reading time: 5 minutes
Foreword by Travis Knight:
I met W. Li-Ting amidst the chaos of The Court Tour; back in 2015. I was merely at my first stop—the tour was young—which required my attendance in Long Beach, CA. Since I was in town, a dear friend of mine wanted to meet me at the local Roscoe’s House of Chicken. He had just recently fallen in love and wanted to introduce me to the one who had stolen his heart. Honestly, I was not too intrigued; my friend had a consistent habit of dating dummies.
However, surprise greatly confronted me when I met W. Li-Ting; a free and wild spirit who eloquently spoke with a level of enthusiasm that could bring any social situation out of its shell. Knowing that this woman made my brother happy certainly brought my spirits up; but selfishly, I was stoked that my friend finally found a girl who I DIDN’T think was an idiot. Being the third wheel is one thing, but when that wheel rusts with disgust, it is quite another.
Over time, I became a huge fan of Miss Li-Ting’s writing. With a unique, conversational prose, Li–as we call her–could bring a minute experience–almost unseen to most–and pack it into an engaging plot; she could write about nothing, and turn it into something; the true craft behind literature.
Ironically, “My Rock” is about the day she met my dear friend, and like all of her stories, Li splices the power of simplicity with fun-to-read, diligent diction. So, I invite you to enjoy this powerfully delivered short story by W. Li-Ting; a beautiful love tale that maintains the ruggedness of reality.
Written By: W. Li-Ting
I remember when I first met him; I thought he was gay. He moved his hands around a bunch and he was slightly annoying, too. He spoke loudly, and also was distracted easily. He’s still like this today.
I grew to know him a little better after our first encounter. I was busy with life, working seven days a week, working arduously to leave my parents’ house because… well, should you be living home at 22 anyways? He was supportive all throughout my complaints and whiny rants. Actually, through it all, he still wanted to talk to me. He listened to my dreams and what I wanted in life. It wasn’t even three months later after I had a nasty breakup and was through with boys, he asked to hang out at our local park. I was tentative and thought: What’s the harm in hanging out?
“It wasn’t him that I found attractive in the beginning, but his journey.”
Apparently, a lot. Apparently, the harm done meant sleeping over at his place after our manager managed to keep us hanging out all evening; well into the early morning, in fact. I sorely regretted the following morning when he escorted me to the ferry to get home. I didn’t regret getting to know him. His story was one in a million. I was in awe as we laid out on a picnic blanket, overlooking the city the previous day, as he told me about his ex, his mom, his dad; essentially, his life story. What a human being. What a person. What a man. It wasn’t him that I found attractive in the beginning, but his journey.
Getting back to work after that was tricky. There was a lot of dodging, avoiding, and “sorry I’m busy” going around, until one day he approached me with a vehement, “WE NEED TO HANG OUT AGAIN!”
“But I knew he was the only one I was really intrigued with.”
So we did. We saw a movie on my side of town. He tried to grasp my hand and wrap his arm around my neck (did I forget to tell you, dear reader, that I figured out he wasn’t gay after our first night together..? Oops). I tried to wrangle myself out of each knot and still, he fervidly came back at me with, “What is going on?”
Truth is, I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew that I couldn’t do it again–the relationship thing. Especially with someone who I worked with. So, we stayed in that weird area of friendship, but I knew he was the only one I was really intrigued with. And him, I.
It wasn’t until the end of Summer–the last day of August–that I decided we would all go to the art show where he was presenting at with his friend (no, the job I met him at definitely wasn’t his passion— THIS was). I remember meeting his parents–they were all so kind–and being thoroughly embarrassed to not know what to call him, or what to be introduced as. (By the way, I was introduced as “…Erg, this is Li”). I also remember the day after that evening, when I started to call him my boyfriend.
“…now all we know is we love each other too much to ever let go.”
We haven’t exactly run a tight ship since then. I left the country, he went to Hawaii, I came back, he came back. I said I was moving down south, he followed, we cheated on one another, we broke up, we got back together not even 28 days later, moved down the street from one another, had a bumpy ride, moved further away, became inseparable, and now all we know is that we love each other too much to ever let go.
“Even when you’re on the suicide hotline and they decide you’re important enough–loved enough–to be with.”
I think life is a journey.
It’s a journey, a Ferris wheel that doesn’t ever pause or stop. New people hop on and old people hop off.
He is my person. I want to spend every Christmas, New Year, birthday, and inconsequential day with him. I love him down to my core, and nobody and nothing could ever take that away from me…
I’m 27 years old now. What’s more important than lust or “having a boyfriend”/“girlfriend” (I’ve had both) is having someone who will always be there for you—who will have your back—who will come home even when it’s pouring out and you’re in the dumps. Even when you’re on the suicide hotline and that someone decides that you’re important enough–loved enough–to be with.
I thank the forces that brought him into my life.
I thank him for being my rock.