No, it actually didn’t happen like how the title suggests. We weren’t best friends when we fell in love. Not even friends to begin with.
In fact it was quite the opposite, and kinda followed the typical procession of modern day dating: You meet someone, probably through a dating app or through a friend, you hang out a bit, you jump into bed, and then whatever happens, happens. Maybe you get to sleep over, or you just pack up and leave after the deed’s over. Maybe they will follow up with you the morning after, or there’s no follow-up whatsoever #kthxbye.
For him and I, we actually met through a dating app. I was in HongKong at that time, July of 2014, for a summer program with a local university. It was a Saturday and I had nothing on, so I went on my phone to look for somebody who’s also free. Being a ‘tourist’ in a foreign land all by myself, that’s the easiest and quickest way to make new friends.
His profile came up on my phone within minutes into my search. I thought he seemed pretty alright so I messaged him, and almost immediately, he replied back. Less than 5 minutes into the conversation, we agreed to meet for coffee. Simple, easy, and straight-forward — just the way I like it. I prefer to meet people in person, rather than chatting incessantly through text messages and building this idealistic impression of them, which might be wayyyyy off what’s reality.
So, we decided to meet at a Starbucks at around noon. At that time, I think both of us understood that the ‘date’ may or may not turn out to be a flop, and hence we agreed on meeting up for coffee (first), instead of something else that requires much more commitment, like going to Disneyland together or something, you know. If we weren’t interested in each other, it would just be 30 minutes of coffee and then one of us could just say that we’re meeting another “friend” to politely cut the party short.
But anyway, that’s not what happened for us. Instead, we met up and then took a walk around the shopping mall with our Starbucks coffees in hand; the cafe was so crowded at noon it didn’t even have seats for two. We chatted casually while we strolled past the endless rows of branded stores. Jason told me about his life in HongKong as an American expat, while I shared about my pursuits as an undergraduate from Singapore.
Well, I must have been interesting enough for him, because after we finished our coffee, he suggested that we should go for some afternoon drinks at this fancy rooftop bar called Ozone that overlooks the city of HongKong. On the 118th floor, we shared a view like this, and spoke more.
Time flew when we were together. Soon, the shadows drew long, the sun was setting and it was going to be dinner time. Andddd you guessed it, he suggested that we should go for dinner together. Well I guess my charm wasn’t wearing off even after one whole day. It’s quite surprising that we weren’t sick of each other already. (Only much later had I found out that he actually cancelled his dinner with a friend because of me!)
Dinner was great. We had some authentic cantonese food at a huge restaurant filled with locals. We ordered so much we couldn’t finish everything. Jason was polite enough to foot the bill. (FYI, he didn’t pay for my coffee or my drink at the rooftop bar, and I’m forever holding that against him now.)
After dinner, we went back to his place for more drinks. He even opened a bottle of champagne for me. And then after, you know, bla bla.
And for us, we had checks for both the sleepover and the follow-up parts. In fact in the morning, we skipped breakfast and slept in a bit since it was a Sunday. (Later, he’d told me that he’s NEVER let anybody sleep over at his place.) For lunch, I brought him to this noodle place that I absolutely loved. I was obsessed with their wanton noodles. Little had I known at that time that in the future, we would go back to this same noodle place together for many more times. After lunch, he also sent me home, since I had to check in at the university later in the afternoon.
So on our first date of meeting, we literally spent like the whole 24 hours together. Crazy isn’t it?
For the following weeks, while I was in school, busy with the program, we were still messaging each other every single day. I also managed to sneak out a couple of times so we could meet, and I would stay over at his place instead of the university hostel.
Then the time came when I had to leave HongKong and go to China — Beijing and Tianjing — for the next leg of the summer school. It was quite saddening because things were going so well for the two of us. And it’s clear that if we were to continue communicating, it’s gonna be a long distance relationship kinda thing. You see, my previous two relationships were LDR, and both of them didn’t work out, so I was kinda sick/scared of it already.
But what made me realise that this time might be different was that after I left HongKong for mainland China, Jason actually flew over to Beijing to find me, in the name of a business trip. Of course, I was very pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the effort he put in. He wanted to spend more time with me, and he’s willing to splurge on air tickets for himself or for me so that we can see each other in spite of the distance. In essence, he was trying to buy us time, like literally.
Then, we weren’t really friends, but we weren’t lovers either.
Well, we did like each other’s company enough. Slowly, as we spent more time together, and shared more about ourselves, our thoughts, our past, and our prospects for the future with each other, and with a little magical moment here and a little magical moment there, we grew close, and an emotional bridge was built.
I didn’t plunge into the river of love. I was just drifting along…
Not knowing that it was actually carrying me towards a waterfall.
Before I knew it, he became my favorite person. He became the person that I want to do everything with. The person whom I want to have every meal with. The person whom I want to fall asleep with, and to see first thing in the morning when I wake.
I like that he reads widely. I like that he’s open to listening to the music I listen to — Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Beyonce and etc. I like that we watch the same TV shows like GoT, and also The Walking Dead which I got him hooked on. I like that he loves the ocean, just as I do. In fact, he’s a licensed scuba diving instructor, and teaches diving as a side hobby. We are both avid hikers, travelers and foodies too.
Of course we have our differences. For instance, I’m more of an extrovert while he’s more introverted. I like big parties and mixing with different people, while he would rather just hang out with me at home. Also, he loves his bikes and cars and motors, which I have absolutely no interest in. He’s an engineer and he thinks like one. I, in comparison, am an emotional wreck who likes to write about my feelings.
But our differences do have their perks. Often in the funniest ways, our differences made us compatible for each other. People say opposites attract. Well, I think opposites also help to balance each other. For instance, his calmness in certain situations helped me to be less anxious and more rational and positive. And I think being with me, he starts to become more expressive and open with his feelings and stuff.
For the second half of 2014, I was back in Singapore to finish my last semester in college, and Jason would come over from HongKong to visit me at least once or twice a month.
When he’s in Singapore, I would bring him out and introduce him to my best friends. He got to hang out with them, sometimes in a big group, and sometimes even one-to-one without me when I was busy with school work and couldn’t entertain him until later on.
Fortunately, everything worked out. All my friends were approving of him, which was quite a feat as my girlfriends could be quite picky sometimes.
This is essential as I adhere strictly to my chicks-over-dicks rule:
Girlfriends >>> Boyfriend/Lover/Special-Somebody-I-Am-Seeing.
Though, I was confident that my friends would like him as how I like him, and he would like them the same too.
Even though we have only known each other for a few months, it seems like we have known each other for a long time. We fit each other like the right puzzle pieces. He gets me. He laughs at my jokes. He makes me happy. He also spoils me with flowers, which is the key to my heart. (Though I later found out that it was Kaylie who told him about it.)
In essence, he loves me the way I want to be loved.
“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.”
— Marty McConnell
So yeah, he wasn’t my best friend to begin with. Not even a friend. But now, he’s got the best of me, and it all started with a “Hey, you wanna get some coffee?”
Well, I guess you’ll never know what life brings you until you take the first step, right?