9/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval
A nice little gay love story for the whole family. No, really it’s great. Realistic, passionate, well-acted, and involving. The plight of two gay men who only have a handful of hours to spend together before one of them leaves the country. I can identify. I’ve been there. No, I’m not gay (well, probably not), but I am an old soul when it comes to brief, wonderful, and transitory relationships.
I want to emphasize that the three adjectives above are separate, and I am not saying I find brief, transitory relationships preferable. I don’t. I hate them. There can be nothing worse than a brief amazing experience that is cut short because of the constraints of time.
Because then the questions creep in – slowly at first, but soon a tidal wave of emotions and possibilities crashes down upon your head. What would have happened if we had one more hour? One more day? One more month? A year?
If you ask a girl to come join you for dinner and she says, “Fuck off,” – Well, that’s the end of it. Look for someone else, old chap. But if you ask a girl to come to dinner and then drinks and then to the club and then home and then you realize you only have an hour left and then ten minutes and you’re walking her to the bus stop and you’re trading your flip-flops, two fools with mismatched shoes, and she’s boarding and she’s waving and and and she’s gone. Around the corner.
So you walk back home. Maybe you stop for a breakfast bowl of pho on the corner. It’s a dollar here and it’s good too, but it’s the first time you ever ate it because it’s 7 am and you haven’t woken up this early in a year. So, you sit and wonder what may have been had you only had a few more moments together.
The wondering is the worst. The questions. The unknown. There’s certainly something about traveling and living abroad. It’s an aphrodisiac. And you’ll fall under its spell again and again as you meet the love of your life again and again. And they are all perfect. Or they are all perfect in that moment at least.
But maybe they could have been perfect in the next moment too? And maybe the moment after that? So you wonder and wonder what could have been, if only…
So, this is the 21st century. We have cars that drive themselves. We’re on our way to ‘curing’ AIDS. We got to see Bieber arrested. We also have a plethora of options for staying connected with people on the opposite side of the world. So, to paraphrase Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber:
“What are our chances?”
“Well… probably one in a million.”
“So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
Sure, there’s a chance. A long shot, sure, but a chance. So, let’s make it work, right?
Yeah, I think you should come back. Yeah, I want you to come back. Yeah, come back! Great! Can’t wait to see you! Awesome, haha this is great! Yeah! Yeah!
She came back about two weeks later. She changed her plans and returned to Vietnam. For me. Because I said I wanted her to come. Because I/we thought there was something between us that might work.
I picked her up from the airport and drove her back to the hostel where I (we) were still staying. She asked me, “Is this crazy?” to which I said, “I dunno.” She told me she felt weird about coming back and then laughed nervously. I told her it would be fine, but then I realized I was lying to her and myself. Then I told her, again, “It’s gonna be fine! Haha!” I added the “haha” because I thought if I laughed she would feel better and then I would feel better and then everything would be better.
We spent a few awkward days together. I became more withdrawn after I realized (almost immediately realized) that I did not want anything to do with her. But she came and hung out with my friends and everyone got along reasonably well. But then she wanted answers. But then I had to tell her.
We’re walking back to the hostel. 4 am, maybe later, maybe a littler earlier. I’m not very drunk tonight. She wants to know what’s wrong. I tell her, “I don’t think it’s going to work out between us. Maybe we can be friends?” But I don’t want to be friends. I don’t want anything to fucking do with her. But she doesn’t need to know that so I play it cool. I’d like to not be an asshole even if that’s how I come off sometimes.
She’s hurt and upset and maybe starting to cry a little bit, but before she throws the tears down her face she wants to get the fuck away from me. Like now. Like ten minutes ago. She hands me her expensive SLR because I’m returning to the hostel to sleep. She decides to go for a walk. I tell her to be careful. It’s 4 am. It’s Saigon. She’s a single small Chinese girl. This is not a good combination.
I head home.
Ten minutes later she gets robbed at knife point in the park.