The New Rule (Hong Kong) And I found myself sitting in the parking lot of Caribou Coffee in North Raleigh and my palms were sweating. I sat there and my stomach was doing summersaults. I felt sick. I looked through the windows and saw Beatrice sitting alone and looking around nervously. “What am I doing?” I asked myself aloud and put my fingers back on the keys hanging from my ignition. I was about to turn it but then I stopped. “Screw it,” and threw my hands on the door handle and tossed myself out into the winter air. I walked fast so I wouldn’t talk myself out of it. When I walked in, Beatrice was looking the other way. I came up on her. “Hi,” I said. She turned and her smile grew wide. “Hi,” and then she followed quickly with, “cutie.” She was wearing a very tight red sweater and I hadn’t remembered how big her breasts had been at the toy store. She framed it all with a faux fur jacket. I felt awkward but I forced a compliment. “You are not looking bad yourself.” And with that I motioned towards the coffee counter. “You want some?” Her very blue eyes looked down. “Got some.” “Okay,” and I went to the counter and got my medium Mocha. And then I sat down at her table. “I wasn’t sure if you would show up being that you are married and all.” “Well,” and I looked around uncomfortably with the words ‘married and all’ still ringing in my ear, “I wasn’t sure about you either because of your fiancé.” “I told him I am hanging out with my girlfriends. And you?” I took a drink of my coffee. “She’s working late tonight.” And here we were – our secrets spilled out and we were pushing forward. And suddenly the conversation began to kindle. And then it began to burn. Then it ignited and nearly
exploded. We talked about how scared we were in our relationships and we didn’t know why we were here. Why were we seeking others when we had someone who loved us. Then without allowing us to answer it appropriately I changed the subject to why she was working at the toy store. “I wanted a more legitimate line of work.” She said giggling to herself. “What you mean?” “Dancing for a living doesn’t come with very good benefits but the cash on hand is good.” “Is that where you met your fiancé?” “Yes, I met him in the club. He came with his buddies. And we are told not to date the patrons. It’s actually bad for business. But he was persistent.” “So he is handsome?” “No actually. Not my type at all. And no he is not cute like you. But there was this something about him. So I fell for him.” And then she sighed. “And eventually he got very jealous of my job and forced me to quit. So I took the first job I could find – and that’s the toy store.” “And that’s where you met me.” “Yes. And why were you looking at Star Wars action figures anyway?” “Well the new Star Wars movie is coming out, I think its called ‘Phantom Menance’ and I just wanted to remind myself of my innocence. I was running from something.” “Running? Running from what?’ “Another woman.” “My god. You got women all over the place.” “No totally untrue,” and I looked down at my Caribou Coffee cup. “This woman at my work came on to me in my office. She knew I was married. And she was gorgeous. I mean absolutely gorgeous. And she made me feel good. Made me feel wanted.” “And you ran away from that?” “I am married.”
“So you went to the toy store?” “No. I went to see my best friend. My accountability partner from my church. He said I had done the right thing. And we prayed. And then he told me to go do something to get my mind off of the temptation. So I chose the most innocent thing I could think of – a toy store.” Beatrice laughed. She looked into my eyes hard, “And there’s where I came onto you.” She put the coffee to her mouth and then she took her tongue and dabbed at the hole but did not drink. She caught me watching. “I just like to taste. And I like the pain to the tip of my tongue from the heat.” I adjusted in my chair. She gave a naughty grin. “So I am temptation? I am the devil? Are you breaking a rule being here?” I was quiet. “Well, sorry. I just thought you were funny. A grown man looking at the Star Wars action figures. And I thought you were adorable.” “Thanks.” “So why are you here?” I shrugged. “I don’t know.” “Well I know why I am here,” she said matter-of-factly. “You only live once. And we connected and I want to see where this goes.” “I guess that’s it. It feels good to be wanted. Most women believe men don’t need that validation. But we do.” And that’s when I felt her hand under the table on my knee. I jerked. I started getting nervous. “You okay?” I shook my head. “No, I need to go.” And I started to stand. She stood up with me. “Okay, I will walk out with you.” I said nothing as we walked into the winter air. “Well…” I stammered out.
“Hey,” and she grabbed my hand. “I want to show you something.” And she pulled me towards her car. She finally stopped in front of a Jeep with the soft top snapped into place. The drivers’ side door was facing away from the coffee shop. As she put her key in the lock, she turned and saw me fidgeting. She stopped unlocking her door and touched my cheek with her hand. “You look so nervous.” “I am.” She pulled open the door and leaned her back against it. Now we were hidden from the road. “I want to show you something,” and she pushed her fingers to her sweater and pulled it up exposing her tiny belly button. And then she started unsnapping her button fly jeans. I stared. I didn’t move. I didn’t resist. I just watched. And I noticed she was not wearing underwear. And she was completely shaven. And where her pubic hair was supposed to be – she had a tattoo. It was a scorpion. She looked up at me demurely. “Do you like?” I swallowed hard. And I saw my fingers going forward to touch it. But then – I stopped. I completely froze and stumbled backwards. “I have to go. I have to go!” And with that, I was on the other side of the Jeep. She called out to me, “Hey, I am sorry. You don’t have to leave!” she tried to persuade me. I stayed there – talking to her separated through the canvas of the soft top and her rolled up jeep windows. “It’s okay. I haven’t felt this kind of passion, want, lust in a long time. It’s like a shock to the system.” “Don’t fight it.” “It’s sin,” I said quickly. “Make a new rule.” And then I couldn’t stay any longer. Without saying anything else, I hurried to my blue Honda Civic. I sat in the drivers’ seat shaking. Then I screamed. And then I shouted, “I hate you God! I did Your will! I followed your rule! And then you just led me to another… I hate you!” And with that I started the car and drove out into the traffic a little too quickly. I didn’t talk to her again until three years later. I had been separated for a year and divorced a year. By accident, Beatrice and I made contact again through email. I was back in the States from overseas and she was living in Willimington, North Carolina. I made the drive out to see her. She asked me to get a
hotel room. She was about to celebrate her first year anniversary of marriage to the guy who she was engaged to when I met her. And when she had came her last time, she took a nap on my chest. But then she woke with a start and guilt was all over her face. We showered together and she began to leave. “I will come back later tonight. But I have to go home now, he’s getting off work.” She said. And with that, she shut the door to the hotel room a little too hard. Then I was there alone. I sat on the corner of the bed, naked except for the towel. I then stood and packed. I didn’t wait for her. I left and drove back to Raleigh. I got an email the next day from her apologizing for not showing back up at the hotel. But she said, she couldn’t come back because the truth would have been, she would never leave. I never replied to her email. And we never saw each other again.
I met them at the Nepalese restaurant in SoHo, Hong Kong. They were sitting next to the sidewalk. They were arguing while sharing a bottle of red wine when I came up. I heard her say, “You just don’t understand me.” “Why should I?” he said quickly before the argument died when the waiter tried to find me a chair. “Hey, wow, those glasses make you look like Clark Kent,” Mrs. Bueno said. I laughed. “I know I have been getting that a lot lately.” “How did you find us?” she asked taking a sip.. “Yeah, we were fighting that you would never know which Nepalese restaurant in SoHo.” Mr. Bueno said. “That’s not something to argue about,” I said quickly. “Welcome to twelve years of marriage.” He said. “And you want this?” “Don’t listen to him.” Mrs. Bueno said angrily. I was quiet. “You know, have you guys ever thought of going on a holiday together – alone? No kids. Nothing company related.” “Why? We would just spend most of the time arguing. We would probably kill each other.” He explained.
“No we wouldn’t.” she answered quietly. “Go to some island resort.” I said. “Hell no, she would just complain and not even put on a swimsuit,” he drank some of his wine. “That’s not true,” she tried to dispute. She then looked at me. “I always wear a swimsuit.” “Gosh I feel like a mediator between you two.” Mr. Bueno looked at me. “Don’t worry. This is reality. You are seeing the truth. Don’t believe all the bullshit in those romance movies.” Mrs. Bueno looked away. “Hell, everyone should be – should be - swingers.” He laughed a little too loud. “Swap their wives and their husbands. Because everyone is lying to everyone anyway. Even those that are saying they are being faithful are lying. Why can’t we all just be honest? Leave the old set of laws behind. Be truthful. Let the one you care about know everything about you.” Mrs. Bueno flashed with anger. “So you want to be a swinger?” “No,” he corrected. “No I am saying the whole world is being delusional. Lying to one another. I am saying be honest. Build something true with someone.” “So we are a lie?” she seemed hurt. “No,” he added quickly. “Fuck.” And he finished his wine. “I have been drinking too much.” He made the sign with his fingers for the bill to the waiter. Once Mr. Bueno disputed one of the items on his bill and agreed to pay, we all left for TakeOut Comedy. And when the host, Jami, asked the audience who was married – Mr. and Mrs. Bueno raised their hands – as well as other couples. One woman raised her hand in the front. Jami joked, “Where is your husband? Is it ladies night out?” The woman in the front looked conflicted but then she said half laughing and half serious, “I don’t know where he is.” Jami was shocked. And the spotlight from above highlighted the wrinkles on his forehead above his glasses. “What? You don’t know where your husband is?”
And the audience giggled. I looked to Mr. Bueno beside me. He was laughing too. I looked at Mrs. Bueno and she wasn’t. I also didn’t laugh. I felt awkward. And Jami went on to ask more questions – because as he said – the audience tonight was all secrets and mystery. Everyone laughed loudly. And then Jami introduced the next comedian, Michael Dorsher.
I returned home after Vivek killed the last 8 minutes of the comedy show and I had finished off my three Coronas I bought from the 711. On entering the building, my Pakistani security guard was asleep on his cot. I had my red pockets for Chinese New Year with me – so I tried to wake him to give him his. He was snoring loudly. So I left it on the desk in front of him so it would be the first thing he would see when he woke up. I had to give it to him because I was leaving for New York City early the next morning. After spilling out of the elevator and opening my apartment door, Sophia was on the bed with her laptop. We didn’t speak. Our argument from last night was still fresh on our hearts and my hand still had her teeth marks. “Where were you?” she asked finally breaking the silence. “I SMS’d you. I told you I was going out with Mr. and Mrs. Bueno. I wanted you to come with us. They asked about you.” “What did you do?” “We went out to TakeOut Comedy. Man, it was an excellent show. I really wish you would have gone.” “Well, I tried calling and SMS’ing you.” “I turned off my mobile.” And that was our last words. I packed for my flight and passed out on the bed. The next morning when my alarm went off, I pulled myself out of the bed after hitting the snooze twice. Sophia’s back was to me. I turned on the light and saw a note attached to the bathroom mirror. It had Sophia’s handwriting. Babe, I am watching you sleep as I write this.
I am sorry I got so angry last night. I know you care for me. And I know you want me to tell you what’s wrong when I feel it. But it’s so hard to talk to you when I am angry. The emotions just come out of me. I am also sorry I bit you. I was just so frustrated. And you are so stubborn. I know you want to create a new kind of relationship. You want to be able to tell me everything. And you want me to talk about everything. And you want us to do everything together as a couple. But sometimes I just can’t. This is all new to me. So I get scared for us. But just know I love you more than you know. Nothing is easy. And even with the fights – I never regret anything when I am with you. Okay I am getting sleepy now. Be good in the States. And I already miss you. I love you very much. Sophia After brushing my teeth, I went back to the bed and kissed her awake. In the cold of a Hong Kong winter, our bodies grew warm. Hot. And we were on each other. We couldn’t resist.
I was very late and we were holding hands running to the Section B at Hong Kong International Airport. The lady at the check-in counter told me I was extremely lucky. The rule was if I had been one minute later, I wouldn’t have been able to check-in. As I took my seat in 38C, I realized the lines and rules of relationships are based on your methods of persuasion. Not others persuasion. It’s based how you convince yourself of the things that make you happy. But when you wait for God, friends, or family to persuade you on what’s right - you are always in conflict. You are abandoning yourself. And you will find yourself alone in a hotel room naked except for a towel – waiting for a woman who will never return because now she is with her husband. Not because she loves him. But because that’s what she has told herself she has to do to be accepted. She trapped herself with the rule she had previously wanted me to break. And in turn she hid who she really was from the person she is supposed to love more than anyone. Afraid that person won’t accept her for who she really is. Or what she wants.
Then the true isolation begins. And then as a person you seek someone out, anyone that you can reach out to – that understands. That wants the same things you do. Especially the secrets. Those things that you are afraid no one will accept you for. That allows someone to enter into that secret place of you. Doesn’t everyone deserve to have that one person in their life to be complete with. Not just be completed by. But share everything. Do everything. But perhaps the world is jealous of those that are not afraid to live, who don’t lie to themselves, and are happy on their terms. Then while already uncomfortable in my Economy seat and while watching the airplane safety video, I realized it. This was the new rule.
Written by GS Jackson, © 2009 LOL Entertainment Group, LLC (USA) Limited (HKG)