Hiding our love and a romantic morning walk

Washing clothes at the river

Washing clothes at the river

Shortly before spring festival 2012 my company goes to the countryside. We visit Cengcheng, a small village not far from Shenzhen. Y and I have avoided being seen together too often by our co-workers except for lunch which we usually have together. On the bus that takes us to Cengcheng, we sit right next to each other. When some co-workers enter the bus, they give Y a high-five. Many of them think that he is chasing after me without us being together yet. Although the engagement ring that Y has bought for me in Hong Kong and which now decorates my finger seems to sparkle and scream engaged for everyone to hear, nobody seems to have noticed.

Cengcheng is located in quite a romantic setting and it’s hard for me to stay away from Y. It would be a nice place to spend your honeymoon in China.

After dinner, all the employees gather on the second floor of the restaurant where our boss holds a talk and we play some games. After that, we watch the fireworks. And after that, everyone is free to do whatever they want to do. For most people, this means drinking alcohol and playing cards or Majiang. Since it was a crazy week, Y and I decide to get back to our separate rooms, which we both share with another person.

We send each other text messages, not sure if we should dare to take a walk together. We decide against it. I watch TV, which is a very rare occasion, and decide to go to bed early. When I’m just about to fall asleep, somebody knocks on my door. I ignore the knocking but can’t get to sleep because of the noise of drunk co-workers who run around outside. A bit later, another knock. I hear the voice of our supervisor who wants me to open the door. He’s the same age as Y, only a few years older than me. He must be drunk already, because he usually doesn’t actively talk to me. I get up slowly but when I open the door, he’s already gone. When I go back to bed, I receive a message from Y, saying that they want him to go to my room. They want to create an opportunity for us. I laugh, thinking that when they are drunk it seems like they are only in their teens. A while later into the night the noise outside quiets down and I am finally able to fall asleep.

I wake up early the next morning. When I switch on my phone, I receive a message from Y asking me if I want to go for a walk. A few minutes later, we meet outside. We walk to the nearby river and while the sun rises we watch our bus driver fish. Some women from the village wash clothes in the river. Y tells me that this is how they used to wash clothes when he was still little. The laundry soap they used was made from plants, so it wouldn’t contaminate the river. The women say washing clothes like this is hard work, not only do you need a lot of strength, but also is the water of the river really cold. When they get up to go back home and prepare breakfast, Y and I go for a walk. We hold hands and take pictures of the beautiful countryside. For a while, it’s just me and Y. When it’s time for breakfast we go back to the hotel.

After breakfast we go for another walk, albeit this time without holding hands. We walk into a nearby forest and find a clearance where I climb on a tree and we kiss. A bit later we go to the bus that takes us back to Shenzhen.

Have you ever had to hide your love? I’d love to read your stories.

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