Spencer Huang writes, “I dated other girls later on — Spanish, Polish, Welsh. But I could hardly overcome the recurring fear in my heart: ‘She’ll disappear again.’ At last, I returned to China with a lonely and tired heart. Eliza changed me completely.”
This is a story of how one Chinese man met an enchanting Polish woman in London, only to have her vanish from his life without an explanation.
I’m a Chinese man who just finished a master’s degree in the UK, where I once had a relationship with a Polish woman. I’ve wanted to share this story ever since the Christmas of 2012, when I met her.
I was there in London, spending my Christmas holidays with my friend John, who visited me from China. We lived in a hostel to meet more people and to share their interesting life stories. That was where I met Eliza.
My friend and I tried to talk to anyone we met in the hostel during our journey. We were chatting with a Japanese girl earlier that day, but she had grown up in the US and knew very little about Japan. It wasn’t a very interesting conversation to me.
When I was dismayed that I couldn’t find anyone interesting to talk with, suddenly Eliza walked into that room. She reminded me of a lovely elf — petite with long blonde hair, green eyes and a small face.
Before I knew it, we fell into a fantastic conversation. We talked a lot about anime, manga, Japanese culture (especially Japanese pop culture), food and musicals (such as The Phantom of Opera and other Andrew Lloyd Weber works). I really admired her independence. She worked in London as a waitress to pay her way through university. She had also left home two years before; her father passed away many years ago and her mom remarried. We bonded over our lonely childhood experiences as well.
I never imagined that I could meet a girl who had so much in common with me. We were so happy as we talked together through the whole night.
Then I asked her, “Why don`t we go out for a drink?”
“Why not?” she answered.
We left the hostel at 9:30pm to hit the empty London streets that evening, which was still Boxing Day, to have drinks together.
The next day, what a perfect day it was. We visited Piccadilly Circus and many other sites in London, sharing food and laughter. That evening, I prepared a dinner for two of Japanese sushi while she sang “Think of Me” from the Phantom of the Opera.
Suddenly, a feeling of dread hit me: I had nearly forgotten my promise to a friend from Hong Kong. He needed a place to stay during New Year’s time because he had no money and nowhere else to go. Of course, I couldn’t leave my friend to sleep on the streets and had offered him my flat in Glasgow.
I had to leave Eliza suddenly that very evening, December 27. We hugged before I left, never realizing it would be our last hug.
Later, when I returned to London to find her, everything changed. We were meant to meet at this staircase in the hostel, but she never showed up. She just vanished and left me standing there. I spent over 16 hours there, thinking about her. At last, a group of Australians came over to me and gave me a bottle of whiskey. Then I could remember nothing but the fact that she never returned to that hostel again.
I dated other girls later on — Spanish, Polish, Welsh. But I could hardly overcome the recurring fear in my heart: “She’ll disappear again.” At last, I returned to China with a lonely and tired heart.
Eliza changed me completely. A part of me still hoped that someone special might appear in my life, but I was afraid of a stable relationship, something I yearned for deep inside.
It was tough since I returned to China, but I’ve decided to move on. In the end, the memories are beautiful enough for me.
Spencer Huang works as a project manager for a media company in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.
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