Cost of a free trip
On the plane to Kona, I started to feel anxious. I could play the role of a fun girl for the duration of a dinner or a 30 minutes chat in my dorm room, but I felt dread about spending four days in that persona. It’d be too much alone time with someone I didn’t know well or wasn’t even sure if I liked.
The hotel was like a theme park. We got on the monorail that took us to the building of our room. It slowly went through the well-trimmed jungle-like garden where pink flamingos danced. There was a pond edged by palm trees, a waterfall flowing into it. There were swimming pools and bars and restaurants, and I could see the real ocean over the garden.
The room only had a king-size bed. As I looked at it uncomfortably, Martin said he tried to change it but couldn’t. I couldn’t sleep that night, folding myself small on the edge of the bed. The bed was huge, and there was enough space between me and Martin, who was fast asleep. I felt lonely and said with the stress of fake intimacy in the plush bedding of a gorgeous hotel.
The next morning, I told him that I’d catch up with him at the pool. After he left, I found a folded paper on the carpeted floor when I walked toward the bathroom. As I unfolded it, I was unable to read German but recognized from the illustration that it was the instruction for condoms. There had never been romantic words exchanged between us, and Martin was clear that he only needed good company for the trip. Still, it was creepy if he had dropped the hint of his intention by accident, but even creepier if he placed it on the floor on purpose. I was revolted by his scheme and feared how I could avoid his attempt to have sex with me. And there was one reaction I could muster, which was to avoid him as much as I could.
For the rest of the trip, I spent time alone except for inevitable dinners. The hotel was so big that I didn’t have to run into him all day. I lay on the artificial beach or swam in the swimming pool during the day, and had a drink at a bar in the evenings. Martin was glum, but he didn’t confront me. We spent the rest of the trip in silence and came home that way.
Martin never visited me in my room again. I heard later from the Taiwanese girl, who had become his confidant, that he said he hated Japanese girls. I felt guilty for other Japanese girls to have established a bad rep for the collective, but I couldn’t possibly mend the friendship with Martin.
Clare and Maya just gave me a vague frozen smile about the trip, but others were more direct about their judgemental views, that I shouldn’t have gone on the trip without providing him sex in return. They said that by accepting his offer, I implicitly agreed to sleep with him. Therefore, I was a horrible person to take advantage of Martin’s kindness and his family’s wealth. I thought such an opinion was nonsense. My body was not a commodity that could be exchanged with another commodity. I would have had sex with him if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to. I wish I could have dealt with the situation by having a conversation, but neither of us was capable of such a resolution. Should I have never taken the offer? Probably, but I was 21 years old and had never been to Hawaii. I wasn’t a saint.