The other day I bought two sofa pillows from the Lane Crawford in Pacific Place Mall to match the two I got last month. Like the original pair, I got them at a great discount. I’m normally a spend-thrift, but recession sales make spending money fun. At least at first.

Of course, the hunt for a good sale is always fun. It’s a game, especially when you have some middle-age bitch on your ass, or some slick shithead eying the shirt you’re holding. Clutching the shopping bag as I stroll past said bitch or shithead is empowering. It says, “I beat you.” It also says, “I’m a pathetic loser.”

You see, lately I’ve been feeling like a sissy, a fraud and a loser. I’m gay, not a sissy. I hate phonies. And I never play a game to lose. But here I am in Hong Kong after several months of treading water in Tokyo, hanging out with my sister in Houston, and staying with friends in New York.

Hong Kong is where I wanted to end up, after all, if my partner had to remain in Asia for work. I prayed for this city. I lit candles. I lobbied for this city over Singapore. “We can be sent to jail for up to ten years in Singapore because we’re gay!” I yelled. “Do you want our blood on your hands!?”

“Things will be different in Hong Kong.” I assured my partner.

“It’ll be easier for me to find a real job in Hong Kong.” I said.

“You won’t have to see me mopey or manic anymore!” I shouted.

And for the first two months, I busied myself finding our apartment, decorating the rooms, putting out fires, and playing the role of errand boy and housewife while my partner went to work. I’d go to the gym in the morning, pre-clean before the housekeeper arrived, go to the post office, read New Yorker Magazine, plan for the weekend, and yes, go shopping for sofa pillow covers.

Then January came along and I busied myself looking for a job. It should be easy! After all, daily life in Hong Kong is much easier than it was in Tokyo, and English IS the official language here. And you know what? I was right. Finding a job was easy. I’ve been to three interviews and been offered two jobs (I cut the third interview short because I didn’t like where things were going).

Is it a “real” job? I don’t know. I know that I want to secure a work visa sooner rather than later. I know that I’ll get to teach English to local children like I wanted. I know that if I accept the job offer, I’ll work part-time first, and then full-time in the fall.

But what if i don’t like the job? What if it’s terrible like the job I had “teaching English” to middle-school students in Tokyo?

Me in working-class, suburban Tokyo, reading from the standard-issue English textbook, “Hello class! My name is Ken. I have no balls in Japan. Have you seen my balls?”

I shit you not, I actually had to read crap like that in front of alternating boy/girl rows of uniformed Japanese students. Good times!

After getting burned with those horrible jobs in Tokyo, I’m scared that I’ll hate my job in Hong Kong. I’m afraid that I’ll say, “No dice, Chicago.” and walk away.

And when I think of that, I feel like a loser. Of course you can walk away, you don’t need the money (you just need that damn visa!). It would be easier if my relationship with my partner were seen as legitimate. Then I’d get a spouse visa. But we’ve been down this road before. When God gives you lemons, you make a goddamn vodka lemonade. And none of this Stoli bullshit, Grey Goose all the way, Baby.

And what if I do walk away? I’ll be that “wife” again, the one I don’t want to be. The one who waits for his “husband” to come home from work. The one who tries to make him a good meal. The one who hopes he’s happy with the pillows he’s bought for the sofa.  The one who, once again, will have to dance the visa lambada with immigration officials.

I’d better like my new job, or learn to like it.  I don’t want to get stuck in another, small, windowless interrogation room at the airport being pummeled with questions from a squat, feisty asshole in navy-blue, polyester slacks.

“Why you here!?  Why you come!!??  What you do!!!???”

Sometimes, I wish I knew.

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