Far Cry from Northern Land - San Francisco Story # 6, a short story by crankyvic. Date added: 2011-12-22. Times viewed: 1260.
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- Intro: San Francisco / Canada Rockies love story, love lost, travel, sex, interracial, ski
Far Cry from the Northern Land
Friday night. Arriving in this strange city in a foreign country. A weekend of get away and rendezvous with my new beau. When I first met him, I had no idea what could have happened down the road. Life was full of surprises.
For what seems like an eternity, I lost direction, boredom has overtaken my drive. A dying Scorpio. Then I met him, another Scorpio.
The city was crispy with fresh winter air. I was anxious about this weekend’s get away trip. The man sitting next to me on the plane was carrying on a conversation with me. He was intrigued. He was talkative. I was an attractive, exotic woman who’s putting her make up on. He suspected that I was going to see a lover. He would be somewhat right.
“You will find men here will be different from the California men. They are more direct and more forward, not a lot of games. They don’t have chips on their shoulders. They are less pretentious.” He padded himself on his shoulder as he described the difference.
He continued, "Also the ratio is three men to one woman in this city. You know, with the oil industry booming so fast, it's the fastest growing city in our country."
I smiled and joked with him, "Great, just the perfect place for me to move to."
I only knew one man from this city. It’s been months since I last saw him. Like most of my relationships with men, I only dated men from out of town, or men who lived in town but traveled all the time. It was the only way for me to form any reasonably normal relationships. Chuck it up to abandonment and daddy issues. My father was always traveling for work. When he was around, he had mistresses to see. I never knew how to develop a relationship with someone who was around all the time. I found it irritable.
I loved his eyes, his lips, his smile and his kisses. Those heavenly kisses, soft, gentle, taste of a melon, or a glass of merlot. I missed it all. He was a man, not a boy. I loved that about him, it was interesting to go from dating boys to men. I did not bother to ask about his age, but I suspected that he was at least 34. Whatever the age gap was, I didn’t care. I knew that he found me exotic, and I him.
He often kept his silence, which I found intimidating. Yet I was strangely attracted to it as well. It added certain mystique about him. He was very quiet. He talked about 007 movie reruns. He talked about his ski expedition and that was the extent of our conversation when we were not fucking. Outside of his corporate life, he’s a ski instructor. His body was quite fit. If it were any fitter, I would feel self-conscious. I was never really the skinny girl, I had curves. Luckily they were in the right places. I had large boobs and long black hair. I had the child-bearing hips. I had a flat stomach. I ran religiously, 6 miles a day. Men who were physically fit tend to find me attractive – not everyone likes skinny boned women, thankfully. I was also exotic to these northern men who had not dated many wild Californian Asian women.
My yearning of being close to him transcended into sadness, sadness resulted from not being able to be loved by him. This tragic feeling brought darkness into my otherwise cheerful mood, solidified my deep rooted insecurity as it did whenever I got excited and mildly obsessed about a new man.
Later on in life I would start to see a shrink, and I would realize that I had always been manic-depressive, and a little bipolar, but I was not aware of it then. Some men liked manic women. I concluded. You just didn’t know what these crazy manic women would do next; there was that element of excitement, surprise, uncertainty and wildness. Manic women tend to have a lot of energy; they fucked like it was the last fuck in the world. They were intense and passionate, and they made the best lovers. You never knew if they were there tomorrow, but when they were with you, at that moment, you were the only person that mattered. It would have explained why I always had men in my life, I rarely sought after them; they came to me uninvited.
I wanted to know him, desperately, yet I was afraid of this longing carried negative return of investment. I was afraid of any more disclosure of my emotions would make him walk away, and by doing so, he’d easily tear my heart apart.
The fog would leave me, there would be clarity, but the clarity would result in darkness. I prefer the unknown to known. He didn’t seem to see it or if he did, he had been careful about breaking my mirage apart. His silence, him not recognizing my effort of trying frustrated me, infuriated me and unsettled me. I felt hopelessly in love with the man I made him out to be. But somewhere my instinct was telling me, You are not his type. You are not what he’s looking for.
The loss felt so permanent that I would swear there was a sharp pain to my stomach when I fell asleep in his arms later that night.
We all had our types. I knew what I was to most men. I was manic, crazy, exciting and exotic. I was somewhat intelligent, but it was overshadowed by the perceived sexiness and attractiveness. I was not the settling type. I was meant to be a fantasy girl. I played that role better than anything else.
So there I was, staring out into the darkness, as the plane landed. I had anticipated this meeting all day. I had not eaten all day and I couldn’t bear to think any further. I had reapplied my make up, twice, I was looking hot, I knew that much. I’ve been telling myself, you can’t fall for someone just like that. I could, though, in my own imagination, picture me falling for this man, this man with a slight Northern accent, beautiful large hazel eyes, salt and pepper hair, a skier’s built, and the smile that could melt my heart. There was this man with so many reasons to love, but I couldn’t. He would never love me back.
I was greeted by his smiling face, and embraced by his touches at the airport. It was a short drive to his apartment. As soon as we were inside, our lips touched. No more doubt or anxieties. I was hopeless. Cast under his spell, mystified by his silence, I surrendered myself to the desire of wanting him. So this night, in a foreign land thousands of miles away, in a country with so many similarities to the States, yet so distinctive different, lying in his bed, was a woman inevitably waiting for yet another tragedy to happen.
No one knew where I was, no one seemed to care. I could be falling off the planet of the earth, and no one would be looking for me. I would not be missed. Lying in his bed. I let my mind wondered.
Why me, why did he pick me?
We met a conference. I had been a natural men magnet then. I was friendly, I was pretty, I flirted, but not in the batting-eye-lashes kind of way. I talked about work, the travels I did, my fascinating past, and I was always so professional, but I had an edge. I had wit and an opposite persona the moment I am out of the work environment. In another word, I was the typical fantasy girl. I was able to go from a professional suit-wearing woman to a slut. I dressed provocatively and wore short short skirts. I was suggestive outside of work.
I knew when someone liked me. He liked me. He asked me out. We went out to places he had not been. It was not his first trip to California, but he had not met someone like me yet. I stayed over at his hotel. We made love. Fucked. I knew immediately he wanted more. I was good at it, the fucking part. And that’s how it all started. We kept in touch. Mildly, and we exchanged emails. We talked about work. We both worked in the SAP world. He worked for SAP Canada. He invited me to see him. I took up boarding a couple of winters ago. He told me that Banff was really a great place to snowboard. He taught ski lessons on weekends. He lived in Calgary.
“Come, if you can. I’d like to see you.” So this trip was arranged. I often traveled on weekends. I was never home in San Francisco. It was easy. To go to this country up north instead of coming back to an empty place in San Francisco.
Scorpio’s natural instinct, we sting with vengeance. How could one Scorpio conquer another? It’s a myth. I was dying under his sting, but I’d die happy.
We walked out of the apartment, 10:30 at night, headed to the local Starbucks. He was a coffee drinker like me. When he came to visit me, during lunch hours, we'd walk to this local coffee shop, we’d grab his usual coffee drink, and then we’d walk along the bay and talk shop. We rarely talked about other things. The times we went out to Los Gatos or San Francisco restaurants, we always stopped by coffee shops after our dinner.
Amidst of my flashbacks, we had stepped into the downtown street. His city appeared to be new, fresh, clean, sleepy, and mysterious. I imagined walking with him, day after day, night after night, holding hands, taking strolls along side of the riverbank, until we grew very old together.
For the right person, I would go anywhere. But the distance he had managed to build between us since the very first moment we met discouraged my thoughts. Instead I simply smiled at him and politely carried on small talks.
Next morning, he was already in his ski school uniform by 6:30 AM. Handsome body covered by the bright yellow colored outfit. Such a grand vision. I was always attracted by physically attractive men, but they also had to have brains. Men dominated my field. It was not unusual to find men with both attributes. But it was not easy to find someone who lived far. I needed the distance to feel secure. He was a perfect candidate, far away, unattainable. Geographically desirable – he was 2000 miles apart from me, and he traveled constantly. Double bonus. I could hear this little voice again, “Hey you are way out of your league. Why are you doing this to yourself? “
7 AM. We had already been driving towards this national park, 120 kilometers away from the city. Climbing the mountain in his 4runner, the high elevation brought upon us the fresh air and the rocky forest smell. I liked it.
It was the day before the pro snowboarders competition. The slope was crowded with pro boarders trying out their new moves. I stayed on the greens, practiced my turns and took a private lesson taught by a French instructor. My turning skill was improving despite my fear of heights. I temporally forgot about his presence. There were constantly Japanese men coming up to me, speaking Japanese as if I was one of their own. I smiled. Flattered by their attention, but unable to understand a word they said. When he wasn't around, I was less nervous, and I even found myself enjoying the day after all.
Towards the last run at 4 PM in the afternoon, as I was bending down and taking off the straps, he came behind me unexpectedly. "Hello!" he said. I was startled. He must have been following me down the slope, me in all awkwardness, and he in his suave, professional ski instructor moves.
So real was his presence, I felt my heart beating faster as he came closer. I wonder if I was falling for him, and for what reason. There was no warning sign whatsoever. What was that I loved about him since the first time I met him? And if so why was I so intimidated by him as well?
The sun already started to come down. It was 4:30 PM. The giant speakers for the snowboard competition practice session had been taken down, leaving the slopes rather empty. We were heading back home. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t feel, only the rush from being able to finally linking turns and making the occasional carving.
I was getting afraid. Afraid of my increasing desire to snowboard had to do with my illogical thoughts, the thoughts of wanting to be closer to him, to be able to connect with him, to be able to fit into his world a little more.
We stopped at this look out point to take some scenic pictures of Mount Norquay. I imagined again, his spirit was somewhat linked to the Rockies, and it would eventually become part of the living legend. I felt the increased infatuation.
I imagined that he would have no faults, no insecurities, and no doubts about life.
I knew how stupid it may sound, but it's been at least a year and half since I was this attracted to someone, physically, so I decided to indulge myself in this horrible, desperate longing for someone who didn't want me back.
I was becoming addicted to his silence. It befitted this northwestern town. In this foreign country, I found a piece of lost kindred spirit.
The town was located just a few miles outside of this national park. It’s known as the number one destination for Japanese honeymooners, as Niagara Falls to North Americans. Some establishments had been around since the eighteen centuries. Though it was winter, the street was filled with snowbirds from all over the world. It had a Hawaiian look to it, not the tropical side of course, but every store had Japanese sign hanging by the window.
We wondered in our ski and snowboard clothing, as usual, holding coffee cups. I told him that I needed to buy a sweatshirt with the name of the town imprinted on it. We walked around the town, in and out of the shops as I stuffed my shopping bag with local souvenirs. It reminded me of the first trip we took together to Los Gatos. I recalled how he explained to me why he loved Los Gatos, a wealthy community sitting next to the Santa Cruz mountain, a place where I went to high school. The two towns certainly shared similarities. They both were touristy, cute and affluent.
Holding a coffee cup, he looked so at ease. This town suited him so much more. He was no longer a foreigner traveling in a foreign city, here he belonged. He took long, slow steady strides, making eye contacts with the pedestrians, and smiled broadly. It was easy to see how charming he could be. He was beautiful, he had his ski instructor’s outfit on, and he was friendly. He was no longer silent with that permanent serious look. He was a king walking in his own castle. His bright yellow ski school jacket reflected the remains of sunlight, and illuminated under the shop lights. I could just hold my coffee cup, sit by the street bench, watch him making his way to wherever he needed to go, and fall in love with him. It seemed rather pathetic- for every passing moment, my insecurities grew and I began to believe that he would never fall for me.
The so-called Scorpio charm lost strength when faced with the same specie. It was just a mind game. Scorpios liked to chase the most unattainable, fall for those who were the most inaccessible. I read that somewhere once.
He said, more to himself, on the subject of relationships and falling in love, “Patience is what it takes. You will find it when you least expect it.” I was slurping a piece of long stringy linguine when I heard that. I couldn’t raise my eyes to meet his.
My inner voice was screaming, “But falling is not voluntary, and it’s not a timed event. You either fall or not fall. I’ve fallen for you.” I couldn’t profess my feelings to him. That would sound too desperate and too school girl like. I swallowed a big gulp of merlot instead.
It occurred to me that perhaps I was attracted to him because he was similar to the last guy I fell for. He was also as private, he lived miles apart, and he was charismatic. The only disclosure of his life was the twenty minutes after the orgasm and before he excused himself to go home.
The Tragically Hip was playing in the car CD deck. My mind was racing. I wished I knew what he thought of me. I had no feedback whatsoever. I felt like a piece of random decoration on his wall, in his neatly arranged sparse apartment.
Sometimes I wondered if you even noticed I was wearing this new piece of teddy from Frederick’s Hollywood's.
Sometimes I wondered whether you regretted inviting me up to see you.
Sometimes I just wanted to cry.
I was 24 and you were at least 34. You were out of my league.
Back to the town he lived. 120 KM away from the ski resort. He reverted back to being extremely quiet. The scenery changed as we drove down the mountain. The sunset reddened the sky, eating up the disappearing mountain with increasing appetite. He drove in silence, I sat in silence. Occasionally, he’d point a hill and tell me a story.
We passed by a cement factory along side of a hill. He pointed to a half standing hill with disgust, “The factory is eating up the hill, little by little. Here we are advocating environmental consciousness, yet they are chewing up the hill for the sake of money. I had a buddy who was offered a job in the factory. I told him that would be the last time I talk to him if he took the job.” That was the most he’d spoken since we took off from the resort town.
His silence mystified me and intimidated me more and more. He lacked the extreme anxiousness men usually have when they met me for the first time. He was reserved, quiet, and comfortable in silence.
Later in life, I realized that I preferred men like that. I didn’t care for men who were chatty. I liked the silence. I liked when I didn’t know so much about the man I was with. I liked the mystery. I liked a man who lived in his head. I needed not know everything about a man. I became comfortable with that concept, but not then.
He was a very private person in nature. The Scorpio's instinct told me that he'd never wanted to see me again, unless it was out of convenience. I felt sad but I couldn’t tell him any of that, for I was afraid what a plain and simple factual sentence coming from him would do to me. So I sat there like the last time, wanted nothing but silence to wrap around us. Gradually the darkness finally caught up with us from the mountains behind.
We got back to the city around 7 p.m. He had dropped me off at his apartment. Changed into jeans, he quickly made a dash out to a client site; he said that he had to perform a system upgrade. Leaving me in the apartment, busy sorting out souvenirs and folding away my snowboard clothes. John Woo’s “Once a thief” was on a local TV channel, it was a catfight scene, about this gorgeous Asian beauty and her counterpart, a pretty blonde woman. It was overly dramatic like my own feelings.
I wondered around his apartment completely naked, as I would do in my own place. I recalled the way he touched my cheek as he was stepping out. My heart tightened. That was the only affection I received all day. My eyes went misty.
The restaurant was crowded. People in this city dressed quite casually for supper. My sheer black body suit didn’t blend in well at all. I was dressed up as if I was going clubbing in San Francisco He had changed into a sweatshirt to go with his jeans. He wore a serious face and didn’t seem to wanting to converse. I couldn’t help but stealing a few side glances when he wasn’t looking. I adored his face, his salt and pepper hair and his mannerism. So Canadian, so subtle, so not American. I remembered the way he taught ski lessons early that day, and how he treated the slope like a simple playground. I wanted to reach over, touch his face, feel the passion inside of his mind, and have him telling me that he wanted me back. Yet I just sat there, taking bigger sips of my merlot and let my mind do all the tricks under the influence of alcohol.
Two trains met in a mid stop, then departed for separate directions. He and I were not meant to be.
This is the year of tiger, as my mom would say, I would meet my “ker shing”, my negative star force. My merlot filled mind was becoming daring. I managed a radiant smile and asked him why he was being so quiet.
He explained, “It’s a small city, you just never know who you are going to run into. Also maybe culture wise, it’s still quite influenced by the British. We are not that expressive.” I don’t know if that was a real reason, or if he was just plain uninterested in me. My ego was hurt, I felt extremely undesired. I suspected that he never even noticed my new hairdo or my new dress, and I was too proud to fish for his compliments. I was too insecure about how I was perceived in his eyes.
He told me once, “There is nothing worse than being afraid of being afraid.” But I was still so afraid. I was so afraid of being afraid that I gave up anything before even trying. I imagined after this trip was over, I’d never hear from him again, until much later, a greeting from far away, and I’d again back into his circle, merely as a friend, a lover turned into friend. I felt detached from my own body, part of me wanted out, out of this hopeless situation, part of me wanted to stay, for I knew I desired him physically and emotionally, this could very well be the last time I’d see him again.
He started his 4 runner remotely, before we event got into the car. It was already half past ten. The wine had got me hot with desires. I wanted to have him right there and then in the car on the way home. I pressed myself against him in the elevator, feeling him growing hard under his jeans. How I wish I could knee down and feel him in my mouth... But he needed to go back to a client site to fix an out of memory problem.
Lingerie and Sex
When he left I tried on my new lingerie. The glass of merlot had taken control of my increasing loneliness. Finally exhaustion took over and I felt asleep in his bed. I had strange dreams, in the dreams I was with him. Then all of sudden I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I had let my imagination gone wild - he had not gone to work, instead he had gone to see his other lover. They were in bed, making passionate love, laughing at me, all alone back in his apartment. I knew it sounded ridiculous, yet I couldn’t resist thinking in that way. I was getting jealous, but part of me also enjoyed the extreme negative feelings. It was a rare moment - it had been over two years since I last got jealous for a man. I felt alive again.
I heard the key turning. He came home. It was very late. He got into the bed, finding my nakedness. I wrapped my body around him, against his cool naked skin. I was so in love with this man I merely knew and he had no idea about all this. Even I was in a state of shock. The alcohol driven mind sought after answers the rational self refused to acknowledge. I knew I’d do anything to be with him, yet that would only overwhelm him, and chase him away even further. So I just lay there, feeling him growing hard, feeling him inside of me, feeling like having an out of body experience. Amid all these, I had a vision of me going down on him, swallowing as he came and tasting him as if I'd never tasted a man. So I swirled my way down, he held my long hair and watched me with curious eyes. I didn't think he knew that I’d be willing to do that. I thought that he was surprised, and it pleased me.
When he finally let it go I felt a jolt of satisfaction, something I could never obtain while facing him fully clothed. The room smelled like the aroma of sex - thick and heavy, unexplainably extraordinary.
A Scorpio, a hopelessly in loved Scorpio, sacrificing her body for another Scorpio, the sting so sweet, so poisonous, so end of the world like.
Next morning, we headed to 4th street Rose, a California style restaurant that served brunches. I remembered the way he felt the night before - strong arms, a flat stomach, a skier’s body.
Only a year ago, that man who once was the love of my life came over for a visit, March or February, I couldn’t remember. He had skied the whole winter and was tanned and lean. And here was this new man, a year later, who had come into my life, and had no idea what kind of effect he had on me.
We ordered coffee afterwards, as usual. I picked up the bill. With the favorable exchange rate, everything seemed less expensive. I enjoyed spending money. One thing that had never been an issue for me was my ability to accumulate wealth. I had managed to build a successful career, and earned more income at age 24 than most people did at age 34. I had always enjoyed spoiling myself with things that I could buy and covered my emotional emptiness through spending money. I also enjoyed treating men. I didn’t want to be taken care of.
Later on I learned that was my pitfall. Men liked to feel that they could take care of a woman. I had given them the impression that I was too independent for that. I had tried to be so strong. I often portrayed a brave exterior, acted as if I needed nothing from them but sex, when in fact I was more fragile than I had ever let on.
Life had just made a complete full circle, I stood in the middle of it, though at a different country, a different setting, a different partner, the same tragic feeling was present again. It was I who caused it. I felt in love again today. And I felt in love with a man whom I would never see again.
The Northern air, so crispy, so cold, so senseless.
“Reality is what you make out of it.” He said that as we crossed the street, heading towards the silver color Toyota 4runner. He always spoke in cryptic tone. I had no idea what he meant, what he tried to tell me. I took a long last look at this beautiful northern city. It was like a dream coming true. I couldn't wake up in time to feel the pain.
The nonfat decaf latte had gone cold in my hand.
At the duty free store, I picked up a few items, stupid things like magnets for the refrigerator. He had gone back to finish his work, then he would pack and leave for another city. I was heading back to the town I worked at. I wondered when I’d come back down to earth from the craziness I had allowed myself to go through.
I felt in love with him, in a foreign land, in a crispy sunny winter morning. I was heading back to the States. With a new Sony disc man and six new CD’s - from musicians whom have yet to be known to the Americans and a new sweatshirt imprinted with the name of the ski town. I took rolls of film, of the Canadian rockies, of him, of me, and of him and me. Yet I was not sure if I’d develop the film. I was afraid of seeing his face and seeing myself with him in the pictures. That’s what happened when one had no more faith to hold on and no more hopes to offer.
Of course he had no idea. He won’t have an idea. I would never tell. I would never see him again.
I was wrong. He came to see me once more. I took him to an annual retreat my firm was hosting in Tahoe. He was a lovely companion. Beautiful, talkative, charming and impressive in his Canadian accent. He carried himself well and he was the date I needed, to impress my colleagues with.
We stayed in a nice resort hotel, we went skiing and snowboarding after the firm’s event. We fucked, a lot.
He wrote to me after he returned to Calgary. He thanked me for inviting him down to Tahoe, he said that he had a lovely time, in his usual restrained tone. Then he said that he was offered an opportunity to join SAP in Palo Alto. But he turned it down.
I knew my answer right there and then.
We stayed in touch. Then we lost touch. I was not surprised. I imagined he got married and had children.
Fourteen years had passed. A few months ago, we found each other on Linkedin.
He seemed really happy to have reconnected with me. He wrote to me, “How’s married life? I still travel a lot. Are you still doing consulting?” I never told him that I was married, but I think he assumed so, by seeing my new last name.
I wanted to write, “Do you ever come down to the bay area? If so, would you like to have dinner?” But instead all I wrote back was, “Married life is good. What about you?”
I never heard back from him. Somehow I suspect that he never married. He told me that he still travelled a lot for work. I wondered if he ever come down. But I didn’t feel like writing back.
Like all the men in my life, past, present or future, the only place they truly felt at home, was on the road. And occasionally, they found a lost soul, like me, they would take her along for the ride, for a little while, and then they would move on. Leaving her wandering the world, broken hearted, all alone again.
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