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Be a language master!!        Kenneth Island!!

Am I in a committed relationship now!?

This is the story of how I met my present girlfriend. It was about 2 months ago. She was working in a new restaurant, which is very close to my place of work. When we walked to the restaurant for the first time, we were wondering if we should try it. As you know, changes do not always work well for us. However, at the next moment, a waitress saw us and said "Welcome!" while she sat in the counter. Usually, we don't care whatever waitresses say to us. If any customers did, every restaurant could make a fortune immediately, and I would quit my job and start my own as soon as possible. By the way, we were different at that day. Somehow, we decided to take a shot on that restaurant and entered.

 

"Nobody is here...."I said, looking around the empty room. We were too busy on that day to come out for lunch, so that it was already over 2 o’clock when we entered the restaurant. Nevertheless, it couldn't be right that a restaurant in a busy street had no customers at noon. We felt like this restaurant wouldn't last any longer. Their food must be very terrible. No doubt. "I knew it!" my friend said. At that very moment he was trying to say something about this restaurant (Believe me, he has such a mean-mouth) , a waitress, who sat in the counter, came to us to take our orders.
"Can I take your orders?" the waitress asked us. While she was taking our orders, we started to joke around just as we usually do in restaurants. "Is it okay with you that there are no customers at this time? You will have to close your restaurant soon if you keep going like this!" What hopeless people we are. The lack of customers in the restaurant was obviously not her fault. Did we really have to point it out, especially to a waitress like her? To be honest, we loved to play around. Usually, whenever we try to make fun of waitresses in China, they always give us bitter smiles or hate our guts. We enjoyed their attitudes every lunch time. However, her response was beyond our expectation. "You are so right! It's been only two weeks since I started working here. I don't know what to do if my boss fires me!" She just gave us a big, nice smile and went back to the kitchen. We were totally knocked out by her cheerful response and just sipped water with bitter smiles, like we were the ones who had been teased.
Soon, our food came to the table. While we were enjoying our meal, the employees showed up and started their lunch at the other tables, too. (Maybe, it is not usual in other countries that employees take breaks in front of customers during business hours, but it is common in China, although, of course, they won't come out at really busy times.) She was having lunch, sitting opposite me at a table which is right-diagonally in front of mine. While I was looking at her pure face, our eyes met by chance. At that moment, I had some mysterious feeling. I made a slight bow to her and she gave me a lovely smile back. Possibly, I already had been caught by her.

 

When we went to the counter to get our bill, she came out. I tried to talk to her while she was calculating our bill. "How is your business going recently?" "Not really good. There are no customers, especially at this time of a day." I got our change and smiled at her. " That bad? In that case, you will be most welcome to come to work with us if the store goes out of business! " "Oh, that would be very sweet!" She smiled back and saw us, their last customers, to front of the gate. On the way back to our company, my friend started to grin at me. "How lame was that, Kenneth!? Are you an old drunk man or what? You are just pathetic!" "Shut your mouth up, you moron."As usual, we started boring conversations. "But he has a point..." I thought while we were chatting.

 

 Since that day, I started to go to her restaurant very often. I suppose I went there for lunch almost every day, especially avoiding busy times in order to get more chances to talk with her. Even I couldn`t take those creepy acts like a crazy stalker. But I didn`t mind at all. I just couldn`t stop thinking of her. I was dying to hear her voice.
  Somehow, she started understanding my feelings through those childish ways of mine. We had come to talk with each other on the phone and been friends who go out together every weekend.

 

When I woke up on Sunday, I received a message from her. "My mom is coming to Beijing to see me tonight. I have already told her about you. She was very excited and said that she definitely wanted to meet you! Do you have time tonight?" What on the earth is going on? She didn`t tell me anything about it when we met last night. Now I have to meet her mother? I should be the first one to know about this matter. However, something very terrible is happening around me! It was just ironic. There, there, my little poor Kenneth. While I was suffering from huge shock and half consciousness caused by this surprising event, I started to answer her with my trembling hands.

 

"This is so sudden, isn`t it? When will your mom arrive here, anyway?" I pretended as much as I possibly can that nothing had been happening to me. "Her flight will arrive on around 5:30 PM of this afternoon. After her arriving at the airport, it also may take about two more hours to my younger sister`s house." "That is not what I`m asking you!!" Because I was so panicked that I forgot what my original question was, and just shouted alone in my room. Perhaps, she sensed my worry and texted me again. "It`s okay, honey. I just told my mom that one of my good friends was coming over. You don`t have to worry about it too much. It`s just dinner, you know? So it will totally fine with us if you can`t make it because of your job."

 

“Friend?” Oh, please. Isn`t that word in this context internationally recognized as “Lover”? Maybe she is just testing me. This is a common trick of women, but no matter how many girls you go out with or how long you get to know them, you will never understand what they are thinking, because each girl has totally different tricks, behavior, and idea about dating. Some people say that dating girls is amazing because they are always mysterious. However, for me, especially now, I can`t afford to say it. Suddenly, I just remembered an article on the famous physicist Stephen William Hawking writing about women. He said in the article that Women are the creature which we will never understand. When I read it the first time, I didn`t see what he was trying to tell us. I finally have started understanding how significant it is to us.

 

It`s just been around two weeks since we officially decided to go out together. We were not in that kind of relationship yet. We were more like very close friends who go shopping together and have coffee every weekend. Personally, I wanted to spend more time in getting to know her. So this sudden offer made me very confused. Moreover, the timing was really terrible, too. The Chinese New Year`s Day by the lunar calendar was coming up soon, which people still have a strong traditional custom to spend together as FAMILY. You will understand how important the day is for them when you see the heavy traffic jams in any transport facilities during the New Year vacation. It was the time when she wanted me to meet her mother. I was tormented over and over.

 

“Okay, then. I will take the subway over there after I finish my job.” I answered to her like this. What else was I supposed to say to her in this situation? I knew it was too soon for me to meet her mother, but on the other hand, I didn`t want her to think that I was just playing around with her. Of course, meeting your girlfriend`s parents in Japan is the opening of a happy ending story. Perhaps, it`s just dinner like she said. (which it wasn`t, of course.) I made the decision to go and meet her mother with that sweet hope left though I felt a touch of uneasiness.

 

It took around an hour to get to her sister`s house from my company by the subway. I hurried to the KFC next to the subway station, where we arranged to meet. When I reached to the KFC, she gave me a big smile and waved her hand, sitting on the window seat. Suddenly, I felt as if the Colonel Sanders beside the door looked at me and said `Go for it, Kid!` while he was grinning at me. `How dare you…!` I was almost about to kick his fat butt. But because she was staring at me suspiciously, I just ignored him and went inside.

 

“Sorry. I was late.” “No. It`s okay, honey.” While I was enjoying this precious moment, she started to say something. “My sister is coming here to pick us up soon. She said my mom and the others are all so excited to meet you!” “ THE OTHERS?” In striking contrast to her joyful smile, I heard an unforgivable remark sounds a bit unnatural and asked her immediately. “So, anyway, how many people are coming to dinner tonight?” “My mom and dad are coming by plane. And other relatives are coming by train. So we have 7~8 people coming, at least.” “What!?” I was so shocked that I almost passed out and screamed in my mind.

 

Later, her sister and the husband came into the KFC store. “Sis, Long time no see! How are you?” After their general greeting, her sister turned around and smiled at me. “ You must be Mr. Kenneth! How do you do? I have heard a lot about you from my sister. We have been waiting for a long time to meet you!” While she was smiling around so happily, my heart sank.
Hold on, miss? What I was told was to sit on the furthest seat and sip at alcohol while they were enjoying themselves. But the truth is, I am the main guest for tonight. And they want to announce that I`m her official boyfriend (or more like fiance.) in a big way. That`s the purpose of tonight`s dinner, isn`t it? “Well played, you cute devil….” I murmured in my mind. Apparently, I have no choice but to face the last place for my life. Nevertheless my ladies seem so happy. And the Colonel Sanders looks as if he was still grinning at me with the weird face.

 

I was welcomed a million times more warmly than I expected. Finally, I met the legendary person, her mother, while one of her sons in law was busy in cooking our dinner in the kitchen. She stared at me as if I was the only hope in the world which she could depend on, and grabbed my hand tightly ”Son, Please take good care of my daughter….” She said. Of course, I was a little confused and tried to explain to her. “Ahh…,Miss, actually….” When I was just about to say something, she turned over and started talking with her daughter. As you may know, there are tons of dialects in China and each of them is totally different from Mandarin like other foreign languages. So I was not able to understand what they were talking about at all. Nevertheless, I sensed that they were saying something like that the mother was so happy because her dearest daughter finally brought her “ Boyfriend” to their family. While they were chatting so happily against my will, I suddenly realized that my situation was exactly the same with some livestock which was just about to be butchered. That is, a sheep which had been tied up, would try to resist and ask the master who seemed so happy to help, however it would never have any choices but to watch a knife driving into itself. What a cruel creature human being is
When the other relatives arrived, my situation had gotten even worse. My girlfriend introduced me to them, one by one. They watched me very carefully as if they were checking out tonight`s main dish. “What the hell, It couldn`t be worse, anyway!” I lost my calmness and swigged off whatever alcohols that they wanted me to have. “Jesus! You are a real drinker ,aren`t you Kenneth!? Come on, son. drink the next one with me!!” I had had so much alcohol with so many relatives whose face I don`t really remember already ( I`m terribly sorry, sir). Because of my lively behavior, they liked me way more than I expected. We had a lot of fun over dinner.

 

I barely remembered that there were two guys sitting beside me, who were the husbands of two of her sisters. Since we were in the same age group, we talked a lot with each other. The guy who sat on my left side especially, chatted too much just like an old drunk man, even though he didn`t drink alcohol at all. At that time, I had already lost my mind and was very much like another old drunk man. So I didn`t really remember what he was talking about.(Sorry, dude…) However, he seemed to be very interested in Japanese culture. Also, he has been to Japan a couple times because of his business. To my surprise, I was extremely welcomed and then falling down to the circle of darkness of my life.

 

 I was over-welcomed by too much food to eat and too much alcohol to drink. However, they all seemed drunk as much as I was. So we cleaned up the table after dinner together. While we were washing the dishes, one of her relatives started again. “By the way, what kind of relationship are you in with my sister?” Here is my chance! Finally, I found a sensible man in this chaos. I was about to burst myself with great joy. But “You, idiot! Mr. Kenneth is our sister`s fiance! They are already engaged!!” The man who loved Japanese culture, suddenly cut in and whispered into him. “Really!? Then, when are you planning to have your wedding?” Damn! How could you do this to me!? You ruined my precious hope which I finally found in this chaos, just as simply as throwing garbage out. I thought you could be my friend but you are already dead to me. “Well, I think it is too early for us to marry. She and I just started dating…” I tried to clean this mess up as much as I could. “Oh, come on, Kenneth! You don`t worry about that too much! Next time you come to our dinner on Chinese New Year day, you can be officially a member of our family!!” He said so in a clear-cut way.

 

This word slapped me to wake up from slight intoxication. They don’t understand my language at all. I got involved in the spiral of hell as if a poor insect stepped into a doodlebug carelessly. The undeniable fate was eating at my life no matter how hard I tried to escape from it. I finally understood there was no hope for me and suggested to her that we should leave now or else we would miss the last train even though it was still 9 o`clock, which I knew didn`t make any sense at all.

 

I didn`t think she bought my lame excuse that we would miss the last train but somehow she agreed with me on the point that we should leave as soon as possible. We left her sister`s house even though they all asked us to stay the night. On the way to the station, we both had a little awkward moment. We didn`t know how to start our conversation after so many unexpected things happened and went beyond our control.

 

After we kept quiet for a while, she broke the silence. “What a surprise it was.” “ Yes, indeed.” I answered her. At the same time I stared complaining in my mind.” Who on earth said dinner…” I regretted what I had done at that night. I should have realized that it definitely would happen to us. People say dating someone nowadays is quite different from old days. Even so, I should have been aware of that meeting girlfriend`s parents still has significant meaning, especially in Asia. Moreover, it was on Chinese New Year vacation. How many years had I lived in China by then? How couldn’t I find out such a simple question? I asked myself a million times under freezing cold night. While I was getting frustrated by my own carelessness, her hand by which she held me was felt warmer than usual.

 

“So I told you it would not be just dinner.” Trusting on her warmth through her hand, I said to her teasingly. She turned over to me with a little surprise. “I didn’t know the whole thing either. Seriously! But when I was talking with my mom and the others, it figured out you could be the one. I know this is not fair to you. But I want you to make it work even if we break up at the end.” “Sure I will.” I kissed her, looking into her feeble eyes. Her lip was trembling. I couldn’t tell it was because of the freezing night or the fear about our future at that moment. All I could do was just hold her tight.

 

What am I supposed to do? I asked myself, looking at her sleeping by me. I only met her parents because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. However, I wasn’t ready to marry when they asked me about it. It may sound very irresponsible to you. But what they were doing to me is just like forcing me to make a huge investment without any explanations. It was them who seemed irresponsible to me. They have never been concerned about our future before. Even so, my girl friend was different, of course. At least, I want to believe that in that moment, she and I loved each other and wanted to spend more time together to get to know each other better. It was ironic that we, who were supposed to marry, had never considered marriage seriously while they had. As a result, our naive relationship had been broken fragilely under their tremendous pressure.

 

Because of what happened, she and I couldn’t be together in the end. Being friends is an option, however we thought we should not leave any regret to us and decided not to see each other any longer. Now we don’t contact each other at all. A book which I read a long time ago, says it is key for women seeking commitment in a relationship not to let men know they are looking for it because men are always afraid of commitment. I think the book is right about that. Nevertheless, it is true that I hurt her feelings. Even now, I can`t be sure if my decision at that time was right or wrong.

Chinese Japanese