[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22 & Chapter 23]
Dare to return
Cute didn’t want to think much this time. If it was a bad decision, so be it. He wasn’t going to go crazy trying to debate it in his mind. One shouldn’t think too much; it affects the way you look. He was dressed in a low-cut tee shirt, which ended right above his navel, and tight low-rise jeans. One could easily spot his underwear and a bit of skin. His shoes complimented the look. If he swayed his hips while walking, people would mistake him for a girl from behind. From the front you couldn’t guess whether he was a boy or a girl. While a bulk of his hair was set in all directions, the fringe slanted down from right to left adding to the confusion.
He was on a tram, midway between Causeway Bay and Central. Not many people hopped on and off on that weekend night. The ride was rough with many jolts and it disturbed his chain of thought.
GWM5420 had apologized for getting delayed on their last date. Getting delayed? He hadn’t made it! By the time he sent an SMS, Cute was walking back home through Wan Chai. But at least he’d bothered to apologize. Cute hadn’t allowed himself to feel upset about having been stood up. If it had affected him in any way, it had only made him stronger. If the gweilo would stand him up again, he’d find somebody else to hang out with. Anyway, it wasn’t his intention to find only one sugar daddy. He wanted to find several sugar daddies and then evaluate each one of them. It would be a competition but the competitors would have no idea they were participating in it. They’d be his cards and he’d play them as he wished. But in order to have a handful of cards, he needed to have at least one first. And so he was on his way back to Lan Kwai Fong for another date with GWM5420.
The tram slowed down and halted at the stop next to The Landmark. Cute hopped off. He walked around the Louis Vuitton showroom and crossed Swarovski on his way past the taxi stand. He crossed Queen’s Road in front of the Marks & Spencer store and continued up Wyndham Street.
Young people were queuing up in front of the On Hing Building to get into one of the three discos there. Cute crossed the street and ducked behind yet another queue in front of the Wellington Plaza, to take the narrow lane leading up to Lan Kwai Fong.
A few paces up the slope took him to Club 97. The place was bustling with people spilling out onto the street. Cute made his way through and managed to find a barstool. He parked himself there and looked around.
“What can I get for you?” Someone tapped him on the shoulder.
He turned around to find a familiar face.
“Yes. Xavier!” Suzy replied.
“Yes. So happy to see you again.”
“He-he. Same here. Are you waiting for your friend?” Suzy asked.
“Yes. Do you know if Richard is here?”
“The guy I had a drink with last time.”
“Oh, yeah. He’s on one of the sofas.” Suzy pointed towards the other side.
“Let me say hello to him.” Cute got off his seat and made his way through the crowd of dancers until he reached the sofas. Richard was on the last one.
“Hello, Richard. How are you?”
“Oh, hi.” Richard smiled. Sitting next to him was a Chinese guy in his late twenties.
“I’m sorry, I forgot your name. Francis?” Richard said apologetically.
“Xavier. It’s Xavier.” Cute repeated as if by doing so he would imprint the name in Richard’s memory. It wasn’t a good sign. Richard had forgotten his name already.
“I apologize, Xavier. My bad. This is my partner, Roger.”
“Hello.” Cute extended his hand.
“Hello.” Roger didn’t shake Cute’s hand.
“Do you wanna join us?” Richard asked.
“He’s obviously with someone.” Roger glared at him.
“I’m waiting for a friend. It’s okay, I don’t want to disturb you guys,” Cute said. “Have a nice evening. See you later.”
He walked back to his seat and found a fat guy sitting there. He looked around to find another place. He had to kill another 15 minutes before GWM5420 arrived. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be late this time.
Cute didn’t want the bartenders to ask him what drink he wanted. He fished out his cell phone and held it close to his ear, pretending to be in a conversation with someone. Occasionally, he would also pretend to send SMS to unknown people in the universe.
Barely five minutes had passed when he spotted Richard walking towards the washroom. Richard saw him and then looked back towards Roger, who was busy on his phone and wasn’t looking in their direction, then hurried over to Cute.
“Sorry about what happened back there. He’s so rude today. I apologize.”
“No, that’s okay. I didn’t mind at all.”
“Thanks.” Richard smiled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Oh, no. Thank you. My friend should be here soon and I may leave with him.”
“Then we must meet up some other time. Here’s my card. Buzz me whenever you are coming this way again. I’d love to have a drink or dinner with you sometime.” Richard gave his card to Cute.
“Thanks. Do you have MSN or Facebook?” Cute asked.
“My MSN’s at the bottom. I’m not into Facebook. Add me and we’ll chat.”
“Yes, I’ll add you. I’m sorry, I don’t have a card.” Cute said. Disaster. He made a mental note to print a set.
“Don’t worry. Just give me a missed call and I’ll add your number.”
Richard went on to the washroom. Cute looked over at Roger who was too busy to have noticed anything.
Cute felt better. He thought about Richard. He’d meet him again to gage whether he was sugar daddy material or not. It didn’t matter if his dad would come to know of it. He wanted someone to sponsor him. If it didn’t work out with Richard, he’d find somebody else. Sometimes in life, when one is in a tough situation, one had to be tough to make decisions — decisions that would look mean or bad to people who were not in the same situation. But it was his life and he would live it his way.
His cell phone buzzed, shaking him out of his thoughts. It was GWM5420.