23. Silent Treatment

“She was humbled, she was grieved; she repented, though she hardly knew of what… She wanted to hear of him, when there seemed the least chance of gaining intelligence. She was convinced that she could have been happy with him, when it was no longer likely they should meet.”

~ Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice)

He was silent for a long time.

I thought then that maybe he had the impression that I didn’t like him, and that he misunderstood my interest.

My plan to migrate was materialising slowly but surely; it was weeks before my departure date and I was wrapping things up at work. I had 2 options. Leave things as they are and fly far away, or, make my feelings clear and see what happens (and then fly far away). Option 1 was the simpler thing to do. It was also safe.

Option 2 had all the risks, and went against everything, that until then, I had put up for the purpose of self-preservation. It could lead to rejection and everything associated with it (humiliation, awkwardness, broken friendship).

Past experience has shown me that Option 1 will lead to the potential mental stress of wondering “what if” and the regret of never knowing (and decades later writing a blog about all that :p), and I am a sucker for punishment (I have a strong heart – or maybe it is just numb from the abuse I put it through :p), so I decided to select its alternative.

I sent him an email to apologise for any possible misunderstanding I might have caused that evening. Then I explained how and why I came to connect with him and confessed my interest. I asked that he gave it some thought and time if needed and requested a confirmation either way.

He said nothing. He wrote nothing.

While waiting for him to respond to the confession, I continued with my contribution to his achievements. I updated the repository of news of his achievements and his website. I sent the updates to him for his approval. I got nothing back.

I had one last project to give him. (I noticed that none of the things I gave him were ever displayed. I know he showed the 2 volumes I gave him at the gathering to his father but there was also a portrait sketch that I have not seen since. I know he has received it since he acknowledged as much – others have also given him things like caricatures that they did/commissioned to have done of him, and other mementos, that went on a shelf of things his fans gifted him. What I gave him never made that shelf. I just thought, at that time, that what I gave was not good enough a likeness.). I thought twice about giving him the last gift but I had no use for it myself, and it would be a waste to just leave it laying around.

Bracing myself for a cold reception, I contacted his personal assistant and made arrangements to go to that place when he was going to be there.

When I arrived, the PA, who was supposed to have been there to meet me, was nowhere to be seen. I waited outside the building and saw Mr SG pulling up in a car driven by a woman I did not recognise. He walked into the place without noticing me. I should have followed my gut feeling and left, but it was an expensive trip I was not sure I could repeat soon.

I tried to contact the PA but did not have much luck. It was getting late. There was only one thing to do. I walked to the reception and said I had something to give him. They knew me and asked if I wanted to meet him. I could not really make out his expression through the glass wall of the attached meeting room.

As I was contemplating my next move, the guy ushered me in and told me to wait at a table. I did.

I should not have.

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14. It Ended With That Kiss

“You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”

~ Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice)

He walked away from me after that, turned and waved, then got into the car, and his brother drove away.

I haven’t seen him since.

I asked about him when I spoke with our mutual friends. The response were the same. It was either they had not heard from him or they saw him once “a long time ago”. Those in the latter group mentioned where they met or where they thought he was working and that was it.

I always wondered where he was and what he had been up to. I know now.

He will always be a person I feel a certain closeness to; the endearing feelings have not changed. I wouldn’t trade the times I spent in his company for anything. It was a part of my past that I will always cherish.

Still, the past is the past.

He has a family now and is happy. I’ve seen the pictures. I say this without any bitterness, but perhaps with a sense of relief, I am happy that he is happy.