Thursday, November 30, 2006


February 2003

Actually, not everyone was there when we got back. Maggie’s sister hadn’t arrived yet.

Maggie disappeared for a few minutes and then returned carrying a box containing a set of mahjong tiles. ‘You want to play, honey? She asked. I noticed with a little disappointment that she’d changed her clothing. She was now wearing jeans. ‘Yes, I’ll play. Shall we play a team? Then maybe I can learn from you’

There we five of us playing, though Maggie and I were one team. We played for money. Maggie gave me a quick explanation which I didn’t understand. ‘I think it is better if we just play’ I said, ‘Then I will pick it up as we go’

No-one else spoke any English. They talked and laughed, Maggie included, but I had no idea what was being said. Every ten minutes or so, someone would win a round, and I would give them some money. I was very slow, which frustrated the others a little, although they remained good humored. Eventually I let Maggie play alone for a while to speed the game up. She did manage to win back a little of my money.

I sat down and ate some of the snacks and drank a glass of red wine.

Everything stopped for a while when Maggie’s sister and her boyfriend arrived. I shook hands with him and we exchanged a few words. Then he sat on the sofa, and was quiet for some time.

Then around 7pm everything was cleared away and we all went out to dinner.

As with previous family dinners, the conversation was predominately in Cantonese. Only occasionally did someone try to speak to me. Maggie would translate a little of what was said. ‘Now I know what it must be like to be deaf’ I said.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


February 2003

We awoke a little earlier the next day, and rather than laze in bed, as was our usual practice, Maggie wanted to get up. Today was Chinese New Year, and we were going to her house, where the whole family would gather.

The discussion of the night before seemed to be all but forgotten, although I sensed that Maggie was not entirely happy. ‘Are you ok babe?’
‘Oh yes’ she said, but I wasn’t convinced.

After I’d showered I asked ‘will we be at your house all day?’
She misunderstood me, ‘why do you have something else you need to do?’
‘No, of course not’

We caught the bus. ‘You know what honey, maybe we could walk up to the peak before everyone arrives, otherwise maybe boring for you’
‘A walk would be nice’ I replied, ‘but don’t make your mother unhappy. If she wants us to stay at the house, then that is ok’
‘My mother won’t mind. She is flexible, we are the reasonable people. If you need to go out then she will understand’
‘I didn’t say I needed to go out. It doesn’t matter for me’
‘But I want to be considerate. I think you may like to go for a walk’

It was quite a long walk before we got to the footpath that led to the Peak. But the weather was good, and Maggie’s mood seemed to improve. We took a detour up to a viewpoint. As we looked out over Hong Kong, Maggie put her arms around my neck, and we started to kiss. Her hand moved down between my legs; ‘oh honey, I am wet already’ she said, ‘always so exciting with you’

I picked her up, we continued to kiss. ‘I love you’ she said. ‘I love you too, babe’. I looked at her, she was wearing a short dress, she looked great. I just wanted to hold her, to touch her.

But then her phone rang. It was her mother. Everyone was waiting for us. So we didn’t get as far as the Peak that day.

Friday, November 24, 2006

That's not love

February 2003

And that night was no different to any other.

Then as we lay awake, half watching the television, she told me about another ex boyfriend. This one was Chinese. ‘So crazy’ she said that she’d had to break up with him. But that wasn’t the end. He took to waiting outside her house and following her wherever she went, calling her all hours of the day, and coming into her office.

‘He was very jealous, you know? Always asking where did you go? Who did you see? Always thinking I am being unfaithful. But you know that is not my style. I never will be unfaithful’.

She became scared, she said, never knowing what he might do next, until one night, when she noticed he was following the taxi she was traveling in, she asked the taxi driver to go to the police station, where she made a complaint. The ex boyfriend was warned off.

‘Did that stop him?’
‘No. He still called me, at my house, but that was all. Crazy huh?’
‘That’s horrible. I don’t think I would ever do anything like that’
‘But you know honey, maybe this is the true love’
‘Babe, that is definitely not love’

Her face changed; she looked upset. Then she said, ‘you know, all the men are jealous of the women, they don’t like the other guys to look at their wives or girlfriend, its logical right?’
‘No I don’t think it is. Why should I mind if someone looks at you?’
‘Well to be honest, I like the guy to be jealous. I think if he cares he must be jealous; want to keep the woman for himself only’
‘Ok babe, but I am not really the jealous type’

She was quiet for a while. I held her, but she did not reciprocate. I sensed her unhappiness, though I said nothing. She picked up the remote control and turned off the television. ‘Tired honey, hold me to sleep’

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We hadn’t missed a night

February 2003

Maggie’s phone rang. It was her sister; it seems there was some mix up at the airport. Her boyfriend had been taken away by an immigration official more than an hour earlier, so far he had not returned. They were due to join us at Maggie’s house for dinner. It was news to me. I thought; hopefully they won’t make it. They didn’t. By the time the got out the airport, it was too late. They went straight to their hotel.

It was only a temporary reprieve; I would have to meet him tomorrow.

We ate dinner alone, and then returned to the hotel, getting out the bus at Causeway Bay, and walking through Victoria Park. It was a pleasant evening, we played around in the park for a while, on the swings and climbing frame like children.

After, as we walked through North Point, she asked, ‘honey, do we need to use a condom?’ Since she’d just finished her period, when I arrived, we’d decided it wasn’t necessary. I was very relaxed about contraception with Maggie. ‘Not yet babe, we only need a condom in the middle of your monthly cycle’

‘Are you sure honey?’
‘Don’t worry babe, I will tell you when we need one’

Then after a few minutes, I asked ‘what happened to the condoms we used before, remember, the ones you kept?’
‘Oh I threw them away’ she said, ‘when they started to smell’
‘How long did you keep them?’
‘Oh, I think maybe a couple of weeks. I kept them in my room, but I didn’t want my mother to find them. It would be embarrassing, don’t you think?’
I was surprised she’d kept them at all.

As we neared the hotel, I was feeling pretty happy. Her mentioning condoms meant she was thinking about making love again, so far in our relationship, we hadn’t missed a night.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


February 2003

I arrived at Maggie’s house at 3pm. Her mother made me tea. I thanked her. We smiled at each other for what seemed like a long while, then she left me sat on the sofa.

She came back some time later, ready to go out. She called Maggie, and after speaking for a minute or two she handed me the phone, ‘my mother wants to go shopping now, but didn’t know how to tell you’

We walked down to the market, and wandered around the fruit and vegetable stalls, buying a few things here and there. At each one, some question was asked about me. I didn’t know what at the time, I just smiled, shook a few hands, and remembered to make sure that I picked up all the shopping.
Then we went into a supermarket and spent an age walking through the small aisles. Supermarkets in Hong Kong are so much smaller than their UK counterparts. Eventually we had a basket full; I couldn’t recognize most of the items in it though. We paid, left and caught a taxi back. I held her arm up the steps; it was not easy with my hands full of shopping bags. I drank some more tea, and then as arranged walked back down into Central to meet Maggie.

It took some time to find her office, but despite that I was still earlier. I stood outside and watched the girls go by. I must have been lost in thought because I didn’t notice Maggie walking towards me; ‘what are you looking at? Something interest you honey?’

I felt a mild discomfort and looked away. Did she realize I was watching girls? How could she? Surely she couldn’t see where my eyes were directed? I didn’t know.

‘Just daydreaming’ I said. And we walked back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Flower arranging

February 2003

The next day Maggie went to work. I took the taxi with her, and then talk a slow walk back toward North Point, where I would meet Henry for lunch.

After that, Maggie had arranged for me to go back to her house, to go shopping with her mother. I was dreading it, what had she been thinking, her mother and I could not talk to each other beyond saying hello, good bye and thank you.

I kept wondering why Maggie had decided to make such an arrangement. She must have realized how difficult it would be for both of us.

It was a very warm day, and as always Hong Kong was busy, I decided to take a good look around, to kill some time. Hopefully that would include seeing a few pretty girls along the way. I also wanted to wander through Wan Chai, so seedy at night, I was curious to see how it looked by day.

As I passed through Central though, the streets became much quieter, the shops were shut and the girls were avoiding the sun. Wan Chai was almost unrecognizable, and before long I found myself in Causeway Bay with a couple of hours left before lunch.

I bought a drink, and then had an idea. I decided to arrange delivery of some flowers to Maggie’s office for Valentines Day, much easier to do here than when I got back home. And I knew she would want them sent to the office where all her colleagues could look and wonder. Had she told them about me? But where would I find a florist?

I wandered around for an age, and was close to giving up, when I found myself at the entrance to a department store. Surely they would have something. And they did.

The price was similar to the UK, and I managed to get to Valentines Day cards as well.

And now it was time to go and meet Henry.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Colourful glass

February 2003

The nest day, Monday, we got up late again. ‘Shall we go somewhere for sight seeing, honey? Let me think honey, we could get a ferry to one of the islands, you never been there right?’

‘Ok babe, good idea’ I was keen to do something, otherwise the day would slip away from us again and the following day Maggie had to work.

We caught a bus to the ferry terminals, ‘much cheaper than taxi’. As we walked toward the ferries, her phone rang, after a minute she asked, ‘sister wants to know if we want to meet them in Shenzhen. Shall I say no?’

‘Why don’t you arrange for another day?’

By the time we got to the island, we were both thinking about eating. In a few minutes we were sat on what looked like an old school bench, eating something I can only describe as very thick soup. ‘It’s not that good, honey, but at least you try right?’

There was a small beach we could walk along, and a few houses and shops, otherwise there was very little to do. As we passed the houses we could here a rattling noise. ‘It mahjong honey, I will teach you later, as we play this at the New Year. I like it very much’

We exhausted the island fairly quickly. The beach was pretty though, covered in small pieces of colourful broken glass. I picked some up, ‘careful honey’. The sea had worn away its edges. I gave Maggie a handful. She wrapped them in tissue which she put in her bag.

‘Shall we hire one of those cycles? I asked. They could carry up to four people. ‘No honey, we don’t need to waste money on this’ she said, ‘there isn’t anywhere we can go’

I offered dinner. ‘Not necessary honey’ I will ask my mother to cook for us, ‘let me call her when we are back on the ferry’

We headed back.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Our first day

February 2003

We left shortly after, catching a taxi outside her apartment building, for the City Garden Hotel.

As soon as we were in our room, we showered quickly and then made love. ‘Oh honey, do you know how much I miss that?’ she asked.
‘Me too babe’

Maggie had booked the room this time, and as it was to my account, she had organized a discount rate through a friend of hers. Consequently, the room was not as nice as we’d had previously. I felt a little bit disappointed. ‘Shall we upgrade?’ I asked. ‘You want to upgrade, why?’ she asked, ‘is not a good idea honey, think how much you have to spend’

To avoid an argument, I left it there.

Despite being very tired by now, I did not sleep very well. I lay awake for long periods with Maggie asleep in my arms. I loved that feeling; so close, I loved the way to fell to sleep so easily when I held her.

She woke late in the morning, we kissed and made love again. It was early afternoon when we walked to Causeway Bay, to meet her family for lunch. We were both very hungry. They had started without us, as we were rather late. We ordered more food. At the end, I picked up the bill. ‘Honey, you are so good, you give me a lot of face. You are not money minded at all’

I wasn’t. It was true. But I knew I should be. I could claim any of this on expenses.

We walked for a while, then took her mother home. We didn’t stay long. Maggie picked up some fresh clothing, and then suggested we catch the bus back. ‘Save money’ she said.

So that was our first day over. We made love for the second time that day, then watched TV.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


February 2003

By the end of the flight I was enjoying a comfortable conversation with the young Asian girl next to me. She was from Hong Kong, but studying at one of London’s universities. She was flying home now to spend the New Year with her family, and as coincidence would have it, she was returning to UK on the same flight as me.

On landing, I called Maggie, and after collecting my luggage as passing through immigration, I walked over to the airport express. The attractive Asian lady was struggling to get her luggage on board, so I said ‘let me’

‘Oh thank you so much sir’ she said, and with that we started talking. I told her I lived in Hong Kong and was returning after a couple of weeks on business in the UK. ‘Where do you live? She asked, ‘Robinson Road’ I said with confidence.

We joined the taxi queue together, and said our goodbye’s as our cars pulled up. I was tempted to ask for a date, but how would I explain the absence to Maggie, especially as I was not on a business trip this time.

It was after 10pm by the time I knocked on Maggie’s door. The dogs barked. I put my bags down, and picked Maggie up. We hugged and kissed, her mother made a face and hurried into the kitchen. Soon after she brought me out a plate of hot food. It was delicious, I was so hungry.

‘Honey, I have a gift for you’
‘Oh wow, thanks babe’

Maggie disappeared into her bedroom, and came out with a large bag. ‘It is the winter jacket’ she informed me. I pulled it out of the bag and unfolded it. It was truly ghastly. And it was a real problem; what was I going to do with it?

I tried it on, ‘thanks babe, it’s great, just what I need when I’m in London’

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


January 2003

That night are conversation was full of anticipation for the week ahead. I would leave work, go to the London flat, shower, change my clothing and drive to Heathrow. I warned her of the possibility of disruption; ‘worse case is the flight is cancelled, the best I can hope is a few hours delay, I’ll text you to let you know, it will be too late to call you.

Terminal four was as busy as you could possibly imagine. People everywhere, asleep, sat in groups, watching the unchanging monitors, where the word ‘cancelled’ seemed to prevail. The Hong Kong flight though, was reported as ‘please wait’. What choice did I have?

I joined a queue, that snaked its way this way and that, so that it was impossible to calculate its length. An airport official walked passed. ‘What about the Hong Kong flight?’ I asked. ‘Cancelled’ she said. ‘So why does it say ‘wait’?’

Another official said ‘they are trying to find an aircraft, if they do, the flight will go’. Trying to find an aircraft? The man in front of me was incredulous. ‘How can they not find an aircraft? He was almost shouting.

A few places ahead of me, was a very attractive Asian lady, and what I assumed was her daughter. Was she really old enough to have a teenage daughter? She smiled at me. As the queue made its slow crawl forward, I followed her.

Hours passed without any news. Eventually though there was a call for the Hong Kong flight; ‘would all passengers make themselves known to airport officials’. The flight was going, I checked in behind the Asian lady.

However, we had further delay, as we queued to board the plane, another hour was lost. Then finally, we were ushered into the plane, and I found myself sat next to a young Asian girl, two seats behind the lady I’d been admiring earlier.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Holiday mood

January 2003

Then we started to have some fun. We were in holiday mood, and since she was working late and her office was all but empty, she was able to leave her private email on.

I wrote back; ‘Babe, don’t worry if you have to work late tomorrow, I will come to the office and help you out’

Ok honey, I will just tell my boss. You can be paid in kisses. But maybe you will be more efficiency than me, and I will lose my job

Have you told your boss he needs to kiss me?’

Honey, I don’t think he will mind, as long as he gets the work done. But I may be jealous if you like his kisses more than mine

But tell me babe, will he want to use tongues? Oh and does he have the facial hour? You know I don’t like the moustache too much’

Ha Ha Honey, must be with tongues, but my boss has the bad breath. Oh and he does have any hair at all, even on the top of his head’

Oh he is just my type. Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this any more. I am getting so hard that my desk is raised from the floor’

Well honey, you know you are always so strong, and I feel exciting too, when I think about that. I will see tomorrow, I can’t wait for those passionate times

But babe, this time I am harder than normal’

Wah, even harder than normal honey? I don’t believe. But you are already the superman. That what I call you, you know that? You are my sexy smart superman’

Babe, only one more night then we will be together’

Honey, on second thoughts, you better not come to the office, I want you to save all your kisses for me. Am I selfish? I am leaving now, speak later’

Friday, November 10, 2006

Too much TV

January 2003

I wasn’t going to let it drop. I wanted to find out. And it wasn’t a matter of trust. I had no reason to doubt her. I just wanted to know why she’d mentioned these men. I just had a feeling that all was not quite as it seemed.

I wrote; ‘Babe, I always trust you. Please do not say otherwise. Do I ever say that I do not trust you?

The point is that you mentioned these admirers, and so I want to know why you mention them. Once you tell me, then as you say, case closed’

It was Friday morning, I had just driven for more than three hours, to get to the office, England was suffering from very severe weather. A report on the radio said that most flights out of Heathrow would have to be cancelled. Shit. My flight was at 9.30pm that day. I couldn’t bear to think about it.

My inbox that morning had the answer:

Honey, as I said, the guys do not both me anymore, has been very peaceful for long time. I only say about admirers to make you jealous, silly thinking, I just thought maybe you will marry me quicker, like some of the movies, I think I watch too much TV. Do I?

I didn’t answer. But now I was in a happy mood, so I wrote:

Hey babe, we will be together tomorrow, looking forward to holding you in my arms’

I didn’t mention the possible delays. I decided to wait until later that day, hoping the news might improve.

I got a reply straight back, which was unusual; ‘me too honey, can’t wait. Very busy today, boss wants me to work tomorrow, I said ok, but must finish by 5pm to meet you up’

Thursday, November 09, 2006


January 2003

That evening, she asked ‘did you get my email?’
‘I did, and I sent you a reply’
‘So is the issue closed? Or do we need to talk on this some more?’

I didn’t want to talk about it, I wanted her explanation in writing. And I wanted the issue to stay with us for a few days, I wanted her to sense a little unhappiness between us.

‘Read my email in the morning, I did have a couple of question’
‘Ok honey, I will read tomorrow and send you the response, then case closed ok?’

We talked as normal. The trip to China was confirmed. We would leave Hong Kong just after the New Year for two nights.

In two days time I would be flying back to Hong Kong. My third trip to see Maggie in less than two months. ‘I can’t wait honey’ she said. I didn’t respond, and soon changed the subject.

The next morning her email said:

Honey, no one calls anymore, as I said, I always give the unpleasant response, so they have no hope, they know that, so they stop calling already.

Honey, you have to trust me, I do not like the other guys, maybe they are not the gentlemen, have no manners. Honey, I just have you now. I do not want to go out with anyone else, I only need one man, that is you honey.

So let’s say case closed, ok? If we keep talking this issue, I will feel uncomfortable’

Why did she keep talking about trust? The note pissed me off more than the last one. Why didn’t she just answer the question? I was not going to let it drop. I wanted to find out about these people. Why did she mention them? There was definitely something behind it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

There must be a reason

January 2003

That evening I sent her an email, it was quite straight forward, saying:

Babe, it was good talking to you today, as always. It’s lovely to be talking about our plans, our marriage and my trip. I can’t wait, I hope you know that. I was a bit surprised therefore that after such happy talking, you started talking about your ‘admirers’ again.

Of course I know that other men will find you attractive.

How many are there? Are they friends? You know I am quite happy that go out with friends, male or female. You just need to let me know.

Mostly, I am just curious why you mention them again. Has any of them contacted you recently?’

In the morning her reply:

Honey, you do not need to worry about this issue, I know how to handle, ok? If they call, I know how to respond to them, so that they know there is no hope. If they email of the test message, then I do not send the reply.

Honey, I have you know, I don’t have interest in the other guy, you know I stay in every night, never go out since I met you. You are the only one in my mind. If they call, I give them the unhappy voice.

Yes, I have the admirers, and you know, I cannot control them, if they want to call, how can I stop them? You have to trust me honey. Let me handle. This is not an issue for us, ok? I only have you in my mind, did you notice that?’

This note annoyed me. It wasn’t a question of trust. I’ve never accused her of anything. And she didn’t answer my questions.

I sent a note straight back:

Babe, I always trust you. How can you say otherwise?

It was you that mentioned these ‘admirers’. And since you did, I just wanted to know how many there were, and how often they were in contact.

As I said before, it is quite ok for you to have male friends.

So why did you mention them? I believe there must be a reason’

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Time to find out

January 2003

I didn’t say anything at the time, we just said our normal goodbye’s. ‘Goodbye honey, I love you’. ‘Yeah goodbye babe, sleep well’

Not saying ‘I love you’ in return was a deliberate omission.

But the allusion to her so called ‘admirers’ did not escape me. I tried to think about it rationally. Though of course, it wasn’t possible to be entirely rational.

Why would these guys, whoever they were, still be chasing her? Why hadn’t they simply given up? They would, wouldn’t they, unless they were complete no hopers. Did they pose any threat? Surely, if she’d liked any of them, she wouldn’t be waiting around for me. Is she in communication with them? It seemed rather unlikely as our communication took up so much of her time. When would she find time to be talking to them? Email maybe, but nothing else. Private calls at work were frowned upon. And why would they be content with that, if they never saw her? Maybe she is just keeping them in reserve. But why do that? If she'd liked them, she would be with them already. Are they people she dated in the past? I had no way of knowing, her past was largely a mystery to me at the time.

I didn’t suspect her of anything. I believed she was, as she always said, devoted to me. She was obviously very single when we met, and clearly she never went out at night. She was always at home waiting for my call.

Perhaps the guys just called occasionally, trying their luck. But unless they were particularly thick skinned, they would have realized long ago that they were wasting their time. It didn’t make any sense to me, I decided it was time to find out.

Dance floor

October 2006

For the next half hour, I sat on my bed nursing a sense of loss. I wanted to go down and knock on her door. I could have been with her, I know I could. And yet I’d allowed a mix of nervousness and self doubt, prevent it.

Eventually, I picked myself up though. It had after all been more successful than not. After several weeks of emptiness, I’d spent an enjoyable day with a sexy woman, who had obviously really liked me.

And there was more to come.

That night I drank a few glasses of whiskey, and fought off the sleepiness it induced, and headed back to the night club, I was a regular by now.

The evening passed as normal, a few looks from different girls, with me stood looking on. I don’t enjoy Saturday night as much as Friday, as the music is less to my taste, so I don’t dance as much.

Anyway, one girl in particular kept looking at me, so eventually I was courageous enough to hazard a smile, she smiled right back, so I winked, she beckoned me to join her on the dance floor.

I didn’t much want to dance with her, as I am conscious that I am not much good. I didn’t see it as a much of a start, so I held my ground. She continued to encourage, I continued to ignore. For a while she moved away a little, and I took the opportunity to head for the toilet.

On my return, she was gone, or at least she wasn’t dancing anymore. I looked around, but could see no sign of her. So I turned to leave, only to discover that she was stood behind me. With that she took my hand and led me to the dance floor.

We danced for a while, tried to talk for a while, she was from Ukraine, and spoke tolerable English. Then we left the club, walked to the hotel, from where I drove her home. She gave me her phone number and said goodnight.

Two dictionaries

October 2006

She brought two dictionaries, one Russian to English, the other English to Russian.

We drank our coffee, she knew the word for cappuccino, although she didn’t know Starbucks. I thought everyone knew Starbucks. Then we managed to plan a trip to Aphrodite’s Rock, but she had to be back by six it seemed.

We went back to our rooms, as she said she wanted to swim, and she needed her bikini, and then we set off.

I found a small bay on the way, where we swam, and then sat on the rather expensive sun loungers. The weather turned cold, we sat looking at each other, I thought she wanted me to hold her, to keep her warm, but how could I know?

Using the dictionaries, we managed some form of discussion. Then I said, I want to teach you an English word. This is a kiss; I leaned over and kissed her lips. She laughed and found a word in her dictionary, its English translation being; cunning.

I told her that I liked to write. She asked me to send her some of my writing. She said she would give me her email address.

Then she said ‘I like you’. She gave me her hand, and I ran my hand through her red hair. Surely all the signs were good, and yet I held back, I didn’t want her to think I was doing this for sex, it was more than that. It always was. And I thought of the awkward journey back, if she refused.

As the weather didn’t improve, we drove on to Aphrodite’s Rock, we held hands as we walked along the beach and climbed the rock.

We hardly talked as I drove back. She sat there smiling. As soon as I’d parked the car, I reminded her about the email address, my timing was deliberate. She smiled, she was confused I think.

When the lift stopped on her floor, I got out with her. I pulled her close, and kissed her on both cheeks, a goodbye kiss. ‘We finish now?’ It was a question, I knew what it was. I shrugged, I of course, I wanted to be with her, but how?

‘Ok, goodbye’ she said. ‘Thank you’

Are you Russian?

October 2006

And then yesterday, it all changed. How? Well………..

There is a girl I have noticed every breakfast time. She has dyed red hair. Here small breasts are always clearly visible through her white t-shirt. She isn’t pretty, but she is very sexy.

On Friday, as I stepped out of the lift on the ground floor, the red head stepped in. ‘Hi’ I said. Her reply ‘mmmmmm…. Hello’

She was on my mind for the rest of the day.

That evening (being a Friday night), I went to the nearby night club, I hoped she might be there, but alas not. I got the usual number of looks, but I did nothing with them. I stood my ground, glued to the spot. One girl, an Asian, I have seen there many times, I think she watches me. She looks like sex. How do I talk to sex?

I left late, so I only had a couple of hours before breakfast, my best hope of meeting the red head. I struggled out of bed, showered, and sat in the restaurant for an hour and a half, she didn’t show. I cursed myself for not acting when I’d had the chance.

After breakfast I headed for the beach, it was as good an option as any, at least if all else failed I might catch up a little sleep. My luck was in though, she was there. I sat nearby, she seemed asleep, I read my book. When she awoke, I took a swim. I could work out whether she recognized me or not.

The weather took a turn for the worse, and people began to leave. She put on her short dress. I packed up quickly, and caught up with her by the hotel pool. ‘Are you enjoying your holiday?’ I asked. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Shit. She didn’t speak English. ‘Are you Russian?’ I asked. ‘Yes’ she said.

In the lift, with a lot of hand gestures, pointing and a few words of English, I managed to invite her for coffee, in the Starbucks nearby. She accepted, and we met a few minutes later in reception.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Didn't you babe?

October 2006

I have been in Cyprus now for five weeks. I managed to secured a contract to work here, and traveled out with high expectation, thinking this small island might be a land of milk and honeys.

Unfortunately, things have not worked out as I’d hoped. In the first week, I didn’t as much as talk to a woman. The highlight of the second week was when a woman, at least ten years my senior, bought me a drink in the hotel bar. Two days later that same woman, Barbara, her best friend, and a guy called John, who was trying to chat them up, invited me to join them at the Step Inn, the liveliest local pub and disco.

My problem was simple. Whenever I saw a woman I liked, or who I thought liked me, I became almost paralised, I couldn’t offer anything more than the weakest of smiles. The problem was me. I just didn’t know where to start.

Barbara pointed to the girl who was stood on my right. ‘She keeps looking at you’ she said, ‘talk to her’. ‘No’ I said.

‘What’ she looked at me in disbelief. ‘Tonight, we are going to fix you up’ she said. ‘You are a good looking guy. I want you to enjoy Cyprus. You could take that girl home tonight. Just talk to her. Do you want me to talk to her for you?’

John joined in, ‘come on’ he said, ‘what’s the matter?’
What could I say? ‘I’m shy’ I tried to make a joke of it.
‘Why don’t I pretend that you’re my son? I could introduce you to a few girls’ John offered.
Imagine the humiliation.

So the weeks have slipped by, and I have remained celibate in Cyprus. I did eventually find the courage to ask a couple of girls out, but my approach was so blunt and humourless that my offers met with rejection.

I started telling myself that the pubs and night clubs are not my scene, that the hotel was only full of old people, that the town was empty since the tourist season was over. All of which are in part true. But I have to admit that, the problem is with me. I don’t know how to approach women, I fear rejection.

It doesn’t matter how many emails my friend David sends me. Although I know that in essence he is right.
Oh Maggie, I remember how easy it was with you. You made it easy. I didn’t have to do much, you made it happen, didn’t you babe?