Lost in Taipei: Chapter 20

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lost in taipei chapter 20
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A Familiar Face from Home

During his lunch break, Charlie couldn’t shake off this nagging feeling about the mysterious note, so he decided to connect with his best friend and talk to a familiar face, Maya, back in New York City for a much-needed check-in. 

With Maya, Charlie knew that she would always provide valuable insights. Plus, he missed his genuine conversations with her, free from any pretense, where they could discuss anything.

With his phone in hand, Charlie dialed Maya’s number and waited anxiously for her to answer. As her face appeared on the screen, Charlie couldn’t help but smile.

“Maya, how are you? I hope it is not too late to call you,” Charlie began, his excitement visible. 

Maya’s warm smile radiated through the call. “Charlie, my dear. I’ve missed you. How’s your trip been? Have you fulfilled your plans about your mom’s ashes?”

Standing on his office’s rooftop deck, gazing at the breathtaking Taipei skyline, Charlie cherished this conversation with Maya. Without delay, he shared a concise update on his work, his intentions for his mom’s ashes, and his recent adventures in Taipei.

Charlie then shared his tale of the mysterious note with Maya, the chance meeting with Ming and Peng, and the lingering questions that filled his thoughts. 

Maya listened with riveted attention, her eyes shining with interest. “Tell me more about your friends. Let’s start with Ming. What’s he like?”

From their faithful encounter on the busy street, Charlie told Maya about how he met Ming, his experiences with Ming at the industry party, and their brief connection about life philosophies over drinks and conversations. 

“He’s kind, Maya, and genuine,” Charlie said, his voice filled with comfort. “He’s been there when I needed a lift and even surprised me with my favorite coffee. I feel easy around him, like I can be myself.”

Maya nodded thoughtfully. “That sounds wonderful, Charlie. And what about Peng? What’s the deal with him?”

Charlie’s expression grew more complex as he delved into his interactions with Peng. He recounted the drama at breakfast, Peng’s assertive personality, and the tension that seemed to follow him like a shadow.

“Peng is… intense,” Charlie admitted, choosing his words carefully. “He’s confident and assertive, which can be admirable and overwhelming. I’m not sure I understand him entirely, but something is intriguing about him.”

Maya raised an eyebrow. “So, you’re telling me that you’ve got Ming, the kind and comfortable choice, and Peng, who’s intense and showy. Quite the dichotomy, Charlie.”

Charlie sighed softly, his emotions whirling with uncertainty and confusion as he contemplated Maya’s perceptive words. “You know, Maya, I never anticipated meeting Ming and Peng during this trip. And honestly, the idea of starting a relationship in a new city, knowing I won’t be staying in Taiwan permanently, feels almost absurd and entirely unrealistic.”

Maya nodded understandingly. “Charlie, it’s normal to have mixed feelings in a situation like this. Just keep in mind that it’s okay to explore the connections you’re forming without feeling pressured to commit to a specific outcome. Sometimes, the most beautiful moments happen when we least expect them.”

Charlie laughed softly, appreciating Maya’s unwavering support and wisdom. “Maybe you’re right, Maya. I do tend to overthink things; it’s just in my nature. I suppose Alex’s impact on me has left me second-guessing everything about relationships.”

“Alex, your ex? Charlie, you’ve got to stop dwelling on the past and start living in the present. Given everything you’ve been through, there’s no harm in pursuing these opportunities and allowing yourself to indulge in your dreams or fantasies for a while. I mean, the possibilities of two guys interested in you? Come on, Charlie,” Maya winked.

Charlie and Maya continued their talk for a while. Their physical distance was irrelevant in the face of their unbreakable connection.

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