“It was 4am at a friend’s house when I walked out of the dark party room and onto the balcony for some air. I was 23 at the time, and as fun and amazing as everything around me was, I knew it was time to slow down. “Whoa! Where did you come from?” a voice exclaimed from the back. My thick, waist-length curly hair was all over the place from dancing and sweating but there Raymond* was, looking completely Zen. His eyes were wide with excitement as he beckoned me to sit with him and talk. The night had been so intoxicating, I hardly remember much of the conversation, except that he had just moved back after a five-year stint in Singapore, and was taking time off from travelling in Southeast Asia. We talked all night and went our separate ways in the morning.
Raymond and I kept bumping into each other over the next six months, and found ourselves at a gathering once again. This time, he walked straight up to me. We made up for all those times of not going up to each other by chatting for hours. We talked about our thirst for adventures, the world, his travels, and how we were both interested in taking up diving. When he said, “It was time for me to come home after five years working in Singapore. I missed my girls,” I couldn’t help but feel a slight pang. “I wanted to be closer to my mother and my sister. I love my girls,” he continued.
Being an early bloomer, the only boys and men that I’d come across were bad news. It was always lust and a need for companionship that ruled my relationships. Three years prior to meeting Raymond, I was in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. To come across someone so openly affectionate towards his family was a breath of fresh air. When the night came to an end, he tapped me gently and said: “There’s something about you. I hope you know that and I don’t want to see you change. Not for anyone.” Once again, we went our separate ways.