June 2013, Hong Kong.
It was 4 years since I was last home. I was now 20 and felt that I had the world at my feet. The reality was, I was still a kid back then and didn’t know shit.
The heat was stifling. It must have been one of the hottest and most humid summers Hong Kong had ever seen. I had finished walking around my old home town after a late lunch at Hong Kong’s only Russian restaurant and was on my way to the MTR for my 6’o clock appointment. As a child, I had crossed the street from LanKwaiFong to Wanchai central numerous times. This time, as an adult, it felt strangely sublime. As I crossed the same street I had crossed many years ago, this girl caught me eye amongst the crowd of people just getting off work. She was wearing a dress with her hair grown all the way down to her waist. Unfortunately, she had 3 very visible tattoos. One on her upper back, one of her ankle and one of her arm. Even worse, she smoked.
Not thinking, I touched the tattoo on her back and asked “What is this?” She turned around, made eye contact with me and said that it was a butterfly. She was gorgeous. She had porcelain skin white as snow and a smile that could pierce hearts. She had a childlike naivety about her. While she had the body of an adult, she had the spirit of a child.
I then asked about her other tattoos, to which she ignored me. Fuck, I thought and walked on. She then followed me down the escalator. I turn around and asked her if she was following me. She smiled and said she was taking the train to the Kowloon. We would be getting off at the same stop. I smiled, thinking to myself that I was so lucky to have met this girl on the train. We got acquainted on the train ride and got off at the same stop. I took her phone number and told her we would go out for drinks soon. We hugged goodbye and I tried to kiss her, but she rebuffed me, and said no, all while smiling.
Over dinner with friends, I was still cruising off the dopamine high from getting her number.
This dopamine high continued over the next few days as we exchanged text messages back and forth. We then began exchanging voice messages and I revelled in the childlike innocence and sweetness her voice gave off. I had oneitis for this girl but didn’t know it.
Eventually, we set a time and date to meet up. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep the night before.
I went to her station to pick her up and from the development (or lack therefore), slowly realized that she lived in the ghetto. When she came out to meet me, she was wearing hot pants that were too short and tight for her, half her ass cheek was sticking out. I thought that this was a done deal; I thought that I was going to fuck her that night.
Unfortunately, I had overestimated both my seduction prowess and ability to play drinking games. We went for a walk by Victoria harbour and sat down to play 15-20. As she began to beat me on most rounds, she began asking me questions about how long I was staying for, what my background was, etc. I told her I would be gone by next week. As we began talking about other topics, I hinted to her that the view in my hotel was amazing and that we should escape the heat and humidity there. I tried to kiss her several more times, only to be rebuffed by her saying that while she liked me, she didn’t want to get involved with me if I wasn’t going to be around for long. She wanted a long term relationship. Even in my drunken stupor, I knew all opportunities to fuck her were gone.
Her phone rang. Her boss invited her to go out for drinks. Stupidly, I asked her how old her boss was. She said he was in his mid 30s. I told her that that was creepy and she should hang out with me. She politely told me that he was her boss and she had to give him some face. (In hindsight, I realized that men age like wine. Our sexual market value goes up as we age. If only I knew back then!)
Vanessa and I kept in touch over the years. I left Asia for England. She harboured fantasies of coming to see me, but alas, that never came to fruition. We were supposed to meet up last year in Singapore when she was living with her sponsor. She ended up flaking on me. Perhaps because her sponsor saw our messages on her phone? Perhaps she didn’t want to jeopardise her relationship with her sponsor. I guess I’ll never know. What I do know is that I allowed her looks to cloud my judgment. Behind that childlike smile and feminine demeanour lay something much darker, a desire to escape the poverty she was born into. The tattoos were poorly done, and on impulse. Her smoking was indicative of a much more complicated past to which I have no inclination of finding more about.
Maybe one day I’ll cross paths with Vanessa again. Maybe one day, I’ll meet a younger girl exactly like her. Being older and wiser, I’ll not get oneitis for her again. The older, more attractive me will be spinning plates. The older me will not let his judgment be clouded by false facades.