In Bed, The Kiss
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892.
This post may seem like rehashing or reminiscing previous events with different people (both in my past and present), so forgive me for feeling somewhat nostalgic these days. Perhaps despite all of the pages being flipped at this moment, we never know what the future holds. Sometimes the past comes back to live in the future, and the present transforms to the past, but for now, there are moments that have been heavily imprinted into my memory lanes that I won’t forget anytime soon.
These are the partial and brighter ones I recall in chronological order (yes, I’m missing a lot of other wonderful ones, too).
2008 / 2009.
There was that first person who stopped me on the street when I was sixteen or seventeen and shyly told me that he liked my shirt. It was a simple Hollister & Co. striped shirt (navy and white). I was flustered, and he then quickly proceeded to asking me for my phone number. I don’t remember if I awkwardly gave it to him or said no – but it was an injection of genuine appreciation of who I was from that introductory glance.
Flashback to the hot, humid summer day at the basketball court with the first boy I truly liked (as much as 17-year-old me could define feelings) along with his closest friends – it’s going to take a really long time for me to forget how he was incessantly made fun by them as they found out that he bought me a blue and white wallet for my birthday (Vivienne Westwood, my favorite brand back then) with money he earned through tutoring at a cram school during summer vacation – I eventually lost it in Florence.
To that someone who handmade sushi for me: I never told you how much I appreciated them as they were delicious, full of love and effort. That’s what made them even more memorable. You also happen to magically replaced the lost wallet I was so upset about, which was another Vivienne Westwood, but with red, orange, and yellow hues.
Then there was the experience of raw, initial infatuation, that lightning zap, with this amazingly cute and kind guy I encountered at our bi-weekly English / Italian exchange when I was in Florence. He helped me immensely with my Italian homework (which I am eternally grateful for) and asked me out for gelato multiple times. The stars didn’t align as it never happened – but today I wonder what type of romance and flutter that would have been there as we sauntered down Ponte Vecchio during one hypothetical spring night.
2010 – 2011.
There were days where I squatted for hours at the café in Villa Ulivi. The barista and I struck up an unusual friendship, and whilst I was struggling over my Italian work, he pulled some strings and had another professor assist with my inquiries (read: my homework, again). There were also complimentary chocolates and coffee on the house.
2010 – 2011.
A bartender from a lounge bar in downtown Florence would always approach me first amongst a group of friends while saying my name. I’d always order a Cosmopolitan, and more than half of the time, the first was on him.
Here’s to the person who got me a red velvet cake along with matching Tiffany & Co. necklace and bracelet during one of my birthdays in New York. I felt so isolated that day especially due to past experiences that I’ve been trying to (and somewhat successfully) mend, because one of the most important people back then didn’t even bother – in fact, this person was passive that day. You called him out on it when I didn’t have the backbone to do so. The fact that you paid any speck of effort was the spark of that day, and I should have expressed more gratitude, but the words and tears choked me up.
I miss the night where a friend of mine happen to drop by New York from Taiwan. We grabbed dinner at Daniel, went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and popped by Le Bain for drinks. It was a splendid time that happened precisely six years ago from today.
There’s that day when I stepped into my fashion internship interview with Dior along with an overabundance of nerves and anxiety. I had my haircut the day before from waist to shoulder length – it came out of nowhere as my friend decided in a split second that a bob cut looked better than a shoulder length style (it did!). It was the first time in my entire life that I had short hair, and I woke someone up at 5:30 am that day and cried from the panic. My interview was at 9:00 am.
Despite all that, I still got the position.
I was handpicked and got the phone call the next day.
There was the Rain Room exhibition that was unforgettable at MoMA during one summer. I lined up for three hours and it was worth every single second of standing under the scorching sun.
A casual birthday post and text from someone I knew since Florence brought the two of us to The Modern at MoMA. Out of a whim, I decided to invite her to Le Bernardin next week as I was trying my best to celebrate my birthday for once.
She said yes, and that was when our adventures and journeys started. There were also the amazing times where we stayed in and ordered delivery – usually Korean fried chicken accompanied with wine. We tried to make sense of the chaos in our colliding worlds while finding comfort in food and each other.
The first time I met both of them at Electric Zoo at the tail of summer.
They were easily the best three days I’ve had during that year. I thought the two of them were a couple at first, but it turns out that they are siblings. I then lost touch with them for a while because of distance, and then reunited (stronger than ever) for the past couple of years. I’m going to be seeing them this October, and I’m beyond excited that they’ve already booked flights without hesitation and are willing to allocate time out of their busy schedules to see me.
2013 – 2014.
There was the person who got me rose and raspberry flavored macarons from Ladurée New York – both my favorite flavors and store, after a three hour commute.
I can’t forget the person who I’ve known for almost four years then. I asked him, blurry and teary eyed at the time, whether or not I could sit down and hug him. His shirt essentially served as my personal tissue, and I (not so) jokingly asked if I could touch his six pack abs to temporarily lighten the mood and distract myself from those overflowing tears.
He laughed, paused for two seconds with the casual and usual absurdity that I brought on at random times, and said yes.
2013 – 2014.
After that, I was introduced to the love of my life by someone who cared for me back then. It was a painful time with a lot of healing and searching to do, and despite the inflicting pains on both sides, I remember the wonderful times that were spent at Disney World as well as the time that we went to Per Se and Sushi Nakazawa. We also shared Dean & Deluca pumpkin pies and cookies to die for from Levain Bakery.
I remember my spontaneous trip to Seattle and Las Vegas to visit a friend when he came out to me. It was my first time to both cities, it has been two years since I last saw him.
We ended up going to Canlis, a fine-dining, hilltop restaurant at Seattle. That was the first time we had a meal together ever since we were in middle and high school.
2014 – Present
I was in a pickle. In a state of panic and confusion, I did what the modern person would do – ask a question over the internet about a specific profession. He answered.
I thought he was female at first, but it turns out he was not as revealed to me throughout his messages and well, in person.
I was never aware as to when it happened for him, but eventually, his advances were clear. He wanted a shot with me, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t consider or entertain the possibility. However, the two of us work with each other, are too different, and I knew it wouldn’t end up well. We’d be fighting not just against time, but also our discrepancies and my family.
He was so persistent and did, and still, even do certain tasks for me that I know he actively avoids. He remembers my likes and dislikes, even to the most minuscule scale. He is the man who has been consistent throughout the years I’ve met and known him – and proved it through his actions.
I’ve been radio silent for months until my birthday last week, because I was brought to attention of his relationship status from mutual friends. I sincerely wish for his happiness, because he genuinely cares about me. I’m at a loss for words for how much appreciation and care I have for this person. I keep him at more than arms’ reach, at a distance for the best for him and me.
I broke the silence, because of the gift that arrived the precise day of my birthday. He scolded me for not meeting him whenever I visited Taipei, and informed me that he picked out the gift for me in advance. He said he saw that item in red, and knew it belonged to me.
It is only recently that I have realized that he has raised the bar for me. He saw my worth before I did, as it took some time and struggle for me to notice. That is the greatest gift that he has unknowingly given me.
It’s extremely difficult to forget my first visit to Hamburg. We finally met and had a few drinks while watching the sunset. I was so nervous that I couldn’t even look at you directly in the eyes at first.
The night eventually turned late, and we had an incredible walk around the Alster. It was a magical night.
It was my first helicopter ride ever in San Francisco with two of my favorite people (who I’ll see in Vegas soon!).
I embarked on my solo (business) trip to Finland, Sweden, and Poland for the first time. I truly enjoyed my time alone with tasty foods and incredible adventures. Not to mention that someone also flew over to meet me in Stockholm. It made the trip a whole lot memorable.
I managed to run and host my own exhibition in a new industry for a week in Taipei. How incredible was that? Obviously, I was stressed out – but the results were astounding. I also met someone who I considered as an acquaintance at the time. Now? I proudly call her a friend of mine.
I went back to New York after three years.
My best friend coordinated with my schedule so that he could fly to Taiwan as I fly back from the US. I attended Pride Week in Taipei with him, and we’ve spent quality time together.
I always knew that I love him, but that was when I told him through my actions.
2017 – 2018.
There was that maniac who drove, at three separate times (four hours round trip twice, and eight hours round trip once) just to have dinner with me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like driving in particular, but it seemed like quite some effort.
Then we had a talk in between to distinguish boundaries – initiated from my side for my clarity. I set up boundaries as per his response, but he seemed to disrespect them. He then flew over to Hong Kong as he found out that I was ringing in 2018 over there. We had a blast at Disneyland and the bars in Lan Kwai Fong.
Lastly, the uneventful Alexander McQueen clutch. We saw it together in Hong Kong, and I glossed over its beauty. I casually told him that I would snatch it if it were in red at the time. Not long after, he called me out of the blue to tell me that he had his sister purchase it for me at first when they were in Shanghai. His decision without verbally consulting me. It was a hassle to return, so I wired the fees immediately, accepted and received it after a long delay.
It was not in mint condition, and it is still getting repaired in Italy.
All of these actions were very confusing (and boundary breaking – but I’ll get to that another day), but I remember feeling the highs on various times during those months. They weren’t healthy at all as I’ve gone through the lows and the repercussions, but the pinnacles were unforgettable. They were addictive.
I flipped the page a long time ago, but the lessons were learned and utilized immediately.
One night, I met a guy I was quite attracted to. It was an ephemeral, one-time gathering event. I was lost in the moment for once as it was quite fun. It was those memories where you could categorize within fleeting and enjoyable moments. During those times, the only appropriate reaction is to have tunnel vision for the present.
He managed to track me down and we contacted each other for a few days until it died down again.
He said a few times that he couldn’t forget my eyes.
I attended my friend’s wedding, which I managed to go after calm and respectful discussions with my parents for over a month. It was an event I needed to attend.
I encountered a person who I could honestly talk to for days on end. We started out quite slowly and gave each other time to breathe and respond, which was quite pleasant for a change.
The pace was different, and I trust him. My gut instincts are unbelievably calm with him, and there is an unspoken type of patience that is in existence.
There was a sense of familiarity along with uncertainty that was built up prior to meeting him. However, for once, I was just me. There was an absence of awkwardness. I could look him directly in the eyes while being sober, and time just seemed to rush by that day. I really wanted there to be more than 24 hours in a day during that day.
It was an unbelievably fun night for both of us with an additional burst of dreaminess for me. I don’t want to forget the activities we’ve done that day, but the one that stood out the most was the moment he extended his hand out for me to hold. No matter what happens next, I’ll cherish that snippet.
I managed to meet someone I love dearly in Hong Kong – even though it was for a short while. She was the one who has given me the card that teared me up, and extremely thoughtful gifts that she knew I would like.
I don’t know how I manage to meet and reconnect with her as the memories get blurred, but I’m very glad that I did. We exchanged laughs, tears, anger, frustration, struggles, and information with each other.
There were times where I felt down and abysmal and she was not afraid to disagree and call me out on my behavior.
She is one of the gems that I want to keep in my life for – oh, yes, forever.
My friend flew over to meet me for the first time during my birthday as chronicled over here. I know, I’m really taking this positive thinking more seriously and be the person who I needed to be when I was younger.
It was a blast, and I hope to see her in Miami soon.
I’m not quite sure why I wrote all these snippets and partial memories. I’m absolutely certain that there were so many other events that have happened, but I’ve been trying to put the focal points on certain ones that I have thought of these past few weeks.
It’s pretty nice to look at the past in a detached manner sometimes, and a lot of my bitter has turned into sweet. That’s the “lift me up” I needed for the past week – a trip down the memory lane.
I hope whoever is reading this is content today.