was how I broke my 5 month abstinence from smoking. When we tired of walking, I invited him to a coffee shop for a drink.
The store is being operated by Shangri La Hotel, so I was a bit excited. However, I got disappointed when my frappe was served. Not only did they run short of whipped cream, my drink also tasted a little too bitter. I could also tell that it wasn’t blended enough because the texture of the ice on my tongue was really prominent. But I just let everything pass. I didn’t want Paolo to see how sucker I am for good customer service. Instead, I just had the barista add more chocolate sauce to my frappe and pretended that I was enjoying my drink, while listening to Paolo’s stories about coming out, ex boyfriends, sex, and some stuff about work. I am more of the listener type, though I know how to control the conversation and shine at the right time. I didn’t want to talk too much because he was too nice for a stranger to lie to. I made it clear to him that it was just a friendly date, that I just needed some company. I told him about my best friend, but that didn’t seem to have warded him off. Instead, our chat lasted for hours that it was already nine-o-clock when I called it a night.
To be continued…