If you looked at Cheung your first thought would probably be a misjudgment. If I’m honest I think that is intentional on his part. Is it confusing? Yes. Without a doubt.
I don’t know if any of you realised but I was anxious about meeting Cheung. I needn’t have been. Was he how I imagined him to be? No, not entirely but people never usually are. I’m learning that as I go.
I am struggling in my mind to portray him on paper.
Once again there was silence in between our conversation on Wednesday about meeting Friday and the actual day itself. I was left assuming that we would just meet as agreed unless I heard otherwise and seeing as I had heard nothing, I was going.
I went to work in the morning. Whether that was the best place for me is still up for discussion, my mind wasn’t exactly on the job but I would have been even worse at home.
At 12.30 pm on the day, he messaged:
Hey.. Still on for today?
Call me 🙂
Call me? When? Now? Oh God, do I have to? Looking immediately to the buddies, who both just looked at me with a ‘well.. go and call him’ look. I called him.
He sounded nothing like I expected. A deeper, richer but slightly gruff voice that instantly had me at ease. My misconception that he was going to be all upstairs/downstairs flew straight out the window.
He confirmed that he was about to leave and should be at the restaurant at the agreed time and providing all was ok with me, he would see me then. All was very ok with me and despite my normal first date anxiousness, I was very much looking forward to it.
He called me again shortly after our first phone call just to let me know that now he had my number he would be prank calling me every five minutes. Actually he wasn’t sure he was heading to the right place and after confirming the postcode he said goodbye, again.
I arrived before him, the car park is quite big at this particular pub and so I wasn’t sure of that at first. It was another very warm day and there was no way I could linger in my car, unless I wanted to look like a sweaty tomato when I got out, so I loitered by my car for a few minutes trying to decide whether I should call him or not.
Just as I was about to call he arrived, not quite on two wheels but almost. I knew it was him straight away. It was the hair that did it. The unmistakable sight of a bun.
It seemed to take him ages to remove himself from his vehicle but eventually there he was. Tall, almost bordering on lanky and slim, almost bordering on skinny, he had the widest smile I have ever seen, the kind of smile that is contagious.
I am going to have trouble describing Cheung, in fact I have been having trouble with it.
For two days now I have been trying to describe him in my own head and I can’t. He is a complete contradiction. He looks one thing and is clearly something very different. He is very serious but laughs like he might explode at any moment. He has a love of poetry but tells the rudest jokes I have ever heard and I think his shoes were more expensive than his car.
I liked him. Even though I felt slightly off kilter the whole time.
He was every inch the gentleman, even though he ate like hadn’t eaten for months, where he put it I have no idea. We had wine and talked and laughed, well he talked, I laughed. He talks a lot and I mean a lot. I barely got a word in and I can talk for England.
After lunch we sat outside in the courtyard, it was lovely and sunny. The pub garden overlooks the beautiful countryside of Kent, there are Oast Houses in the distance and the view is amazing, the sky was mid blue and completely cloudless, we sat just looking out over the fields and talked.
We talk about families, our jobs, our lives. He tells me his hair is long because he just hasn’t got around to going to the Barbers, simple as that. He is not fussed about following trends nor does he care to be thought off for anything other than what he does and how he behaves. The more I learn about him the more I decide he is an overachiever, although he disagrees with that. Then as he disagrees with me, the waitress takes our glasses, she is Polish and in less than a minute I am listening to the two of them speaking together in her native tongue.
He is clearly not fluent and she corrects him and laughs with him as they talk but the delight on her face is clearly evident, she is overjoyed with the fact that he is even able to try and quite frankly so am I.
If he was trying to impress me, it worked.
I could have sat there all night.
When he told me I was much more beautiful in the flesh and that he would like to see me again, I was done.
We chatted some more and then because we couldn’t have anymore wine and water just has you trotting off to the toilet every five minutes, we agreed to call it a night, until next time.
I did it. It was over with.
We walked out to our cars and said goodbye, as I drove away I couldn’t help but think that he was nothing like I expected yet in a funny way he was everything I expected him to be.
A grey sea. Vast, deep and relatively smooth on the surface but never to be underestimated.
I still can’t really find the words…