Anna, the Korean wallflower (Pt 1)

The uninspired Baristas, clearly unimpressed with the entitled tourists, made the process of buying a bottle of overpriced sparkling water even more torturous.

I wondered why I kept coming here. Why did I insist on paying for overpriced drinks? Was it to sit in a corner of a noisy Starbucks, fiddling with the Wifi and dealing with obnoxious people complaining and gossiping about people they disliked, not mindful of the impact their behaviour had on the people around.

Just as I was debating leaving this monster of a queue, I was reminded of the reason why I continued to pay inflated prices to work in essentially what was a fast food joint serving bad coffee. She stood behind me, eyes locked on her phone.

Her male companion, standing behind her, too had his eyes locked on his phone. I glanced at her phone and realized she was playing Pokemon Go.

I turned to her and said: “You do realise there’s a way to cheat on this game?”

Her eyes lit up and she asked: “How?”

I began explaining how GPS spoofing allowed you to change your location and the Pokemon you could catch.

She smiled and thanked me. Lo and behold, like magic, I was at the front of the queue. I paid for my water, waited for her and the guy following her to order, before continuing our conversation.

While her facial features were distinctly Korea, she spoke near perfect English with an American accent. I wondered what her personality would be like. Was she a nice Korean girl, or would she be corrosive like the other American Asian girls?

With her amiable countenance, my first impression was that she was a wallflower—could she be a virgin?

She was dressed in short miniskirt, T-shirt and sling bag; from the bags she carried, it was obvious she had been shopping. “My name is Anna.” She said. I told her my name and deep down, hope she was not a tourist. She was not—she was a University student. The conversation ebbed and flowed very naturally. Both of us lost track of time until her male companion tapped her on the shoulder telling her that her drinks were ready. “Fuck!” I thought, they were about to find their own table and I was about to get cock-blocked.

I looked around and the place was FULL. Instinctively, I smiled and told them I would be sitting with them. She smiled while he continued to stare blankly at his phone. I asked what she studied and if her male companion was her brother. She said she was studying Accounting and that he, also Korean, was an ex-colleague of hers. I began to relax—he was an orbiter, a male companion with no hope of banging her; he was tall, at least a head taller than me but moderately overweight with bad acne. I knew that I had to get him on my side, to befriend him in some way. I turned my attention to him and began asking him about how he liked Singapore. We agreed that while it was very clean and convenient to live there, we could not live there forever and wanted to go home once we’ve overstayed our welcome.

Anna began asking me about myself. What did I do? How old was I? Why did I choose to come to Singapore?

As I was talking to her orbiter, I noticed through my peripheral vision that she attempted to surreptitiously take a photo of me. I was pleased. This was the indicator of interest that I needed. While maintaining the ebb and flow of this 3 way conversation, I was wondering how I would Segway the conversation to suggesting a second meeting with her and her alone, without arousing the suspicion of the orbiter.

The conversation moved away from me talking about myself to me doing funny Russian accents. They were amazed at how good it was and asked me to teach them—I responded by saying that one had to be a Russian speaker to do a Russian accent. This was the Segway I needed.

The conversation then shifted to Korean. I asked them how difficult it was for foreigners to learn Korean, and as if she could read my mind through telekinesis, she told me that she has taught her Canadian friend how to speak Korean.

This was the chance she was giving me. I told her that I would like to learn Korean with her eventually, she smiled and asked how we could keep in touch; we swapped numbers of course right in front of her orbiter.

I left and said goodbye. She smiled and her orbiter said that THEY would see me soon.

To be continued.

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