Our office played “Secret Santa” this year. Everyone needs to pick a name of a colleague from a box then buy a Christmas present to that person below $20. With the person’s name attached, the present will be given to that colleague in the Christmas party and your identity will be kept secret.
This reminds me of the game “Secret Admirer” that we played in my Europe trip after graduation. That year we joined Topdeck to travel Central Europe. Boys drew a name of a girl and girls drew a name of a boy. During the trip we needed to act as the secret admirer to the person we picked. That year I was 23.
The girl I needed to admire secretly was M, she was from Australia – may be that’s a hint that I will move to this country many years later. Seeing my friends who were already taking actions, although I had no past experience in how to admire other person, I bought M some small gifts: a little perfume in France and a bottle of fruit punch in Italy. The most extreme was my first love poem written behind a Switzerland postcard:
Whenever I miss you
Stars fall down from the sky
So one day if you find the sky empty
Don’t blame me
It’s all your fault
You made me miss you so much
I spent 2 nights in writing this and even got goose bumps when I reread it.
With Topdeck, we travelled in a double decker bus during the day. In the evening we took turns to cook the dinner. We slept inside the bus at night – bunks in upper deck and lower deck was converted to provide sleeping space. It was a typical low budget tour for students. As we were always closed to each other, it’s sometimes a challenge to deliver the gifts without raising others’ suspicion. I luckily achieved the missions and M was pretty happy about the gifts including the poem.
All secret admirers were revealed in the final dinner of the trip. M was surprised to find out I was her secret admirer. But an unexpected twist was that she was also my secret admirer! Then things came clear to me. I understood why I was given double the food than my friends when she was responsible for the dinner; why she sat beside me when we were having the Swiss Fondue, she dropped her bread in the hot pot on purpose and kissed my cheek several times. The way she looked at me when we were planning to visit the red light district in Germany.
Both M and I were fascinated by the fact we were the secret admirer of each other. After dinner, we chatted about those things that we did to each other. Her face suddenly moved closer then our lips touched for a moment. My friends watched the scene, their eyes and mouths were wide opened. They asked me how it felt afterwards and I answered, “It’s sweet.” They became more jealous but they didn’t know what I really meant was it’s tasted sweet like sugar, I wondered what M ate or drank before.
M and I didn’t meet each other after the trip. May be the beauty of love is its ambiguous and uncertainty at the beginning – it would be better off being admired secretly by someone than actually to be with someone. But M, thank you for giving me the feeling of love in that trip. After these many years, I think I should tell you one embarrassing thing, “You stole my first kiss.”