That one night in Shanghai

There’s this one night in Shanghai, that for awhile when I thought about it, sent chills down my spine. He was handsome, tall and surprisingly funny.

I was late for dinner. It was a casual night with two of his friends. When I sat down to join them, he informed me that one of his friends only spoke Chinese. Sure, I can hack that. So we chitchatted, codeswitching every now and then. Til finally he told me that his friend can actually understand us in English and Filipino! I was mortified! I squeezed his knee so hard. He paid for my dinner as a sorry gesture.

We talked while walking. And if my signals were spot on, I believe he flirted with me a few times. At the club, we danced for awhile. He grabbed my hands while dancing but I felt weird so I dropped it. The night went on and we danced with other people.

After awhile, I stood at the side just watching the crowd. He came by my side and asked if I was ok. I lightly leaned my head on his shoulder and said I was tired. And with the sudden gush of the crowds, we were squeezed tightly. I took his hand around my waist and he held me. We were wrapped in an embrace. It’s that typical scene when your heart feels like it’s about to burst and you’d like nothing more than to pause this moment forever.

I must have played that scene in my mind a thousand times.

I saw him briefly the next day. We talked on the phone a few times. Texted a few. But that was it. I flew back to Manila and he remained in Shanghai. Six months after, as destiny would have it, I saw him again in Manila, in church, serendipitously sitting at the same row I was.

He already has a girlfriend, I learned at dinner before the church activity he invited me to. I almost dropped the chopsticks in my hand.

“For how long now?”

“Six months.”

You do the math.

I was crushed. Heart shattering into a million pieces.

I asked God, why? WHY?! Why even bring him back to my life now?!

This story doesn’t completely have a sad ending.

When I got back to Manila, I wanted to join a bible study class because he was doing it. One of the phrases I commonly use, I heard him say: Where the Lord leads, I will follow. I was surprised to meet a man who had the humility to know that he needed God. I thought, here’s a man I could respect. That’s when I knew I wanted a godly husband for myself.

I believe God used him to water the seed in me. Not for the purposes of introducing me to my future mate but to lead me to Him.

That one night impacted me for eternity. It does have a happy ending. My heart broke but Christ picked up the pieces…every last one of them.

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