I was studying in my room when Martin came in. He was one of the international students from Germany and lived in the same dorm. I was a little surprised to receive his visit because I had hardly talked to him before. He was a part of the European clan and had hooked up with the French girl by the 3rd day, but I didn’t see them together by the end of September.
He stood at the door threshold and commended how we decorated the room. Then he came in and sat on my roommate’s chair. We chatted for a while, and he left. He came back again a week later. As the visit became more frequent, we became friends. I didn’t think he was particularly attracted to me. He just looked lonely and wanted company since the Europeans seemed to have dispersed to make smaller groups or blended in with Americans.
For the autumn break in October, Hiro, Maya, and I decided to go to San Francisco. Martin and Ethan, the student from the Philipinnes, were arriving there earlier, so we made a plan to meet up in the city. Martin picked us up at the hotel and drove us around in a rented car. We went over the Golden Gate Bridge, then drove down to Palo Alto to check out Stanford University.
On the evening of the last day of our stay, Maya and I wanted to go out in downtown San Francisco. Marcus was up for the idea, and in our excitement, we decided to have a fancy dinner. Hiro and Ethan backed off as they were understandably reluctant to spend money on an extravagant meal. Martin made a reservation for a restaurant, and we planned to meet at the Westin Hotel. I had brought a black cardigan and a skirt, and Maya put on a black dress. We left Hiro at the hotel and waited for Martin in the lobby of the Westin Hotel. He walked in fashionably late and in an Armani suit he bought that day. (Later that evening, his feet hurt in new shoes, which he blamed the American shoemaker.) He was tall and had a swimmer body, and looked quite dapper in the Italian suit. He sat down next to us with mirth, absorbing the Pretty Woman-like surroundings. “This is so great,” he exclaimed, not at us but himself.
At the Italian restaurant of Martin’s choice, he escorted us like a gentleman. He ordered a bottle of Chablis, which was dry and chilled, and tasted absolutely heavenly. As the conversation developed, he asked us our first impression of him. I don’t remember what I said, but whatever it was, I must have played it well because he looked pleased. In his turn, his comment about Maya made us laugh. Then he turned to me and said, “You! I thought you were so elegant, very sure of yourself…” etc. I didn’t believe him because he acted like Japanese students were invisible, but I smiled and thanked him with a clink of my glass on his.