I met my soulmate in Bangkok. The first time I laid eyes on him I felt a distinct yet subtle fluttering in my heart. Having been in love twice before, I knew this was different.
My first love was in college. It was equal parts lust and volatility. Over time it fizzled. Three years later I fell in love again, this time with a man some friends had set me up with. We dated for almost four years before realizing that my love of travel and adventure, and his love of all things sports and being a homebody, would never work. It broke my heart to move on and it took two years to heal.
In turn, when I locked eyes with the man who caused my heart to flutter I did not trust myself. It had been five years since I had last been in a committed relationship. Although I had dated, nothing ever seemed to work out. There was no spark or sense of connection, so I remained single.
I continued to travel and chalked up my sense of seeking adventure to no man being interested in a woman who wrote, taught, and lived all over the world. At the time, most of the people I knew got married and settled down in one place, usually an American suburb or small city. The couples I knew who were married and traveled, were the ones in books I had aspired to except I did not know any of those people personally and I was not in a relationship.
When I locked eyes with the tall, skinny, Indian however, everything changed. I did not initially find him physically attractive, but I was drawn to his intelligence and I felt like we had met before. It was more of a knowing than a feeling. The flutter in my heart awakened all the emotions I had thought were gone forever. We became friends through my meetup group, which I created to bring people together to practice English, and because I wanted to make friends.
I did not want to be the American who mingled with other English speakers, but rather, I wanted to meet people from all cultures and backgrounds. My one requirement to join the group was that English could not be their first language.
The meetup was a resounding success. After six months I had eight-hundred members, of which, over ninety-percent were active. After eighteen months, I had close to two-thousand people in the group.
I had planned a lunch date at BKK Home 24 on Sukhumvit in Phrom Phong. It was a minute walk from the BTS (Bangkok Transit System) and a five-minute walk from my condo. It was the perfect location to host a small group of eight, however, on that day, twelve showed up, my soulmate included. I introduced myself as the organizer, and he, as a logistics manager for a well-known company in the city. He had lived in Bangkok for over seven years.
One meet up turned into many, which turned into outings with friends, lunches, dinners, phone calls and lots of texting. What began as strangers became a strong friendship and somewhere in the middle, I fell in love with him.
It was unlike any relationship I have had from past to present. Aside from the occasional brushing of hands, we never touched or kissed. When we were together he touted the benefits of taking writing classes with me to new members. When we were out and about the city, he held my bags, purse, and anything else that might be in my hands.
We shared a multitude of soft looks, smiles, and private jokes. We did not fill the gaps of silence with needless chatter, we just let it be. He was my rock of strength and peace, while I was the outgoing networker, the bringer together of people and friends. We had a peaceful understanding that comes with knowing someone and being content with quietude.
I had yet however, to tell him how I felt. I could never seem to find the right moment and at other times I was unable to tell if he felt the same. I was scared. I had opened my heart for the first time in years and allowed myself to feel things I did not know were possible.
Then one day I took the plunge. Rain threatened to overwhelm the city as we hurried through the cart-filled streets where vendors sold some of the best street food in Bangkok. Ducking under an umbrella, we pulled out low plastic stools and sat down. This is when everything slowed down. Whenever I have recalled that day in my mind, everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
We ordered food. Fried soy triangles with peanut sauce, traditional pad Thai for me and pad-see-ew for him. Both of us drinking water poured from a plastic pitcher into child-sized cups, making small talk, but ignoring the elephant between us. In a moment of silence, I blurted, “I love you.” He froze. Time stood still. My heart pounded in my chest. I prepared myself for the best and worst at the same time.
He told me that I was mistaken.
I cannot remember the exact moment I knew I loved him. Maybe it was love at first sight and I needed time to trust again. I knew for certain however, that I did love him, and I had never wanted to be with anyone more. I was willing to wait because he was worth it.
He explained that we were not meant to be together. We were from two different cultures and backgrounds. I explained that rules and traditions could be broken if the bond was strong enough and both people were willing to work together. He then told me that his mother would never consent to marriage with a non-Indian. I was frustrated but not ready to give up.
I had been offered a teaching position in the Middle East, of which he was familiar, but I wanted him to understand that I could turn it down and stay in Thailand. He shook his head and told me to accept it as it would help my career. I asked him to come with me knowing he would turn me down.
He stated that his mother was elderly and that he wanted to stay in Thailand, so he could fly back and forth to India. I stated that I’m a teacher and writer. I can live anywhere.
His final thought on the matter? “My mother gave birth to me. I cannot disrespect her.”
A few weeks later I signed a contract to move to Saudi Arabia. I left Thailand with a broken heart. That was three years ago and during that time I held out hope that he would change his mind. We have remained friends but with time and distance, it is difficult to maintain contact even with social media.
As of the date of this article, he is still single and I hope that he will find someone to love and who will love him back.
As for myself, I am holding out hope that I will meet someone and be able to love again.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have a story to tell about your soulmate or a love lost? If you are feeling brave, I would love to hear from you. You can also send me a private message. I don’t allow haters and trolls so you never have to worry about sharing your thoughts.
Any grammar and mechanical issues are the responsibility of the author, and even though she’s an English teacher and does proofread, there may be some errors.