L.A. Affairs

I thought I'd found the perfect guy. Until he replaced me.

I ran blindly out into the streets of Hollywood.

I just ran and ran.

"Where did I park?!" My mind raced, trying to remember. Tears obstructed my view, and the moments that had just transpired fogged my thoughts. "That jerk.... He can go to hell!"

Let's rewind a bit here. We met at a fashion event in Little Tokyo, downtown, where our eyes locked on each other from across the room. It was a scene straight out of a saccharine, unimaginative romantic comedy; in other words … it was perfect.

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His tall and slender frame was encased in a beat-up black leather jacket, and his dark eyes gleamed. Oozing charisma and confidence from his every pore, he cracked a wry smile at me. I was a goner.

Thus began two months of losing myself in his world.

Every pair of impractical high heels I bought, I wondered if he would appreciate my quirky fashion taste.

Every amusing moment that transpired for me, I couldn't wait to spin into a charming anecdote to entertain him.

Every time I went out with girlfriends, I made sure to post the most flattering photos on Facebook, hoping it would demonstrate to him what a catch I was.

Silly, foolish girl.

Of course I can say that now, but I digress.

Then came the transition that changed it all. "I'm going to San Francisco for business, and it'll be for a month total," he told me. "I'm breaking it up into two separate trips, so you'll see me in two weeks. It won't be too long, right?"

I felt the unease rise in my body like a slow wave about to crash onto shore. "I'll see ya in two weeks!" I chirped in a voice I didn't quite recognize. Meanwhile I could see the jagged rocks on the shoreline. Perhaps even then I knew what was to come.

Days passed before I heard from him. Warm relief coursed through my body as I answered his call. "Hey, I'm thinking about you. How are you?" I heard him say from far away.

"I'm good, How's San Francisco?" I asked, imploring my voice to sound upbeat.

"Listen, some plans shifted, and they need me to stay the full month here," he said. "But, we'll stay in touch and I'll see you when I get back, right?"

Two weeks. Three weeks. Four weeks later. I hadn't heard from him since that phone call, and as the days passed, a stubborn sense of pride took over. "Why don't you just call him? Maybe he's just really busy," my friends suggested. "No," I said. "If he wants to talk to me, he should reach out to me."

Of course, that didn't stop me from Facebook-stalking him, looking for clues. And then … there it was. His status update.

"Hello LA! I'm back!" it read. The proverbial writing was on the Facebook wall. I threw on some clothes, swiped on some lipstick and flew out the door.

And so, there I stood, facing his house. His car was parked in his driveway, proof that, yup, he was home. Did he miss me? Why didn't he call? I mean, I was his girlfriend, right? After all, I had already met his large Italian American family. All his friends. He had taken me on a weekend "staycation" aboard the majestic Queen Mary in Long Beach. We had shared tawdry inside jokes, contented nights in with pizza and '80s movies and spoke passionately about our prized record collections while traipsing through the aisles at Amoeba.

All of these things meant something, right? As I walked up to his front door, I peeked inside his car. Suddenly, I felt all my insecurities subside. There on his passenger seat was an 8-by-10, black-and-white, glossy photograph. I didn't recognize the man in the photo — perhaps he was some obscure '80s actor? — but what got my attention was what was written on this photo. "To Grace. Thanks for being awesome!"

My heart swelled. Yes he had failed to keep in touch … but he had thought of me. Enough to give me a little gift from his travels. I rang the doorbell expectantly.

So imagine my surprise when a woman answered the door. Taken aback, I took in the sight of this unassuming, nondescript, portly little female before me, who was also Asian. She smiled vapidly at me, almost welcoming. Surely, she must be the new roommate who had just moved in.

"Hi," I said hesitantly, "Is Michael home?" "Yeah, he's here, he's just resting from getting back. He got sick from traveling."

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Ahh, so she must be the new roommate. Just looking out for his well being …

"Oh, OK. Did you just move in?" I asked.

"Oh, no, I'm just visiting from San Francisco," she said sheepishly, almost blushing.

"OK, well, I'm coming in to check on him. Oh, and by the way, I'm Grace." I extended my hand.

The vacant smile slowly dissipated from her face. She blinked once. Then again, before replying.

"Hi. I'm Grace too."

Chan is a talent agent at work on a book of essays.

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. We pay $300 a column. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 27, 2016, in the Features section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "They were off and running" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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