When I became his girlfriend, it was to end a love triangle. My friend bugged me daily saying, “choose now, before things get ugly”. So I chose the one that shone on paper. Good family, religious upbringing, with plans for the future.
Our dates were so boring! Many times, I find myself wishing unto our date an early end, in favor of some me- time. I understand this is not an unusual wall to hit, but our cycle was premature. It started within the first week, if I must be blatantly honest. I would mentally beg him to leave me alone, and then convince myself that I should want to spend time with my boyfriend. There was no “honeymoon period” when I count down the minutes till our next meeting, or working hours spent daydreaming.
My resentment escalated when he tried to play “macho man”. He would say, “I’ll support you, you can quit your job”. While many girls regard this lifestyle as the holy- grail, it clashes fiercely with my independent and driven nature. It did nothing but punctuate how much he didn’t know me. It also illustrates our different love languages, and how he didn’t know mine. And told him, I did. But stuck in his stubborn patriarchal ways, he was.
Speaking of language, I craved a relationship in which I could… speak English. Although I speak 3 languages, I relate best in English. It’s the only one in which I can comfortably have a heart- to- heart. Many of our conversations end with my frustration when words fail me, him saying: “讲英文 (speak english)”. And when I do, the struggle becomes his.
I knew from the beginning that we didn’t “fit right”. Language was just one of our many incompatibilities. He couldn’t understand my jokes. I thought he was lame, and not in a funny way. He didn’t even understand my dreams, let alone support them. I hated the way he sways his butt when he walks.
But he was a habit. Like the old t-shirt will 2 large holes at the armpits that I can’t bring myself to discard. There was no love, only familiarity. When the relationship blew up in our faces, I didn’t want it to end. He was my comfort zone, and I wanted to waddle in it.
But when I realized how little regard he had for my well being, it was easy to leave. I’ve always been the kind of girl that knows what she wants, and he was not it.
Then I met Dickson. And it all made sense. I once described our chemistry as proteins that fit perfectly with specific substrates. These proteins are called enzymes. We are enzyme and substrate. The key and lock fit perfectly. The two jigsaw puzzle pieces are apt.
Our hours together flew past like minutes, and our hours apart felt like days. My new favorite past time was daydreaming about him. I fell in love. I’ve been infatuated, had crushes, participated in childish affection, but never been in love. At least, not the mature, considerate, laid back kind of love I share with him.
I remember this warm, fuzzy feeling that consumed me. It would start from my heart, then spread to the rest of my body in perfect peristaltic movement. The funniest things would set this sequence into action: his smile, a wriggle of his shoulders. And once, the flick of his watch to free his wrist for motion.
He understands my wants and needs. He apprehends my longing for achievements, my exigency to feel relevant, and the requisite role of motion in my welfare. He didn’t necessarily like my endeavours, but he grasp their importance.
Sure, we have our issues. To me, the day is meant for human activity; but he comes out to play at night. I struggle with his family’s traditional expectations; he can’t fathom my family’s dietary habits.
But we work things out. We always do. Being with him makes me wonder, why do people say relationships are hard work? Are we weird?
Somebody once told me: “Grow in love, don’t fall in love”.
I tried growing in love. And failed. Then I fell in love.
Perhaps, I benefit from a society that values individualism and desire.
Whatever, I married Dickson.