There it was, a tiny blue duffel bag on the floor of the guest room. I found it Tuesday evening, after returning home from work.
It was John’s suitcase, of course. In a way, it was natural he would bring his things here. We hadn’t spent a day apart since that Friday, my birthday, when we first kissed. My apartment — with two bedrooms, a full bathroom and kitchen, dining room, TV and A/C — was far nicer than the cramped, sparse room in the peasant house that John shared with his friend. And, I had given John the keys — wasn’t that an open invitation?
Still, I couldn’t help wondering how he came to the conclusion — moving in — when we’d never really agreed on it.Â
It didn’t make sense to me because I didn’t think in the Chinese way. I didn’t see, as John did, that our dating, our kisses, our everything meant, to him, that we were heading towards marriage, eventually. He never said it then. But years later, he admitted that, since we had kissed (and more), our relationship was already settled in his mind.
I’m glad he didn’t say any of it to me. Maybe I would have been scared, to even imagine marriage just days after our first kiss. Maybe I would have overreacted, and complicated everything. Behind closed doors, my emotional fluctuations have frightened more than one Chinese man.
But he didn’t say it. And, I didn’t say what I felt in my heart either — that I believed John was the one.
Maybe that was why I wanted to keep him close, even though it seemed too soon to move in. I said nothing about the duffel bag, or how it was so early to live together. I stayed silent, instead enchanted by the idea of having him, and his suitcase, right by my side.
Were you ever surprised by how serious dating was in China? Did a Chinese ever move in with you before you thought it was time?
Memoirs of a Yangxifu in China is the story of love, cultural understanding and eventual marriage between one American woman from the city and one Chinese man from the countryside. To read the full series to date, visit the Memoirs of a Yangxifu archives.