2. Conversation

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)

It was during one of the breaks at work that the following conversation took place.

It has become a habit for me to take my break either in the staff lounge or in the dinky makeshift room where we keep our shoes, bags, and other belongings while we work. It has been dubbed the “staff room” or the “break room” but in my mind, it will always be the “tub room”. (It used to house a sit-in hot tub).

Though not ideal, it is convenient because it is right within the ward. It is because of this however, that during a 12-hour shift, the ward is all we see. When everyone on break congregates there, it becomes even uhmmm … cosier.

That evening, only 2 of us were left. The others had either gone back to work (having started break earlier), or to make a phone call somewhere more private, or to smoke.

I don’t always like to share my personal life with people I know, unless I know them very well. In that respect, I like the Japanese way of classifying people in their lives. This person I was left with, at break time, was somewhere in the outer circles; a little closer than an acquaintance but not more than a colleague.

I didn’t want to be anti-social.

She is a little more daring than most. Despite my brief answers, she kept persevering. While she can be blunt, she is actually a nice person. Eventually, it was not so much her questions that became annoying, but the answers that I had to figure out.

Her: So … do you have kids?

Me: No

Her: Are you married?

Me: No

Her: Have you ever been married?

Me: No

Her: Why?

Me: *crumpled brow and thinking ‘really’???* I have never been asked

Her: Do you have a boyfriend?

Me: No

Her: But you have had boyfriends before, right?

I thought a “yes” would invite more questions about the relationships

Me: *lying, really wanting the conversation to end* No

Her: (in disbelief) So … are you telling me that all this while you have never had a boyfriend and never got married???

Me: *nodding*

Her: How come???

Me: *shrugging shoulders* I don’t know, you have to ask the men.

The conversation went on for a bit after that, but it all ended with something to the effect of “I don’t believe you”.

The only lie was the not having had a boyfriend, but everything else is almost true. We looked at rings, one of them and I did… but things fell apart about half a year after. Not one of those boyfriends proposed – which means, none of them wanted to marry me.

I know that sounds awful. Honestly, I am o.k. I am comfortable and contented with where and what I am right now. Of course, things can always be “better” but right now, things are not bad either.

It did however made me think back about the other men in my past, other than the boyfriends, and wonder if I had missed any signs of their interest.

Could there have been someone else interested in something more than friendship with me, and because of my ignorance, they thought I was a lost cause?


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