the thing about india, you see . . .
so i’ll tell you about an experience i had while backpacking through india. some names have been changed in order to maintain their privacy. other names have not been changed because they’re wankers.
upon arriving in delhi, it turned out i was the last person out of the tour to arrive, and everyone else had already met and gone to bed. my plane only landed at 10pm and i only arrived at the tour group starting point hotel at 11:45pm. the hotel staff told me the group was meeting at 4am to leave, so i decided not to sleep. had already slept on the plane, was still on toronto time, so i checked into my room, met my wanker roommate simone irion (severe, antiseptic, boring, no sense of humour, looked like an old wife with 12 kids), lay in bed for a few hours, then got up to meet the rest of the group.
of course, i’m running on adrenaline by this point, so as i introduce myself to everyone, i’m full of energy. “hi! i’m christine! i’m from canada! wooo!!!” and everyone is all “it’s.4am.and.we’re.dead.to.the.world.”
ha ha. fair enough.
then i meet Crewe (that’s a name change, in case you missed it). Crewe comes out, also looking half asleep, and i blindside him with my hyper adrenaline. we introduce ourselves and shake hands. seems like a nice enough guy. he says he’s gonna go back into his room to grab his roomie Two-Crewe (another name change) and his things.
Crewe told me later that as he walked back into his room, he said to Two-Crewe, “the new girl is really hot.”
so off we all go on the tour. right off the bat, i’m talkative to everyone, learning about everyone’s story. there’s timothy chan (a diva with an anorexia problem and gossiping-tourettes), dore burhmann (sarah-plain-and-tall, sour face american who whines about every activity we do, looks down her nose at everyone, wears fugly PJ’s and a moo-moo everywhere she goes yet makes fun of people wearing American Apparel), Tall Drink Of Water (young pleasant german with a constant smile and zest for life), Brit Model (19 year old gorgeous gal with a heart of gold and a butt that won’t quit), Quiet Brit (Brit Model’s boyfriend, keeps to himself but great sense of humour), and a bunch of random aussies, norwegians, danes, canadians, and others who pepper the group.
let’s put the dynamics of this group into perspective – it was a young group. later on, a bunch of more mature and fun-loving adults joined us, with an age-range that went up to about 45. but before they joined the tour, the average age on the tour was 25. so people began to treat it like high school. cliques formed and people began to believe it was up to them to set the standards by which the rest were judged. i can’t count how many times Brit Model, who is only 19, came to me in tears because of something timothy chan or dore burhmann or simone irion had said to her, making her feel inferior, and trying to ostracize her from the group.
and these people were terrifying! timothy chan had all these piercings and holes all over his face. he looked like the sort of guy where if you told him to go fuck himself, he’d give it a shot.
simone irion was like the last Stasi standing.
and i’m pretty sure dore burhmann is building a deathstar.
when i see stuff like that, i don’t take it lightly. when people act like fucking dicks because they know they can. when people mistreat those that they haven’t even bothered to get to know.
i wasn’t asking for us all to be friends. i wasn’t asking for us all to get along. i wasn’t even asking for everyone to like each other.
i was just asking for a little fucking courtesy and civility.
so we hit up agra. the taj mahal. the red fort. the tuk tuks and the cows and the monkeys and the lassis and posters of amitabh bachchan everywhere. rupees and mendhi and saris and bargaining and palak paneer.
as we’re leaving the taj mahal, Crewe comes up to me and asks me what i thought of the experience. as i’m telling him about my thoughts, it occurs to me how nice it is for him to come up and talk to me personally, since i’m the new girl who walked into a group that’s already brimming with resentment for each other. then as we’re speaking, wanker dore burhmann literally pushes in between us so she can chat up Crewe and Two-Crewe. i immediately got the sense from her that she wanted to be “in” with the Crewe boys, and not me. as if it’s a competition for attention or something.
later on, Brit Model told me that Crewe had been asking around what people thought of me…..
so the tour moves on from agra . . . we hit up Jaipur, the pink city, where we ride on elephants and experience the palace of the winds.
then onto pushkar, a holy city in the desert, for Diwali. the entire tour woke up the morning of Diwali at 4am so we could climb this massive mountain with a Hindu temple at the top. Crewe, Two-Crewe and I, who had steadily been getting closer and closer over the course of the past few days, climbed the mountain together, leaving the rest of the group in our dust. i think the 3 of us were probably the strongest out of the group as well. Crewe had been training with a personal trainer for months. i have been doing extreme weight-lifting and max-interval training all year. and Two-Crewe, despite smoking inhibiting his cardiovascular strength, just had muscle all over! so we raced up the mountain together. Crewe was the first of the group to the top. i was second. Two-Crewe was third. we sat at the top of this mountain, and watched the sun come up over Pushkar. then we prayed at the temple, and fed monkies some cookies right out of our hands.
i think it was during this time that i realized what great conversationalists Crewe and Two-Crewe are. on the way back down the mountain, Two-Crewe and I had a really great philosophical chat about the evils of religion and what it’s done to humanity. and Crewe, who had come down with a really bad case of Delhi-belly, never once winged or bitched or complained like the rest of us did at some point or another. he was very zen. very positive and open and happy about everything. looked at every new experience with eyes of wonderment. he never lost his child-like enthusiasm.
i realized that without Crewe and Two-Crewe, my experience of this tour with the bitchy childish wankfest of the others would have been very different. probably intolerable.
so we celebrate Diwali, get all dressed up, ride on camels, pray in a temple to Brahma, and explode bombs and fireworks on the streets with the locals.
then it’s on to Udaipur. as we hit Udaipur, it’s officially been one week since the tour started. we take a boat trip across the river Pichola, explore the shops in the city, eat on hotel rooftops, and visit our tour guide’s family home for sweets, bangles and more fireworks.
one night, our tour guide organized a rooftop dinner for us, overlooking the whole of Udaipur. so we’re eating and dancing to music and chatting, and over my shoulder i hear bits and pieces of a conversation between Brit Model and Crewe. they’re talking about relationships, so i slide my chair over and join in. Crewe is talking about an ordeal he went with in his last relationship, which was really difficult for him, and then he asks me about my prior relationships, which i regale him with. Crewe then makes the comment that i remind him so much of his sister, and i’m flattered by the compliment.
Brit Model told me days later that before i had crashed that conversation, Crewe had apparently been asking Brit Model and Quiet Brit how he should approach me & ask me out because he was beginning to fancy me …
later on during that dinner, Crewe, Two-Crewe and I were leaning up against the roof’s railing, and we were talking about our lives and future careers. i was telling Crewe about being a writer, and trying to encourage him to pursue a career in the arts, since he’s obviously a talented artist. he carried a leather-bound journal with him everywhere and alongside his words, he’s draw these beautiful pictures of whatever he’d seen that day that had inspired him. if you’ve ever read Kurt Cobain’s journal, it’s very much as artistic and beautiful as that. Crewe explained that he wasn’t sure which artistic discipline he wanted to pursue, and that he wasn’t sure it was something to make a living off of. so i was trying to inspire him with stories and anecdotes, and fireworks are exploding in the night sky, and the breeze is warm and everything is serene…
…when out of nowhere, dore burhmann, probably pissed that she wasn’t occupying their attention, butts in and calls for a group hug.
and as she reaches for a group hug with Crewe, Two-Crewe, and the aussies, she literally pushes me out of the way and elbows me with her arm that is now circling Crewe.
so i just thought, this is so childish, i’m not participating in this. so i asked our tour guide to drive me back to the hotel.
i went up to my room alone (i had a single room by this point, thank god for small mercies), and read my book for a few hours, waiting for sleep to wash over my eyes.
around 1am, there was a knock on my door. it was Crewe. him and Two-Crewe had just returned from the rooftop party and wanted me to join them in their room for a few beers. how they got their hands on beers, i don’t know, because Rajastan is a dry-state, especially during Diwali!
so i joined them, but unfortunately, we weren’t alone. dore burhmann and simone irion and the norwegians joined as well. along with our tour guide, we all played truth or dare.
i was dared at one point to bang on some people’s doors. ooo. burn.
some people had to admit silly things like how often they wanked, and what not.
then Crewe, who had chosen Truth, was asked, out of everyone in the group, who would he shag, who would he marry, and who would he kill.
supposed to be funny and lighthearted, nothing to be taken seriously.
but for marry, he chose dore.
and i was actually taken aback by that.
then when Two-Crewe was asked the same question, he said he’d marry dore (then kill her, then shag her.)
again, taken aback. (after giggling a bit at that last part)
it was all supposed to be jokes, nothing to actually take seriously. but i guess i had been certain that Crewe and Two-Crewe liked me the best out of the group. especially considering how much time we were spending together and we were really getting along. i don’t know why i was hurt by it, but like the sensitive-baby i am sometimes, i was.
the game ended not long after that. i went to bed and wrote in my journal, “i guess i’ve over-estimated how people perceive me here.”
so at that moment, i figured that Crewe and Two-Crewe were just indifferent to me, and i should stop assuming we’re the greatest of mates.
i went to sleep feeling like the plague.
the next stop was Mount Abu, a city situated at the top of a massive mountain that takes an hour to drive up. it was kinda like Horton Hears A Who up there. because Diwali celebrations were still going on, many pilgrims from smaller towns were flooding Mount Abu to watch the sun set from its many peaks. as the only westerners there, we were accosted by people. they wanted to shake our hands, take photos with us, and they followed us everywhere we went, just staring at us. what at first might have seem like mere fascination or curiosity quickly de-evolved into a form of racism – the white people were the walking jokes, let’s take photos of them.
this one guy would not leave me alone, he followed me everywhere with his camera, snapping photo without my permission, going “sandra bullock! sandra bullock!”
and i replied, dryly, “i’m not sandra bullock.”
and he replied, “but you’re just like! just like!” and continued to snap photos of me.
Brit Model came up with the brilliant idea then to start charging people Rs300 every time they asked for a photo. if they were going to exploit us, we were at least going to get some bank for it. and Quiet Brit found a way to get them to stop harrassing us. when they asked us where we were from, if we said canada or the UK, they wouldn’t leave us alone, so Quiet Brit decided to start saying “Zimbabwe.” most of the locals didn’t know what or where Zimbabwe was, so they would frown and run away after that. worked like a charm.
anyway, there was one brief, almost unremarkable moment, when we were in Mount Abu, that i realized i was beginning to really fancy Crewe.
we were all standing in a circle, chatting. and for one reason or another (probably to get into the shade), i crossed the circle to stand on the other side. and as i walked past Crewe, i picked up his scent.
it was a mix of pheromones and cologne and a little bit of alcohol and sweat (haha). but i immediately recognized it as the scent of a man . . .
. . . and i immediately got turned on.
and my instinct was then to grab his torso and pull him close to me so i could inhale all of him. and i was actually about to reach out to do it, but i had to snap myself out of it really quickly. i then quietly chastized myself for almost doing it. “wtf chris, you don’t do things like that. and he doesn’t think much of you anyway, so just pull yourself together, you moron.”
leaving Mount Abu on our way to Ahmedabad, we had to pile into these jeeps (all buses and trains had been completely booked, and we needed to get to Ahmedabad asap to catch our night-trains to Mumbai). luckily, the jeep i was in was occupied only by Crewe, Two-Crewe, a dane, and our tour guide.
so during the 3-some-odd-hour drive to Ahmedabad, the three of us couldn’t stop talking. everything from how we were experiencing the tour, to india, to relationships and careers and what life is all about…it was really an engaging conversation that never had a moment of silence.
we tried at one point to include the dane in our convo, and his stark reply was, “i have nothing to say.”
during this convo, Crewe revealed that he wasn’t particularly fond of dore burhmann’s constant whining and winging, or the way the aussies kept calling out his name for no reason other than to wave. the aussie girls had this odd and eventually annoying habit of calling out to the guys with this dumb nickname “Crewe-Crewe!” and when the boys would look up and go, “yeah?” they’d just wave and turn around again. and after the first few times, the guys were like, wtf is that supposed to mean? stop doing it already.
as we approached Ahmedabad, the convo gave way to singing. the three of us just couldn’t stop singing songs. it was a lot of Beatles. any Beatles song you can think of, we sang it. there was some Beastie Boys in there, some Arctic Monkeys, some of The Kooks, some James Morrison, even a Rihanna tune (that was my fault, sorry!). and as we approached the Ahmedabad train station, we were all in a chorale of “Across the Universe.”
the next morning, we arrive in Mumbai. it is at this point that whenever the group had to take Tuk Tuks or taxis anywhere, Crewe, Two-Crewe, myself, Brit Model and Quiet Brit would all make sure we were in the same vehicle together. we became our own little clique, and the rest of the wankers could enjoy their wankfest together. it was the 5 of us against the world.
in Mumbai, there is an island about 45 minutes off the coast called Elephanta Island, where inside its caves are ancient Shiva carvings going back hundreds of years. so we all piled into a ferry and headed for the island. unfortunately, dore burhmann thought it wise to join us.
as we were exploring the caves, this one local guy in a Green Tshirt would not stop following me and staring at me. it was really kinda scaring me. i was glad i was with Crewe and Two-Crewe just for the accompaniment of male protection.
as we were leaving the island, the Green Tshirt guy and his father approached some of us to take a photo. because the guy had been creeping on me all day, i pretended i didn’t hear the request and kept walking, while Two-Crewe and dore burhmann posed for the photo.
then the father of Green Tshirt, noticing i was walking away, shooed them out of the photo, saying he had really only wanted a photo of me with Green Tshirt.
that pissed dore off something awful, because it was obvious why they didn’t want her in a photo, when you compare and contrast the physical attributes of dore and myself. so as we’re walking away from Green Tshirt and his dad toward the ferries, the father chases after us and offers Two-Crewe twenty rupees for my photo….as if Two-Crewe is in charge of me and is my master and keeper.
we told him to bugger off.
we continue walking, and Crewe is walking a bit ahead. he’s wearing a white tank top, so i make the offhand comment that he’s going to get “wife-beater tan lines.”
dore, who was fuming in the back, suddenly snipes, “i don’t think it’s funny to make light of domestic abuse.”
and everyone just falls silent.
so Two-Crewe turns to look at her and says, “we’re not making fun of domestic abuse, that’s the name of those tank tops. people call them wife-beaters.”
granted, it’s not the smartest name in the world to give a tank top, but i wasn’t making a joke about domestic abuse. i was making a joke about tan lines. and i’m also not responsible for giving those tank tops that name, so her making a snide remark like that was just another childish way to dig at me, especially after her rejection with the Green Tshirt photo guy.
so we pile back into the ferry, and everyone pretty much ignores dore in her state. (later that night, as we all went to dinner, Two-Crewe confided in me and Brit Model that that comment dore made had really pissed him off, among other things she was doing).
so during the ferry ride back to Mumbai, i sat against the railing and looked out to the water, just thinking to myself about things, when i felt something on my back.
it was Crewe. he rested his head on my back and napped against my body. i remember writing in my journal later that i really needed that sense of touch from him. especially at that moment with dore scowling at me in the background. i made damn certain for the next 45 minutes in the ferry not to move a muscle, because i didn’t want Crewe to move off my back. even if my muscles began to spasm, i wasn’t going to alter my position.
so that night we went to the infamous Leopold’s Cafe in mumbai. after dinner, we headed to marine drive (a boardwalk on chowpatty beach) to sit against the shore and watch bollywood actors drag the strip in their motorbikes. street kids accosted us, just wanting to play and be hoisted onto our shoulders.
there was this one moment, a small moment to anyone who might have seen it, where things between Crewe and I began to change. he was leaning up against the hood of a taxi. he looked at me. i looked at him and smiled. and he opened his arms, inviting me into a hug.
so i wrapped my arms around him, and we hugged and hugged and he even lifted my feet of the ground a little bit. and i noticed that this hug lasted longer than a reasonably normal hug between friends would.
a small gesture, for sure. but it made me like him even more.
and i think he sensed something in himself as well, because later when we went to this really posh bar called Wink for an expensive drink with really fancy bollywood people, he sat down next to me, put his arm around the back of my chair, and started asking me about being a playwright.
i had told him early on in the trip that i was in india for the international women playwrights conference, and i guess that piqued his interest.
so i was telling him about my life as a writer, and he seemed really interested, staring right into my irises as i talked. then he made the comment that when he first started this trip, he never dreamed he’d meet a playwright, that it’s such an unique job, and he really respected me for it.
i secretly wanted another hug from him then.
truth be told, i actually wanted to kiss him then. i remember writing in my journal that night in my hotel room that i had fantasized about him knocking on my door late at night after we’d all gone to bed.
my fantasies usually get the better of me when i fancy someone.
anyway, the next day we had to fly to Goa, so of course, our clique all piled into one taxi (minus Two-Crewe who unfortunately had to sit with the aussies girls calling out “crewe crewe!!” every five seconds). Crewe sat next to me in the taxi and put his arm around the back of the seat. so i leaned into the nook of his shoulder and rested my head there.
so he rested his head atop mine.
and we drove to the airport like that, pressed against each other.
i think i must have known by this point that he fancied me somewhat. i can usually tell when a bloke fancies me, it’s not rocket science. most women are pretty intuitive when it comes to that. but then there’s all these doubts that make you think you’re just not basing these romantic projections on any kind of realtiy. that it’s all in your head.
so i think i was pretty certain by this point that we both fancied each other, but not 100%.
when i fancy someone, i’m pretty blatant about it. i always hang around them, find some way to be near them, engage them in convo, and find some way to touch them or tickle them or tease them or whatever. i’m pretty obvious that way.
but Crewe, he wasn’t doing any of that, not really. i mean, he’d go out of his way to talk to me, but then i’d notice him engaging in deep convos with other people of the group too, so i just thought he was indifferent to me for the majority of our trip…
plus, considering the fact that gossiping-tourettes timothy chan, dore burhmann, simone iron, and the aussies were now a full-on cancer-clique, rolling their eyes at everything, i was beginning to feel a bit ostracized and vulnerable. so taking a chance with relationship-type emotions was going to be hard if rejection was in the cards.
anyway, we arrive in Goa, and it’s like another country. after the deserts and mud huts of rajastan, goa looked like a carribbean resort town. very portuguese-colonial, everyone looked like my grandparents. colours and palm trees and water you can actually swim in.
we hit the beach.
at dinner that night, Crewe, Two-Crewe, Brit Model and Quiet Brit and I occupied one end of the table, while the rest of the group occupied the rest….that’s how it was. we were our own crew and we didn’t need anyone else. i ended up telling them about the reality tv show i did last year, which i’m pretty certain i had mentioned to them early on in the trip, but no one seems to remember that….and we yapped about other pleasantries.
i got up from the table at one point to get a napkin, and talk with Tall Drink Of Water who was sitting on the other end. i looked back at my end of the table for a second and saw Brit Model and Crewe just looking at me while they were in convo. i didn’t think much of it, and continued yapping with Tall Drink Of Water.
Brit Model told me later on that Crewe was actually asking them what they thought he should do tonight, how he should approach me, and they kept telling him to just go for it, and see what happens.
so after dinner, the whole group piled into this amazing nightclub called Mambo’s. the music was hype, the people were hot, and there was this woman dancing with fire in her hands on the bar, it was so cool. we all got really sweaty and gross pretty quickly, but we were having an amazing time. we gyrated around the dance floor like we were trying to shake off our limbs. everyone circled around us in a pounding throbbing crush and we were loving every minute of it.
but twice during that night, dore burhmann and timothy chan made Brit Model cry. first was when we were all piling into the taxis to take us to the club, the two of them plus the aussie girls kept snapping at her to hurry up because they wanted to hit the club already and she was holding them back. when her, Quiet Brit, Crewe and myself were in our cab driving to the venue, Brit Model cried her eyes out, saying she didn’t understand why people who barely knew her and hadn’t bothered to get to know her were treating her like that. then later in the club, Brit Model got separated from the rest of us, and ended up alone on the dancefloor with dore and timothy. timothy then purposefully bashed into her with his massive backpack that he was carrying to make a point, and dore made sure to dance with her back to Brit Model so that she wouldn’t feel included in the group. when i heard that, i was fuming. who did they think they were, fucking royalty? again, it was another classic example of how those people had a collossal lack of respect for other people’s dignity.
anyway, during the night Two-Crewe and Crewe, who know i don’t drink, bought me a vodka-redbull at the bar later. i had a couple sips, then poured the rest of it into their glasses. as Crewe and I were at the bar, an Irish guy, whom i’d noticed checking me out earlier in the evening, came up to me and started chatting me up. he was very handsome and very pleasant. but as soon as Crewe realized what was happening, he interjected, extended his hand to the Irish guy and introduced himself…making it blatantly obvious that he was with me. the irish guy got the message and quickly disappeared after that.
i remember smiling quietly to myself when that happened.
so Crewe sits down next to me at the bar, and we start talking about relationships and other tragedies. i tell him how i was late bloomer in life, that i didn’t always look like this. that i was actually pretty fugly growing up, and only became more comfortable in my skin around the age of 22 when i lost my virginity. Crewe is 22 years old, so i think that put things into perspective for him, and he said he really respected me for waiting that long. but i don’t think he quite fully grasped the late-bloomer aspect of me. i tried to explain to him how i lived a really sheltered life growing up and didn’t really understand the aspects of making myself look presentable to other people….that it really only hit me in university. i didn’t tell him about the unibrow and little moustache i used to have as an adolescent….but perhaps that might have illustrated the point better, har har har.
so we’re back on the dancefloor, dancing up a sweat and a frenzy. then back out to the bar, Brit Model pulls me aside and asks me what’s going on with me and Crewe. it’s an odd question to ask, since nothing at that point was going on between us. but i figured she must have picked up on the fact that i was crushing on him because i’m so obvious. so i said, “well i fancy him a lot, but i don’t know what to do. i’m 28, he’s 22. i live in canada. he lives in england. the tour ends in a few days. is it wrong to start something? would that be mean?”
and then suddenly, it all came out. Brit Model told me that Crewe really fancied me, that apparently he had since day one, and that he was always talking about me. and that apparently, everyone in the group already knew this fact.
everyone except me!
so she told me to go with the flow, just let my instincts take over and see what happens. by the bar, i gave her a massive hug then and we returned to the boys.
so we all go back to the dancefloor, when suddenly everyone makes an obvious exit, leaving me and Crewe alone on the floor. haha, nice move guys.
so Crewe and i are dancing, and Brit Model tells me later that as we made our way back to the floor that she whispered to Crewe that i “kinda liked him.” to which his response was “what? are you sure?”
i guess that bit of information gave him a shot in the arm, because he finally had the courage to grab my hands as we were dancing and pull me closer to him. we dance, body against body, music pounding through our chests and people grinding all around us, for what seems like an eternity, when i just can’t take it anymore.
so i lift my head up to his, and nuzzle his nose with mine. then again. and i look him straight in the eyes. nose to nose, we read each other. and the message is crystal.
suddenly we’re kissing and everything is drowned out. i can’t hear the music or feel the people crashing into us as they flail their limbs around in the dance. and what was surprising was how sweet everything was. usually when you make out with a guy in a nightclub, he thinks it justifies shoving his tongue down your throat for tonsil-hockey. but Crewe was actually really gentle and tender.
okay, that last line i just typed sounds uber velveeta romantic fluffy crap and is probably making all of you barf right now.
but hey, that’s what it was like, dammit.
he was a very sweet kisser.
and i liked it, a’ight?!
by this point it is 4:30 in the morning, and the rest of the group has already left. Crewe grabs my hand, lightly caressing it between his fingers, and we run together off the dancefloor.
along with Brit Model and Quiet Brit, we taxi it to a 24hr Subway resto for some quick bites, with tranny hookers outside looking to turn tricks, then back in the taxi to the hotel.
alone at the hotel, Crewe just looks at me and says, “let’s go check out your single room.” hahaha, he didn’t even have to say that. but it was a clever line.
so we go up to my single room, with two different balconies and a massive kitchen, and then . . .
. . . the rest of the night is none of your business, thank you very much.
the next morning, Crewe returned to his room with Two-Crewe, who was probably wondering if he was dead by then (Two-Crewe had left the club early, so wasn’t around for all that happened later). so i jumped in the shower. when i’m still in the shower, i hear a knock on my door. i wrap a towel around me and, dripping wet, answer the door.
it’s Crewe, fully dressed, inviting me to join them down at the beach. i tell him i’m in the shower and if he could give me 10 minutes.
he looks at me oddly and goes, “in the shower?” as if my towel and sopping wet body weren’t evidence enough.
so i reply, “yeah, you wanna join me?”
and suddenly this look of shock passes over Crewe’s face, and he stutters, “j-join you in-in the shower?”
and i smile a big “yeah.”
sometimes i would notice the age difference between us. 6 years isn’t that big to some people, but i tried not to remind myself that when i was 20, he was 14 (hee hee). and this is just my speculation here, but i wondered if the girls in Crewe’s past were as sexually assertive as I am, and therefore he was a bit taken aback by my offer of the shower. so sometimes the age difference was a factor, but not very often.
he said Two-Crewe was waiting for him downstairs and couldn’t join me alas, so i just kissed him, wiped away the water that i had transferred onto his face, and let him out so i could finish my shower and get changed.
so the 5 of us head down to the beach, have lunch at a beach-front cafe, and tan and jump over the massive violent Goa waves. at one point Crewe and I were in the water together, so i swam up to him, wrapped my legs around him, and we made out in the water, it was so hot. then he picked me up like a damsel in distress and carried me through the surf, it was awesome. we spent most of the day just tanning and listening to music. Crewe asked me again about the reality tv show i did last year, and i was filling him in on more details. a day at the beach, just the 5 of us, away from the bullshit of the cancer-clique, was just what we needed.
later that night, as we were walking back to the hotel before dinner, Crewe and I hung back from the group and had an important chat. i had noticed him withdrawing a bit during the day and falling silent quite often, so i asked him what was up.
his response was that he was just an introspective person and sometimes needed time to think about stuff. i was kind of getting the impression from him that he wasn’t enjoying himself anymore, so i chose not to believe his response, but didn’t want to make a big deal out of things.
so i just replied, “well, i ‘ve only known you for 2 weeks, it’s not like i can expect to you know all your quirks by now.”
to which he replied, “actually chrissy, i think you know me really well.”
“well, i think you’re a cool guy.”
“and i think you’re a cool girl.” then he started going on about how he had already been planning to come to canada anyway, that he really wants to, and maybe we might see each other there.
and i had to stop him right there. although this was exactly what i wanted to hear, i’ve been told that too many times by too many guys (joe, ben . . . ) and too often i’ve gotten my hopes up only to be gloriously let down and heartbroken. so i stopped him and said, “look, let’s just be rational adults about this okay. you live in england, i live in canada, it’s probably not going to happen. let’s just enjoy each others company while we can okay? because our time together is so finite, that’s what makes it’s special. and who says relationships have to last forever anyway? so let’s just have a laugh, okay?”
he was kinda quiet after that. again, i don’t know what kind of girls Crewe has been with in the past, but they probably never said that kind of stuff to him, and i think he was taken aback that i’d be the one saying that to him. i got the impression that he needed more time to think, so when we got to the hotel, i let him and Two-Crewe wander off together, and i went back up to my room to nap for a few hours.
a few hours later, the whole group met down in the lobby to head out to one final dinner together. i had felt that Crewe probably needed some space from me, so i tried to keep my distance from him during dinner. i didn’t even sit with Two-Crewe, Quiet Brit or Brit Model, like we all usually did. i sat at the other end of the table with the norwegians. i think Two-Crewe was taken aback by that, cuz i think he was expecting me to sit next to Crewe, and was going to vacate the spot next to him. but when i sat at the other end, Two-Crewe kinda went “oh okay” and slowly sat down.
throughout dinner, i noticed the two of them looking down the table at me a few times just to say one or two words to me, but i essentially kept quiet and pretended to be tired. i didn’t want to be a drain on anyone, and if Crewe was feeling awkward about things now, which there was no reason to, then i wasn’t going to pester him.
after dinner, Crewe looked at me down the table and said he was gonna go for a cigarette break. so i joined him outside. i sat there next to him outside the restaurant and tried to get him to look at me and talk to me, but instead he flagged down this guy on a motorbike to talk to him about this flashy shirt the guy was wearing, and then ask him about buying some ganja. so i looked away, not knowing what to do or say next.
when i looked back at Crewe, he was looking directly at me, leaning his face in, and then brushing his nose up against mine. and then we kissed, and i was thinking ‘FINALLY!’ i couldn’t understand all day where all this tension from him had come from, but with one snog that was all gone. as we walked back into the restaurant, Crewe wrapped his arms around my shoulders and kissed the top of my head. that felt nice.
after dinner, everyone went for a drink at this nearby bar. Crewe sat with me and we finally started to talk about us – he told me about the comment he had made to Two-Crewe waaay back in Delhi when he first met me that morning. i told him about that day in Mount Abu when i first started to fancy him. and then he went through every single person in the tour and told me what he thought about them.
then he kissed me right in front of the entire group. if the rest of them hadn’t been certain what was going on between Crewe and myself before, they all knew now. and i could feel dore’s sour eyes watching us, seething and scowling and just being a sour cunt.
then, as Crewe and i are smooching, the aussie girls suddenly interrupt us to do some odd move they called “Bend and Snap.” they whiped out their video cameras and made us all do it on camera. as Crewe and i walked away, he whispered to me, ‘what the hell was the point of that? why do they make us do this stuff?”
Crewe, Two-Crewe and i grew tired pretty quickly, so we said our goodnights to everyone and made a move to the exit. dore, then grasping at straws, started to literally beg Two-Crewe not to go, and kept whining for him to stay. Two-Crewe said to me when we finally got away that dore was really doing his head in with that bothersome nonesense.
back at the hotel, Two-Crewe, Crewe and I sat on the benches outside the lobby and had a chat. for one reason or another, we decided to tell each other what we thought of each other, since it was our last night all together.
Two-Crewe said that what he really liked about me was that i’ve always just been myself, unlike some other people on the tour whose true colours were revealed over time. he liked that i was opinionated and fun to be around. so i told Two-Crewe that i thought he was such a stand-up guy, really great to talk to and have long conversations with, and that his girlfriend back home was a lucky girl. i also said that i thought it was great that Two-Crewe and Crewe were such good mates that they could travel together for long periods of time and not get at each others throats.
i also turned to Crewe and said he’d have to now change his choice for “shag” outta shag, marry kill from our truth or dare game a week prior. he giggled.
so we said goodnight to Two-Crewe and went back up to my single room (good thing i was rid of boring Simone Irion by this point as a roommate, if i was still stuck with her, nothing really could have developed between Crewe and i.).
so what happened in my room that night . . . and later again the next morning . . . is also none of your beeswax, ta.
but i will regale you with one detail . . .at some point in the middle of the night, i was resting on Crewe’s chest and we were talking about us, and i made the comment that i wished he had told me he fancied me earlier on in the trip, because at least that way we would have had more time together.
and he said, “i thought you were out of my league.”
“you sell yourself short,” i responded.
so he said, “yeah, i think sometimes i lack confidence in myself.”
so i told him how, out of everyone in the group, i most admired him because he’s sweet and handsome and so fricken talented and not once lost his cool on the trip, when the rest of us were moody, stroppey cows. he needed to know that. and not think so poorly of himself.
i wrote in my journal later that, whatever girl in the future snags him will be a lucky girl.
anyway, so i’m dozing on his chest, when suddenly he pipes up again, “chrissy, i don’t know if i’m supposed to tell you this, and i’m sorry if this isn’t the right time…..”
and my head immediately shoots up and i look at him, dreading what he’s gonna say next – he doesn’t wanna see me again, he thinks i’m a dork, he has a girlfriend, this was all mistake…
but he doesn’t say that. he continues, ” . . . i’m really gonna miss you.”
and my heart just bursts.
i don’t know why he felt like he wasn’t “supposed” to tell me that, or that it was something i wouldn’t want to hear….but then i remembered that earlier in the night, i had had that “talk” with him about we’re probably not gonna be a couple, and that we should just have “a laugh.” so maybe he thought after that convo that i didn’t like him as much as he liked me. which was furthest from the truth.
so i looked up at him and said, “i’m really gonna miss you too. a lot.” and then leaned up to him and kissed him.
when i pulled away and smiled, he said, “you know, you’re so beautiful when you smile.”
and the rest of what we said to each other is none of your business.
the next morning, whenever he’d climb out of bed for whatever reason, i’d grab him and topple him back down on me. no you can’t get dressed. no you can’t go smoke a fag on the balcony. just stay here with me. i knew that we only had a few remaining hours before i had to go (i was continuing on the tour down in the kerala backwaters, while him and Two-Crewe were going off to China).
i finally allowed ourselves to get up, go down to a resto across from the hotel to have brekkie . . . but then suddenly our tour guide is yelling at me from across the street that the bus is here to drive me to the airport, and i had to rush back and grab my bags and say hurried goodbyes to everyone.
Crewe and Two-Crewe followed me back to the hotel. i said goodbye to everyone first, i wanted to leave him for last.
so then it was time to say bye to him.
we hugged and kissed . . .and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed. and hugged. then kissed more. and the car is honking at me to get inside already and everyone is yelling at me to hurry up and go already.
but i pull Crewe aside and say, “look, if i don’t see you again…”
“…what, have a good life?” he inserts a silly joke, and i’m like shutup, i’m trying to tell you something here!!!”
“if i don’t see you again, i just want you to know that i think you have a lot of special gifts. and i’d really like to know what it is you get up to in your life, because i think whatever you do, you’re going to be amazing at it.”
this look flashes across his face, don’t really know how to describe it. maybe i don’t want to, because that look was just for me. but he says, “i think the same about you. and i’ll be the first to buy your book when it comes out.”
i kiss and hug him some more, then run to the car, as it was the only way to get myself to separate from him. i sit in the back with a seething dore, who’s fuming at everything of course. close the door behind me. Crewe comes up to my window, and presses his lips against the window. i do the same, and we leave our lips marks behind on the glass.
the car speeds away. i hold my hand up to the glass. Crewe runs out on the street to wave. the car turns a corner.
and that was that.
so on the continuation of the tour down on the southern coast, where we hit up Kochin, Alleppey, Periyar, and Varkala, i met all these amazing new people, who were a helluva lot more mature and fun to be around. and you can see in the photos how much happier i am than in the previous tour. unfortunately, dore burhmann, timothy chan, simone irion, and the dane were also on the southern tour. but luckily, they made themselves scarce on the tour, realizing that they weren’t liked as much as i was by the new people. several of the new people even commented to me on the trip how the four of them were always whispering and rolling their eyes together, and the negative vibe they got from them. my new roomie was Shazza (that’s not technically her name, although that was my nickname for her!), and she also couldn’t be bothered with the four of them. on our last train ride from varkala back to kochin, she even switched train compartments to sit with me, just to get away from them.
i guess people who make it their business to hate on others are eventually found out for who they really are.
Brit Tech (ont he left) Brit Burn (on the right) and I. they were the coolest couple ever, such great travel companions, and so funny. we got along so well, it was like we became the 3 musketeers. i secretly wanted them to adopt me.
and then it was back to mumbai for the International Women Playwrights Conference, which was such an amazing time! i networked with a gazillion different women playwrights from canada and around the world, got to see some amazing theatre, hear panel discussions and talks on the role of women in theatre and drama, and i had a staged reading of my play.
so that was my indian experience.
any lessons learned?
yeah. after enduring all that childish petty bullshit, i like myself even more than before.
people may not like me for who i am. but all i can be is myself. and i like me.
for better or for worse, i’ve always just been myself, i’ve never changed. lots of people feel threatened by others who have achieved certain things in their life (be it career achievements, emotional-awareness and openness, intelligence, or even triumphs of the heart), and they lash out.
but those are their hangups. not mine. all of that hatred is just going to fester and rot inside them.
my heart is as open as the sky.
in case you missed it, here’s the video compilation i made which documents this trip i’ve just mentionned. enjoy!