I went to chuar with my crush for the third and probably last time. It’s…I’m feeling less torn than I was last night and this morning, but my emotions are pretty raw right now. Went to Fight Club despite not feeling like it today and it really, REALLY helped clear my head doing some sparring. Otherwise I’d have just sat at home, stewing over everything that’s been going on.
So last night, my crush, Richard, one of the hall staff, and three of the Chinese English teachers (Mary, Alisa, and Ryan + his two roommates) and I went out to the chuar spot we went to last time. Sadly, the Tao priest and doctor were not in attendance – I was really looking forward to seeing them again. So things started off great – plenty of laughs, questions, toasts, etc…Being that everyone there except me is Chinese, there’s a lot of it spoken. Normally I just try my best to figure out what’s being said and step back until someone cares to translate or I have something to say. So they were all laughing about something or other, and my ears perked at my name. So I asked, unsuspecting, "hey now, what’s so funny?"
My fellow teacher Ryan, who had went out with me last time, had a few too many drinks trying to catch up to me, as he responded with "we have a saying in China – distance makes a person more beautiful." (Obviously cribbed from "absence makes the heart grow fonder) "And I was just saying that everyone in China understands that but Earl."
And then he clammed right up. I stared at him and Mary – I can’t even imagine my expression – and said "What do you mean by that? Explain." Just like that. And Mary said "No." And looked away. As did everyone else. I can’t recall what my crush’s expression was, but probably something like confusion since this was all in English.
After that, things just got awkward. They immediately tried to play it off and be cute; my crush got me a plate of the peppered snails they eat at chuar and tried to joke. Mary randomly threw out there "you’re such a wonderful teacher – I hope we can work together next semester." Ryan dimly noted that I was drinking far less than I did last time. And I’m pretty sure Alisa and Richard managed to not talk to me the entire night. I responded with sullen grunts for about an hour and then livened up a bit every now and then, trying to decide if I should play it off until I had time to think it through. But there was a lot more Chinese spoken and a lot less looks my way the rest of the night and I considered giving them distance right then and there, but stayed for the entire time.
Ryan and I shared a cab home, as usual. I don’t even recall what we talked about, or if we talked at all, but I asked as he got out to go home: "would you answer me truthfully if I asked you a question?" "Of course," he said. "What did you mean by distance makes a person more beautiful? I really thought -" I wanted to say "we were friends and I only enjoy hanging out with you guys," but he cut me off with "oh, just that you all were all sitting so close together and I was far apart from everyone. It was lonely, haha." And then left with his roommates.
Good to know he has zero ranks in the Bluff skill.
Here, I thought I was just paranoid when I noticed the hall staff nudging my crush with an elbow and a smirk when I’d walk into the building. I figured the girls would all giggle because sure, it’s silly for me to call him "Uncle," and I was worried when I noticed whenever there were people around, all he would say was "okay," and try to get away. I figured my crush-laden sensibilities were making me over-sensitive and paranoid. I guess I was actually right, and I made an awkward scene instead of having a liberating experience.
I’m really hurt, to be honest. Especially considering everything we did was his idea. Calling him "Uncle?" His idea. Having a birthday-chuar dinner? His idea. I was super-paranoid about coming across as clingy and weird, so the three times we hung out – two were his idea. I’d just talk to him to ask about the time, where, laugh about the last time, etc. But he still enjoyed my company outside of work – but laughed behind my back at work. Sort of like the kid in high school you’re embarrassed to be seen around but you like anyways so you play if off in public. I don’t know what to do with that revelation because my mind is connecting a lot of dots to a lot of people. So much for trust and secrets among friends.
I need to stop writing – g going down a bad direction. This sucks.