30-Day Writing Challenge Day 13 : A Memorable Stranger

13. A Memorable Stranger

stranger
/ˈstreɪn(d)ʒə/
noun
  1. a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar.

It was many years ago when I first watched Wong Fu Production’s Youtube short, Strangers Again which chronicles the stages of a relationship. From being strangers gradually trying to get to know each other, getting into a relationship, going through a honeymoon phase where everything is sweet and lovey-dovey, misunderstandings, fights and the inability to compromise or reconcile differences, and finally breaking up – becoming strangers, again.

I spent the better part of five years with someone from high school. We had been friends since we were 16, and got together when we were 17.  We even went to the same college for awhile, and I recall fondly times where we’d ride the train to college, sometimes waiting for hours at the mall for the other to finish their classes, just so we could ride home together. Things were sweet for awhile, but as it goes, things played out just like in Strangers, Again. It wasn’t any one person’s fault – it was just that we were young, naive and had idealistic notions about love.

Perhaps the idea is best encapsulated by this nugget of wisdom from Zendaya (young but very talented and mature, unlike many of her contemporaries in Hollywood):

“I’m so anti being in a committed relationship when you’re young and people are learning and growing, because when people are young, they make bad decisions sometimes because they don’t know any better. It doesn’t mean they don’t know the difference between right and wrong—it just means that they’re still in the experimental phase in their life where they haven’t made the right decisions yet…it’s very hard to be in a relationship when the both of you are still figuring out life. You cannot change anybody. You cannot make someone grow up faster than they’re supposed to.”

 

We were both at a phase where we were just discovering the world and the best people and environments to surround ourselves with  – and our ideals and visions for the future were just too different at the time. While we broke up on relatively good terms, it felt awkward. How do you become friends again with someone whom you have been so intimate with and who knows almost every facet of your life, for five years? Friends who knew us were pretty appalled, saying it was a shame and that I wasted five years of my life and youth. That’s just the thing though – did I want to waste another five? I’ve always been of the belief that if things don’t work out even when you’ve already exhausted all avenues, perhaps it’s time to move on.

These days, we’re still ‘friends’ on social media, although I haven’t seen him for the good part of six years, nor have we spoken much other than sporadically. Of course, having spent so much time together in our developmental years, it’s hard not to recall things from the past. All things considered, we had a good run, and our experiences together helped shaped me into the person I am today. Strangers? Yes. Memorable? Definitely.

 

 

Red

It was barely dawn when I woke up and was unable to fall back asleep. It was still dark outside. And quiet. Red was snoring gently next to me, his long lashes curling across his face.

I sat up in the dim light of the room, my legs under the blankets. It was cold. I wanted to snuggle back into the covers, rub myself against Red’s delicious warmth. But I sat there and looked at his face and then at the clothes strewn all over the place – that we had thrown off in a frenzy of love-making last night.

He had been angry about the mosquitoes. They had flown in and got him all over the place, every single square inch that was uncovered.  Something in his blood, probably. Must be all that pent-up rage.

He had slammed things around yelling curses, as if the mozzies could understand what ‘fucking get out‘ meants. I think they got the vibrations in the air though.

When we had got the mozzies out and he had calmed down he pushed me on the bed and we had good, intense sex. We always did that – him getting mad, us screaming at each other and him smashing things up, then fucking right on the floor with our hands desperately clutching each other as if we were afraid the other would leave.

Sometimes I was afraid of him – he got pissed over the littlest things. Like I’d forget to heat the water up for his bath when he came home and he’d throw a hissy fit. He smashed our old alarm clock the last time around; we’ve had to set our phone alarms to ring since then.

I often wondered the reason why I stuck with him, or even fell for him in the first place. I guess he reminded me of my father : the one who was barely there, but would come home and beat us up when he felt like it.

I had ran away from home running from my father, to land into Red’s arms instead. He was exactly the same in his brash, egoistic demeanour – the swearing, the drinking, the chain-smoking – the only difference was that he never dared to lay a finger on me.

Red could also be unexpectedly tender at times…when he’s not being a neurotic psycho-bastard. Once he made little hearts out of pink paper slips and hung it all over our apartment to surprise me for my 22nd birthday. I had to take it all down later, but that gesture, coming from a man whose happiness was measured by how full of beer and cigarettes he was and how much sex he was getting, was touching. It proved that he was capable of loving, in his own harsh, crude way.

Unlike my father.

He stirred next to me, his eyes squinting to locate my silhoutte bent over in the dark, clutching my knees.

“You okay babe?” he murmured, his voice sexy and deep and throaty from just waking up. I could’ve made love to him again right then and there just listening to that voice. Red was a beautiful guy.

He had thick, arched brows and large eyes – but that also meant he looked permanently pissed off at everything. He had the sexiest lips a girl could wish for – soft, with a little stubble and moustache which he shaved every other day but kept growing back. Like his namesake, hair dyed a bright shade of red, as fiery as his temper. And that body. Muscled arms, flat stomach, rock hard abs. Part of the reason we had such good sex was coz I found him to be so goddamned sexy, he made me forget when I was mad at him.

“Nothing babe, just couldn’t get back to sleep.” I said, smiling. As if he could see.”Go back to sleep.”