We had a perfect day. One hour away from midnight and we were still travelling, on the train to a second cinema after all the good seats were snapped up in the first. We seriously contemplated our favourite christmas carols over peppermint mocha while waiting for the movie to begin, and agreed that chestnuts roasting on an open fire, have yourself a merry little christmas and baby it’s cold outside were definitely our top three mutual favourites, based on the criteria of quiet contentment, a tinge of melancholy and cheek, which all desirable life situations should have.
Earlier that day: In printed sneakers, tasseled flats and the unforgiving heat we stomped and sang songs all around city hall, in search of a computer fair that was really on the other side of the country. Two hours later, I was a dslr owner and only just beginning to understand how my impaired mandarin was a bargaining handicap in the hard-core soft-ware world of men and their own version of dialect-peppered smalltalk. You’re so lucky to have me around to bargain for you, he said. I’m lucky to have you, period, I thought. Laughing and ashamed of my Man’s World Mutism, I had to submit to mockery later in the evening at a dinner with my family. We all had bowls upon bowls of unidentifiable seafood delicacies, roast chicken, crispy noodles and tea, and tried to get him to join my grandmother for karaoke.
In the four years that we have been dating, we’ve found ourselves in different continents every christmas. This year will be the fifth year running, only we won’t see each other till july this time round. In the same four years we have fought so many fights both separately and together, and if we can have these glorious full days of laughing at ourselves and our mistakes and shortcomings, then maybe we can end the exchange experience the same way we ended our day — with quiet contentment, cheek and nothing more than a tinge of melancholy; back to warmth and familiar spaces.