“How did you guys meet?” This is probably the most frequent question I have been asked about my late husband and myself. I have to say, it was kind of unlikely for us to meet. He was American and lived in Michigan, I am Chinese and lived in Shanghai. Physically, it is almost impossible to meet. But then, at that very important day and time, our paths crossed.
This is the second part of this story, read the first part here before you continue.;)
Remember, at that moment I knew almost zero English, so my best friend and my client were translating for me during the conversation with these 3 guys. You know the instinct that every women has which tells us if a guy is interested in us? The slim guy who sat right next to me was staring at me for a long time and making me very uncomfortable. Suddenly, I felt someone’s arm around my waist. My first reaction was to push the hand away from me. The hand turned out to belong to the slim American guy. I was not sure how to handle it. Was it just a common American gesture? Was I being super rude? Before I had the chance to think more, his hand was on my waist, AGAIN! I turned around and he was just giving me a big flirting smile.
I was very angry. What was this? Who do you think I am? No one would dare to do that in my own culture. I was being polite and now he was just given an inch, and wanted a mile. I pushed his hand away again and stood up. I told my partner and my client I was leaving. They both left with me. On the way out, my parter told me, “You should see the look on his face!” I was like, do I really care? I was already being very polite by not slapping him.
My partner joked a lot after this incident. She was the type of girl that most Chinese consider a beauty; tall, slim, pale skin with a beautiful face. Wherever we went, she was always the center of attention and there were many men wanting to talk to her. I was just a girl that no one ever noticed, but I was totally fine with it and I was ok earning everything in my life by working hard. My friend even said one time we could be best friends for many years because I was never jealous of her. Anyway, it was the only time that someone hit on me, not her. I seriously didn’t take this American guy hitting on me as a compliment.
A few days later, my partner suddenly asked me “Do you remember the other American guy with us last week?” “Sort of. Why?” “He wants to know your contact info.” I was like, what is wrong with those American guys? “No!!” I answered. She looked at me and said “Do you want to learn English?” She always knew how to persuade me. Yup, I do, very much! I felt embarrassed for not knowing English that day and I did want to learn more. “But what if the other American guy is also a jerk?” “Just give him your email, he can’t climb over the internet to harm you.” “Fine.”
The other American guy and I started our pen pal journey. It took me at least two hours to write an email to him in English by using a dictionary. He was always very patient with my painful grammar and confusing sentences. Oddly, he got me. He understood me very well. And I understood him! We had many deep conversations about life and I realized that I couldn’t wait to receive his email every other day. I still didn’t think much about him because he was much older than me, he was not Chinese, he was not the type of guy that I usually like… But the more time I spent with him, the more I realized, underneath this overweight middle aged American man, was the soul I had been searching for and waiting for my whole life.
Photo credit: Grace Liang
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