“Now I feel like an idiot,” Xi Men said and sighed as both his hands scratched his head.
He then closed his eyes and his right hand squeezes his nasal bridge.
“When will she call? Will she ever call?”
It’s been 3 days since he made the call to Xiao You.
And up until now, Xiao You has yet to call him back to tell him her decision.
He really feels like calling her to ask, in order to shorten his agony, but he is the one that tells Xiao You to take her time to think about this. So he should really just stay put and wait for her to call.
Regardless if it is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he wishes she will just call him and let him know.
But if she didn’t call… he will assume her answer is ‘no’.
The MOST miserable part is not about anticipating her call or her answer, but about revealing such an idea to Xiao You.
It has been 10 years yet he gives such a suggestion to her which she may not be interested.
So many things could and have changed over 10 years.
Before he calls her to propose this idea, he felt that he is stuck in that guilt.
Now that he already tells her this idea, he felt like he shouldn’t have suggested that.
And it makes him sounded as though he ‘need’ a woman right now, so he looked for Xiao You.
But the truth is really because of the guilt and he wants to get it off his mind, but once he proposed this idea to her, it turns out quite… weird.
“My gosh… this feels terrible as well,” Xi Men said, raising his head up.
He lowered his head down to look at his ringing smartphone on his desk.
“Xiao You?” he saw the name flashing on the phone.
He quickly grabbed his phone and picks the call up.
Xi Men: Xiao You?
Xiao You: Hi.
Xi Men (lowered his head slightly): Hi.
Xiao You: I hope I am not calling at your busiest time…
Xi Men: No, no. I am free now. My meeting will be at 2pm later.
Xiao You: I see.
Xi Men (smiled faintly): Yeah… (and then change of tone immediately) OH! Should I call you back? It is going to cost you a lot to make this call.
Xiao You: Don’t worry about it. It is fine.
Xi Men: Oh.
Xiao You: Umm…
Xi Men: Yeah?
Xiao You: About your suggestion the other day…
‘I hope you are telling me the answer now? Please? Though I probably wouldn’t feel terrible to wait for your answer anymore… but… but I guess I will always remember how stupid I am to actually preach the idea to you…’ he thought.
Xiao You: I’ve given it a thought.
‘What’s the answer, Xiao You?! I can’t bloody wait anymore!!!’
Xi Men (calmly): Okay…
Xiao You: One week, right?
Xi Men (eyes strayed): Yeah…
Xiao You: Let’s go for it.
Xi Men’s jaw dropped. Down to the floor. He went completely stunned upon hearing that!
Xiao You: Xi Men?
The calling awakes the stunned him.
Xi Men: Did… did you just say… go for it?
Xiao You: Yeah.
His eyes went to the left and right… still completely surprised with that respond from Xiao You.
Xiao You: Why…? Does it sound a bit unbelievable to you?
Xi Men: Yeah. Completely unbelievable…
Xiao You (gives a small laugh): But you are the one that gives that suggestion. The answer is only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ so my answer is definitely one of the two. Why is it so unbelievable to you if I give a respond out of the two?
Xi Men: I… well; a part of me thinks you won’t take it.
Xiao You: So… if you are expecting that I am not going to take it… why did you call to make that offer in the first place?
Xi Men: Umm…
She awaits his answer.
Xi Men: I don’t know what to say. Probably because I’ve waited for couple of days to get your answer… so I naturally thought… the longer I wait, the less likelihood it will happen.
He heard her taking a deep breath.
Xiao You: I want you to be clear that I am not taking it because I still want a piece of you.
Xi Men blinked as he listens to her.
Xiao You: I could just say I didn’t want it anymore but after hearing the reason why you are suggesting this; I understand what and how it feels to owe someone something. And it is not a nice feeling. More over you are burdened by it for years.
Xi Men nodded briefly over here with the phone still in his hand.
Xiao You: I am saying ‘yes’ because I have indeed asked for it from you. So…
Xi Men tilts his head and then he interrupts her.
Xi Men: Xiao You… before we proceed… do you know what you are into now?
Xiao You: Yes. Why do you ask?
Xi Men: Do you know my ‘week’ consists of dating, dining and sleeping together?
Xiao You: You’ve told me before. I know.
Xi Men: Xiao You, I am saying, sleeping together. Do you get me? I mean…
Xiao You (unaffected tone): Dude.
Xi Men is slightly taken aback to hear Xiao You uttered that to address him and even on an unimpressed tone.
Xiao You: Don’t talk to me like I don’t know what sex is. I know.
Xi Men (stammered): I mean, I mean I know you know what sex is. I was just… just telling you what… what the week means…
Xiao You: Look. I know what I am into. I will not force myself to do something I am not comfortable with. Besides, though sex is part of the package, it doesn’t mean it MUST happen. I can just spend a week going out and eat with you. At the end of the week, you’ve fulfilled the week that you said you owed me. Isn’t that what you want?
Xi Men’s eyes widened a little bit.
Yes, that is exactly what he wants.
Why does he bother so much about the sleeping together part?
At the end of the day, what he wants is to fulfill the ‘one week’ wish. Not the full package.
It doesn’t matter if sex is involved, the most important part is he spends a week with her.
Xiao You: Looking at it, it seems that you are the one that is interested or probably anticipating for that?
Xi Men (taken aback): No! No, no, no. I don’t mean that.
Xiao You: And well, if you have a problem with that, then don’t suggest this to me in the first place.
Xi Men: I am sorry. I just want to make sure we are on the same page.
Xiao You: So, are we on the same page now?
Xi Men: I think so.
Xiao You: Good.
‘Surprised! She is so… different…’ Xi Men thought to himself.
Xiao You: Before we proceed with any talks or discussions, let’s set this clear first. This is only for one week; only 7 days. After this week ends, everything will go back to normal. Back to what you and I have now. You will live your life back in Taipei and I will live my life in Toronto.
That’s exactly what he wanted.
Get over with the week.
Xi Men: Yes. That is exactly what I have expected.
Xiao You: Good.
Xi Men: So… when do you want to do this?
Xiao You (tilts her head): Sounds like you are letting me to decide…
Xi Men: Today isn’t the same like 10 years ago, where you are based in Taipei… and umm… we don’t have any commitments with jobs then, thus making decisions were way easier. And right now, since we are in different parts of the world as well as working, I can’t possibly do it on my own without taking your thoughts into consideration.
Xiao You: Now that’s very surprising.
Xi Men: What’s surprising?
Xiao You: I don’t exactly remember you are like this to your mei-mei. You seem more thoughtful now.
Xi Men: Mei-mei… (laughed) I’ve completely forgot about that word.
Xiao You: Oh? Forgotten about that? Now that is another surprising thing. But don’t address me using that. I don’t like to be called that.
Xi Men (smiled): So… maybe you wanna let me know when and where… Taipei or Toronto… so that I can adjust.
Xiao You: I don’t think Taipei or Toronto is a good idea. Your friends and San Chai are in Taipei. And… my friends and family are in Toronto. I am not comfortable with any of the two locations.
Xi Men: Oh. So… if it is not in Taipei, it means I need to take some days off from work…
Xiao You: Is that a problem with you?
Xi Men: No, no.
He can’t choose and he had no choice. He needs to get the guilt out of his mind. So he has to follow Xiao You’s lead to make sure the ‘one week’ happens.
Xiao You: Are you okay if we go somewhere else?
Xi Men: No problem. So that means you gotta take days off from work too…
Xiao You: A week is okay with me.
Xi Men: Alright. Once we’ve agreed with the date and location, I’ll talk to my secretary. Maybe you wanna start with location first?
Xiao You: I am not quite sure where to go.
Xi Men: Somewhere you love to travel to, maybe? Seoul? Maldives? Melbourne? Milan? London? New York? Las Vegas? Paris?
Xiao You (upon hearing his list of recommendations): PARIS!
Xi Men (taken aback with her sudden yelling of the city): Paris?
Xiao You: Yes, I have never been to Paris. I mean, I haven’t been to all the locations you have just mentioned, but my desire to go to Paris is more than the rests.
Xi Men: Oh. Alright then. Paris it is. We will go to Paris.
Xiao You (happy): Nice. (suddenly happiness fades) Ah, travelling in Paris is quite costly.
Xi Men: Don’t worry about the costs. I will pay for everything.
Xiao You: Everything?
Xi Men: Yes. Everything. It begins from the moment you stepped into Paris until the time you leave, and also, including your flights to Paris and back to Toronto.
Xiao You (utterly surprised): Really?
Xi Men: Yes. Like you have said, I am the rich one. And besides, I don’t let the ladies’ pay.
Xiao You: Oh.
Xi Men (smiled): Anyway. Great to at least have a location determined. And now… the dates. Is it very easy for you to take days off?
Xiao You: It is okay. Yours?
Xi Men: Not as easy for me so it is best to plan ahead. But I have a couple of appointments I need to attend for the next 2 weeks so… maybe after that?
Xiao You: After 2 weeks means it is a new month. Next month is not very ideal for me to take days off because I have some deadlines to catch at work. What about in 2 months?
Xi Men (eyes widened): 2 months?
Xiao You: I think it gives you sufficient time to plan your meetings and appointments with your secretary. And I have ample time to research about places to go in Paris.
Xi Men (frowned): Research? Places to go in Paris? Sounds like taking this opportunity to travel.
Xiao You: Yes, I am. You said date and dine. You don’t tell me to date and dine in the hotel room 24/7, huh?
Xi Men: Well, okay… but there is nothing to see in Paris…
Xiao You: What do you mean there’s nothing to see? There’s Eiffel Tower and so many historical buildings there as well as museums!
Xi Men: I’ve been there so many times and that means I’ve seen Eiffel Tower many times too.
Xiao You: That’s because you said you’ve been there so many times. Well, not for me. This is my first time. I am going to see a lot of things.
Xi Men (deadpanned): Like, really?
Xiao You: Yes.
Xi Men (groaned): I’ve never spent a week in Paris before. It’s only 3 or 4 days max. And judging that what you will see and where you will go is probably the places that I’ve been…
Xiao You: So? Are you saying you didn’t want to go to Paris now?
Xi Men: Nevermind, it is okay. Since we have stated Paris as the destination, we’ll just go ahead. Besides, I have traveled to everywhere in the world. There will be no difference if you decide to go somewhere else.
Xiao You (rolled her eyes): Someone is flaunting riches and fortune.
Xi Men: Hey.
Xiao You (ignore): Oh hey, my colleagues told me their metros are pretty cool.
Xi Men (frowned): Metro?
Xiao You: Yeah. Subway system. Since you’ve been there numerous times, how was it?
Xi Men: I have never used their subway.
Xiao You: What? Then what do you use there to travel? You walk? (*mocking)
Xi Men: Of course I hire a chauffeur there.
Xiao You: In Paris?
Xi Men: Yes. I do that everywhere in the world. Why are you asking about the subway system all of a sudden?
Xiao You: That is the best way to travel around Paris!
Xi Men (frowned again): Xiao You, are you telling me you are interested to travel with… subway?
Xiao You: Of course!
Xi Men (eyes widened up): WHAT?
Xiao You: What’s with the reaction?
Xi Men: Xiao You, as I have said earlier, I am going to pay for this trip. You don’t have to resort to taking subway just to save cost.
Xiao You: Save cost? I didn’t say I am going to save cost.
Xi Men (frowned): Then? Why do you want to take subway in Paris?
Xiao You: Like I have just said, it is the best way to travel around Paris. Their subway lines are very integrated. And in some ways, traveling by subway is faster and more efficient than taking cars, though the only possible problem in subway is too many people or crowded.
Xi Men: Isn’t a chauffeur service better and safer?
Xiao You: Yes, and more expensive too. I know you have the money.
Xi Men: What is this, huh? Mocking me or something?
Xiao You: Here is what I feel, you can reserve that for your special occasions; maybe to send you from airport to hotel on the day of your arrival as well as after you check out… but if everyone recommends travelling around Paris by metro, I would like to try that.
Xi Men (rolled his eyes): Goodness. You make it sound like you’ve never taken any subways in your life.
Xiao You: I can bet with you that I’ve traveled with subway more than you.
Xi Men: No betting is needed. You win.
Xiao You (happy again): Ah… I am going to Paris.
Xi Men (sneers): So are you going to cut costs on eating or hotels too?
Xiao You: There are cheap eats and budget hotels too.
Xi Men (immediately upsets): What did you just said?!
Xiao You: I tell you what.
Xi Men (pronounce firmly): WHAT?
Xiao You: When it comes to dining, we can’t plan which restaurants to go now. So I suggest we just go with the flow and decide at that time. If we happen to stumble onto stalls or kiosks by the road and we would love to try that, we’ll just go ahead.
Xi Men: I don’t eat roadside foods.
Xiao You: Then I will go ahead. ME.
Xi Men (rolled his eyes again): Fine.
Xiao You: And since you have a reputation to keep, we can just stay at whichever luxurious hotel you want.
Xi Men: Reputation? Oh, and you are talking about my reputation now after talking about taking subway instead of chauffeured service?
Xiao You: So you didn’t want to keep your reputation?
Xi Men: AHEM!
Xiao You: I can let you decide on the hotel, or you prefer that I search on that?
Xi Men: I have no preference whether you do it or I do it. As long as the selected hotel is not the one that needs to share a lavatory with guests from other rooms.
Xiao You: Hmmm… they have such hotels?
Xi Men: Yes, plenty. But don’t you even think about it. I can give in for cheap eats and taking subways but not on budgeted accommodations.
Xiao You: Fine. Why not you do the search?
Xi Men: Okay. But we haven’t set the date yet.
Xiao You: Oh right… we were talking about it and then we’ve strayed away…
Xi Men (rolled his eyes): Glad you knew.
Xiao You: Let me see… (flipped the calendar to 2 months later)
Xi Men waited for her as he also flipped his table calendar.
Xiao You: Is 2nd alright with you?
Xi Men: 2nd?
Xiao You: Yes… and if it is one week… it means, should leave Paris on 8th…
Xi Men (calculates as he poked on the calendar): 9th.
Xiao You: 9th? You mean to go to Paris on 9th?
Xi Men: No. You said to go on 2nd. And I mean to return on the 9th.
Xiao You: That is not right… if it starts at 2nd…
Xi Men: 7 days from 2nd. So it will end at 9th.
Xiao You: Are you sure you are correct with your… math?
Xi Men: The ‘one week’ starts from the time you are in Paris, not the time you board the plane. I am pretty sure you don’t reach Paris at midnight of the 2nd. And if you leave on the 8th, we will only spend about 6 days together.
Xiao You: Oh. (finally understands Xi Men’s concept and she calculates again) So, 2nd to 3rd is considered one day, 3rd to 4th is considered another day…
Xi Men: Yes. So, 9th it is.
‘Sounds like some math expert to calculate it damn accurately…’ she thought.
Xiao You: Alright.
Xi Men: I will check on available flights to fly over to Paris.
Xiao You: I’ll do mine.
Xi Men: It is okay. I will do the flights for you and me so I can book it straight. You’ll just go and research what to do and where to go in Paris.
Xiao You: And you will do the hotel?
Xi Men: No problem.
Xiao You: Alright.
Xi Men: If there is anything, I’ll let you know.
Xiao You: Why not I give you my email address so you can email me if you have anything, instead of just making calls all the time?
Xi Men: Okay. That works as well.
That’s an odd conversation both of them had.
Pretty stressful, he should say.
If this is how they talked, perhaps it might be tougher to deal when he sees her face to face.
This is not what he had expected.
He thought that spending a week together is an easy task.
Now it sounds like a there are tons of jobs to do, just to make the ‘one week’ happen.
Not to mention, it became THEIR trip.
Just to get the guilt out of his heart.
Well, at least right now he doesn’t feel like an idiot to have given that suggestion.