The couple next to me at our table at Piedra Negra just recently got engaged. I found out about the engagement a couple of days earlier, through a news feed on Facebook but this was the first time I was seeing them in person. They were both good friends of The Banker, but in the last month or so I became more or less acquainted with the girl, so I could not wait to congratulate them when I showed up at the bar.
Her ring sparkled seductively as she shimmied her hand in my face, showing off the rock. I admired the cut, the feminine band that held the stone so gently, yet firmly within its grasp. And then I felt it.
At first I did not know what it was and I was slightly surprised and taken aback by the slight pang and the impact of the unexpected feeling that came over me.
You see, I've never been the one to swoon over engagements or engagement parties or bridal showers. I always vowed to be that girl that got drunk (but not embarrassingly so) at bachelorette parties, and took shots with all the single dudes at the wedding receptions, and danced my ass off in my smoking hot bridesmaid dress on the dance floor, and made out with the best man (but only if he was hot).
But this time it was different. I felt a bit jealous. I felt a bit behind the curve. I felt like... I actually wanted to look forward to an engagement party... of my own.
It was weird and confusing and maybe even conformist to the "societal standards". But, fuck it. Regardless as to whether I am brainwashed or not, I still want a fairly tale ending of my own.
The Banker ordered us another round of margaritas, blissfully unaware of the emotional mini-rollercoaster that was going on in my head. Meanwhile, I chatted away happily, but with various darker thoughts brewing in my mind. Like, why does he always introduce me to his friends simply as "L", not his "girlfriend L". Am I his girlfriend or am I just another piece that he is seeing?
I began feeling slightly tipsy from the alcohol in no time. Maybe it was the lack of sleep due to work-related meetings and meeting preparations the night before but, at some point, I just decided to let my worries go, as they were getting in the way of my fun. There was really no point in ruining my night due to my own emotional turmoil. I was being a freaking girl, after all, and I was not enjoying it one bit.
We were all expecting The Banker's friend Mr Hong Kong to make his triumphant return to Singapore and to the bar we were at. He was, apparently, coming back from months-long travels elsewhere. And as he finally arrived around 11pm, The Banker gestured for him to take an empty seat next to us and to join the conversation.
"Oh, by the way," The Banker said, after his initial greetings with Mr Hong Kong, "This is my girlfriend, L."
My head did a double spin and my heart pounced with excitement. Did I just really hear something that I've been wanting to hear for months now?
"Hello," I said, cool as a cucumber, extending my hand to shake his, "It is very nice to meet you."
"Pleasure to meet you too," Mr Hong Kong replied, "The Banker told me so much about you. It's great to finally meet the girl he's been talking about so much."
I know, I know. The whole situation may seem like such a non-event to some. Almost a banal example of a side non-conversation. But to me... well, to me, it was a memorable exchange to say the least.
The first time he publicly introduced me as his girl. A confirmation of our relationship, however nonchalant it was for him, it was a big deal to me, though I will never admit this to anyone in person.
I looked at the newly-engaged couple, happily intertwined in their new togetherness and I did not feel that pang of jealousy any more. Far from the point of getting engaged, nevertheless, I felt just right in my moment right then and there.
I raised my hand and waved down the nearest bartender to come and take my next order.
"A shot of coffee tequila for this guy, please," I requested, as I pointed to The Banker.
It was going to be a long, fun night and in a silent and roundabout way, I just had to thank my dude for making things just a little more official.
Good job, babe.