As we mill about in the arrival terminal of LAX, a pitiful looking man is doing his best to drum up something to talk about with a woman standing nearby.
‘So…are you… do you like Tuesdays?’ he is very literally asking. ‘Or maybe you’re more of a Wednesday person..?
Here’s what’s going on.
Inspired by recent rom-com mega hit Nights on the South China Sea, one Hong Kong resident realised with a start that true love had been ‘right under his nose this whole time’.
With his heart aflame, Cecil Winston bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, the home of the woman he now knows is his ‘kindred soul-spark’.
We caught up with Cecil in Tokyo, where he was waiting through a grueling eleven-hour layover. ‘No worries, though,’ he confided in us. ‘Once something like this happens to you, you’ll do anything.’
What’s this, we ask?
‘True love, mate,’ he replied. ‘It’s like, everything about this girl – I mean, she’s gorgeous, she’s just.. there’s that thing she does when she’s talking, then how she ties her shoes – mate, she’s everything.’ His eyes were lit like fireflies on a peaceful summer night, or stars whispering over the sea so as not to wake the sleeping moon.
‘I just can’t believe I missed her this whole time.’
When asked what exactly it was that set the dry tinder of his affection ablaze, he mentioned a scene about butterflies he’d seen in the movie. ‘So there were the butterflies, right, then there was the time we saw the butterflies in that advert together, in the MTR, before she left town, and then there were the butterflies in my stomach, and I just knew.’
Before we could stop him, he started talking again. ‘I’ve always loved butterflies, their wings and colours and all that. Now I’m thinking – no, now I know – all that, it was all just a precursor to her. All the butterflies and sunsets and flowers and everything I ever thought was beautiful – it was all just a preview of this, how I’d someday feel for her.
‘She’s my butterfly-sunset-flower.’ As we pondered having actually heard that comment aloud, Cecil started up his media system, quickly flicking to the Romance Movies section. Meanwhile, we drifted off to sleep, and, mercifully, didn’t wake till landing.
We walked together to Arrivals at Cecil’s behest, that he may tell us more about the love of his heart, and what she may do when she sees him. ‘I bet she just cries. I mean, I’ll be crying. I bet bystanders will get misty. Airports, right??’
The moment approached. As we rounded the bend, Cecil’s eyes went watery, and he whispered, ‘There she is.’ A woman stood on the front edge of the welcome crowd. When she saw us, she waved. Cecil’s walk slowed to nearly a crawl, like he was dragging his feet through shallow, and deepening, quicksand.
Finally, we were there.
‘Hey,’ she said.
“Sheila-I-love-you.’ Cecil breathed out.
‘What?’ replied the woman, looking the slightest bit shocked.
‘You’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of and we’re perfect for each other and I love you.’
‘I… you texted me that you were… what? I thought you were just….’
‘No, no layover. I just needed to tell you. I. Love. You.’
The silence was substantial, and we were running late, but at this point, we had to see how things would turn out.
‘Cecil, I’m pretty sure we hung out, like, one time.’
‘It was enough.’
‘Do you… do you even know my last name?’
‘Did the Greeks know the name of Aphrodite? The Romans of Venus? Of course I – ‘
The girl sighed.
‘You’re my sunset-butterflower,’ Cecil told her.
‘What?? What the – listen, Cecil, I was thinking we’d just grab a coffee… the traffic was crazy, just so you know… but… this is a bit weird.’
‘Give me five minutes. Five minutes to win your heart.’ Cecil told her, determination evident in his voice. ‘I know this is meant to be.’
Then blanched again.
‘So…are you… do you like Tuesdays?’
Four minutes of the most excruciating awkwardness we have ever experienced then followed. At one point Cecil was discussing the rules of rugby, which was followed by a description of his Ultimate Team in FIFA, after which he asked after her pet dog, who Sheila said was actually a cat who had recently been run over by a car. Cecil responded to this unfortunate news with a vague description of the impact of the airplane food on his bowels.
After this torture, Cecil looked at his watch. ‘Well. I guess I’ll… I should probably be getting back to Hong Kong. Long flight, haha! Probably a long line to go stand in. Need to buy a ticket! Month’s pay, hah!’
Sheila nods, gives him a little awkward wave, and turns to leave. She doesn’t make it more than ten paces.
‘Sheila!’ Cecil shouts.
‘Yes?’ She turns around.
‘I just wanted to tell you…. I’d maybe avoid the 405. My friends tell me it’s just the worst at rush hour.’
‘Ah. Uh. Yeah. Thanks.’
Cecil smiles and turns to us. The look on our face must not be dissimilar to that of someone who’s just seen a cartoon boat full of puppies get struck by a meteorite.
‘Well, really dodged a bullet there, hey,’ he says, chuckling. ‘She’s so boring!’