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After the typhoon blew through Taipei, life returned to normal. Classes resumed, and I had spent a considerable amount of time working on my assignment: giving my classmates details of my hometown in Mandarin. This was going to be an easy one for me. I loved talking about LA. Everyone knew where it was, and everyone had an opinion. It was my mission to prove we aren’t all small dog-toting, pink-obsessed weirdos who are out of touch with reality.
I swear, I don’t even like pink all that much.
I was the only American girl in my class, as was the whole point of class mixes at Shi-da; we were meant to be with others who didn’t speak our mother tongues so that we would be forced to converse in Chinese. I had an adorable Japanese classmate who told us about her hometown, which I was having trouble translating to its English name.
To help me understand, my teacher finally said “big bomb” and held her arms up wide. I then realized my classmate was from Hiroshima. We locked eyes and I immediately dropped my head in shame, cursing myself for asking so many darn questions.
The minute class let out that day I scurried out of the building as quickly as my legs would take me down the stairs. I’m still surprised I didn’t miss a step and fall on my face, though I don’t think even a swift fall could have made it any redder.
In my haste I walked through the crowd out front as quickly as I could. In just a short walk down Shi-da street I could get myself some Sababa pitas, settle down at home, and watch the Amazing Race from 3 seasons ago – a show I had become addicted to, thanks to the typhoon.
Out of nowhere I heard some shouting.
“Hey, hey you!”
I looked behind me, didn’t see anyone I recognized, and therefore pushed on.
But the voice persisted.
“Hey! Hey, BOOTS!”
At this point he was undeniably calling out to me. I was wearing boots and was most likely one of the only English-speaking people in the crowd. I whipped around and noticed he was looking directly at me. I pointed to myself and mouthed “me?”
“Yes, you,” he replied.
He was tall, handsome, and clearly American although he fell into the category of “ABC,” an acronym locals use to identify American-born Chinese.
I walked over to him, and said “do I know you?”
“I’m pretty sure I know you,” he replied.
I removed my sunglasses and said “Really? Me? You’re sure?”
He insisted that he was absolutely sure. Then it hit me.
Flashback sequence commence:
A few months prior I was out at a bar to celebrate the birthday of a friend of mine. Of course, it was free champagne night for girls. It was dark, and I’d had my fair share. Just before my friends and I left for the night, I ran into a tall, dark and handsome guy, at least from what I could tell as the bar was darker than pitch. We didn’t have a chance to say much, as before I knew it, my friend grabbed me and I was out the door.
Flashback sequence over.
“So are you part of some CIA witness protection program or something? I turned around for one second and you had vanished!”
Doing the best I could not to suffer two extremely embarrassing situations that day, I said I was in a tearing hurry and asked if I could just jot down his number and give him a call sometime to grab coffee. I input it into my phone, we laughed that we both had the same cheap, crappy phone, and I scurried away.
I wanted to completely forget about him. After all, who meets in a bar? Especially thatbar? But the crazy thing is, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Regardless, I didn’t need any boys to complicate things, so I tried to forget I met him.
Several months later I was mass texting some friends around the holidays. As luck, or fate, would have it, I accidentally texted him as well.
His response: “Oh Ava, please, no gifts for me. All I ask for is a holiday drink! Won’t you meet me?”
With a witty comeback like that, how could I say no?
Self Realization: Life is a crazy, unpredictable thing.
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