I was thinking and vaguely hoping that I would maybe bumb into him at the airport. And I did. At the Hong Kong airport. William had told me the time of his arrival to Taipei and I was quick to evaluate that he certainly would be taking the same flight as me from Hong Kong. My calculation proved accurate.
He was slowly walking toward the boarding gate, nonchalant, with his dreamy expression. We were so happy to meet like that. I could have hold him longer and kissed him deeper... But we were in a public place.
It crossed my mind how wonderful it would be if one day in the future, we would actually be coming back together from the same travel destination. I kept telling myself from the beginning that I should just enjoy the present moment and not think too much of my future with William, or the limited possibility of it.
A friend of his picked him up at the airport. We weren't introduced. How could he? I was the other man. So he walked away with him before he realised he had not said goodbye and ran back to ask whether I wanted to take the same bus as them. I declined the kind offer. Nicolas was supposed to come and pick me up as well - he didn't, as I found out eventually in a text message he sent me at the last minute: he realised, as he was about to take the bus to the aiport, that he was not feeling so well. So he decided to go back to my flat instead and wait for me there. He had been staying at my place for a month already, whilst looking for a new home in Taipei.
I watched William walk away with his friend. The happiness of bumping into him in Hong Kong gave way to a diffuse mixture of disapointment and sadness. Yes, that was my future, or the lack of it. Being the other man? Coming last after his boyfriend, his friends, his colleagues, his family and... God? I was aware the situation created lots of confusion in him. But it would have been a very bold and risky decision to leave his long acquired stability for me. And I wasn't asking for that. Just not to be a well guarded secret in his life.
We met another time a couple of days afterward. Early in the morning. He had to drop by his school to give his students some Easter eggs and then come visit me.
"I'll be jetlagged and sleepy!" I warned him. But the thought of seeing him filled me with elation.
We cuddled and spent the morning sleeping before he had to leave for work. No one in the house even noticed that William came. Beside love, there's this feeling of peacefulness that I feel in his contact. I don't need to explain or say anything. It's fluid. We may not even have the same interest, and yet we enjoy each other's company.
That was to be our last encounter. Ten days or so later, he asked me whether I would be free for dinner with him. I declined. I had to face the inevitable truth: our relationship wasn't going anywhere. The more time passed, the fonder I grew of him. What do I say? My love for him was growing stronger. I had not felt that way for years. But unfortunately it had to be for someone who was not available. I knew the sentiment was reciprocal. Whatd could he do with it when everything was so fixed in his life?
I explained the reasons to him. I would be lying if I said that deep down, I didn't have the great hope that he would stand up and tell me in his baritone voice: "I shall stay with you".
Of course, that's a tragic childhood fairy tale.
He understood the reasons. Maybe he didn't expect me to make the step and go away.
Nicolas later told me that he and William had been chatting online together. William had come to him for some counselling. Nicolas knew he couldn't advertise for my cause, so he justly told William that he was finding himself at a crossroad in his life, and that it wasn't just about me or his boyfriend. He had been passively accepting and following the course of his life. Maybe now was the moment to be responsible for it and stand up for what he really wanted?
William was highly aware of that. He needed to meditate on it. He went to church to find an answer. Did he find it?
One night in Hong Kong, after weeks of silence, I couldn't help sending him a short text message to say how much I did miss him. But then... what?
I really don't know. An idea, a thought may need physical support to materialise and join what we call reality. Given the situation, what would happen if I did see him again. Will we resume our forbidden love routine. Will something else come out of it? I'm not so sure I can keep my position for so long.