Tinder Tailor Soldier Spy (Part 6)

23 Apr

Chapter 10: Catching Lies

10.1 The Canada Conversation

Jayson had been busy at work the past week. This time around, he had to travel to Mindanao. He told me that he’d be back on Saturday but he wasn’t sure yet if he could meet me. He told me to wait for his text though, and that he’d try as much as he could to finish work early.

I have to debrief my team as soon as we come back, but I guess we will be done by noon.

Debrief your team?

I mean we still need to talk about work. Sorry.

Jayson mistook my question as me not knowing what debriefing was. When in fact I knew exactly what it meant, and in fact, I was asking him to explain to me why he was using a term that I only typically hear in action movies. But I didn’t pursue the topic. I left it at that.

Anyway, we did see each other that Saturday. I was in Greenbelt by 11am but he finished “debriefing his team” around 1pm. I didn’t mind. I could always amuse myself. I enjoyed a solo karaoke session before he finally arrived to get me. We grabbed a quick bite at Mary Grace, and then we walked around Makati for a while.

In the midst of our stroll, I got caught up with something that I do not remember anymore now, but that thing I was doing made me let go of Jayson’s hand for a while, while he kept roaming around. We might have been physically separated at that moment, but I could still see and hear him from a distance.

Then there was a foreign guy and a Filipina who came to the same spot where Jayson was standing by. Just like us, they were on a date too. They were taking photos together, changing poses upon the instructions of the girl, trying out various angles, albeit never ever getting the perfect shot. Jayson offered to take their picture for them, and the couple appreciated that.

Thanks, man! Appreciate it! The foreigner said as he shook Jayson’s hand.

No problem! Jayson responded. And they exchanged some cordial words. He was ready to come to me when suddenly the foreigner casually asked:

What country you from?

I’m from Canada. And you?

The foreigner either said UK or Australia. But I didn’t really care about where he was from. All I cared about was what I accidentally heard Jayson say. When the couple had left, I walked back to where Jayson was, and blurted out:

Canada?

Jayson pretended not to have heard what I said.

Why’d you tell the foreign guy you’re from Canada? I prodded.

He’s a stranger. He doesn’t have to know everything about me.

I am generally a confrontational person, but with Jayson I seemed to be holding back a lot. My gut was telling me to keep quiet for now, to gather more clues that Jayson had been dropping once in a while, whether intentionally or not. I am not stupid not to form theories of my own based on what I knew so far. But annoyingly enough, Jayson kept assuming I was a typical girl who didn’t over-analyze.

The Canada conversation I had with Jayson happened two years ago, around the last week of February of 2016 to be exact.

Well, I think it is soooo worth sharing with you guys that recently (2018), I bought a book entitled “Overworld” which is a memoir (true-to-life account) of a reluctant CIA Operative in the name of Larry Kolb. There was a portion there that really blew my mind — the part where his father, a seasoned intelligence officer, was giving him practical advice before he travels to another country for a job:

P_20180423_162953_1.jpg

Coincidence? You be the judge.

_________________________

10.2. Jayson’s Tattoo

I’d be lying if I say that I had never set foot on Jayson’s flat. At this point, I had already spent enough time with Jayson to finally see him in the rare occasion where he was not wearing his usual branded shirt and baseball cap.

Jayson slept at night like any typical western man. Half-naked and all that. It was the first time I saw him shirtless, and I must say, Jayson never disappoints when it comes to carelessly revealing interesting things about himself to me. It was dim, with only the lamp on the nightstand on my side of the bed lit up. Yet, when he came closer to cuddle me, half-asleep as he was, I saw, for the first time too, a tattoo on his right arm just below his shoulder.

USMC

Four bold capital letters spelled out across his bicep. Carefully concealed throughout the day thanks to his uniformly sleeved and collared shirts.

Suddenly I was in the mood to talk. And even though Jayson was exhausted, I knew my questions couldn’t wait until the next day.

Babe, I didn’t know you have a tattoo. USMC? What does it mean? I asked as I gently touched the inked portion of his bare arm.

Jayson opened his shut eyes.

United Sons of a Martian Child. It was a tattoo I had out of a whim with my high school friends. Some kind of silly fraternity thing. We decided to get it one night when we were all so drunk. The three of us. We called ourselves Sons of a Martian Child. I’d tell you the backstory of it, but it is quite long. Maybe some other time.

Then he chuckled, and anyone else would have been convinced he was fondly recalling his fun childhood memories. But not me. This time, he could not possibly convince me.

LIE. THAT IS A LIE.

I am 100% sure that Jayson was inventing his Martian Child Story. Did he really think I was that naive?

See, if you readers must know one thing about me, it is that I have long been a user of dating websites… way before Tinder was invented, and way before phones were even called smart.

An older dating platform has indeed existed way before that. It was the kind where you log in using your desktop. The kind where it was still kinda shameful to admit you have a dating account. It was the era when taking things to the next level meant transferring from the website to Skype – not Viber or Whatsapp. And the era when men were not just within your 4 or 6 mile radius, but rather were oceans away. The way old-school dating websites operated back then was such that when two people who matched decided that they actually liked each other so seriously much, it would be time for the guy to book a flight.

In my history of using this kind of dating website way, way, back, I have come to talk to a lot of men from different parts of the world. Some of them I had remained friends with up to the present time.

There was this African-French guy who worked at Microsoft, and who built me a website for my then online business, all the way from France; There was another one from Gloucestershire who’d virtually tour me around his neighborhood during day time; There was this guy from Australia, divorced, with a daughter older than me, who wanted to marry me in an instant.

And then there were the soldiers.

I was quite drawn to soldiers ever since I could remember. I’ve had this fascination and raw admiration for men who run towards the sound of the gun. These men I met online were stationed in different parts of the globe, but all coming from just one country after all — no other than the US of A, of course. I talked to a lot of them in different times, for quite a while in each occasion. In the course of talking to them, I had come to know that there was a place in California called Twenty-nine Palms. I learned of the various stations in Afganistan, Iraq and even in the provinces of Japan. These military men would tell me about their day-to-day lives, their experiences in bootcamp, how they do combat, how to operate tanks and all that jazz. Heck there was even a time in the past when I had memorized all the ranks and titles of officers in the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force and , yes, the United States Marine Corps.

Truth be told, I’ve seen Jayson’s tattoo before. Except it was on another person’s bicep. And I only saw it via Skype when my bored friend living in the Californian desert decided to call me up so I could watch him cook his lunch, in a sleeveless gray shirt that boasted off his muscular arm.

Jayson was a former Marine. Could it really be?

I was discombobulated and amazed at the same time. I was nervous, and anxious, yet I found myself even more attracted to him now. The mystery that surrounded his person intrigued me to the bones. It made me want to uncover more information.

Slowly.

But more.

No, It’s not. It’s not what USMC means. I replied to him as soon as I slipped away from my internal soliloquy, and back to reality.

You know what it means?

Yes. I do.

I expected Jayson to dare me say out-loud what his tattoo actually stood for. But to my dismay, Jayson did not provoke me. I could feel he didn’t want to go there. He was not going to discuss his military background with me tonight. He was determined to lie.

You are too smart for me, lady. He said instead. Then he finished off positioning his arms around me, and he fell asleep, perhaps so intently, while giving me a warm embrace.

Image result for usmc tattoo right bicep

Not Jayson’s tattoo.

TO BE CONTINUED.

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