I had holed myself up in the bedroom while struggling with my demons, but for the first time in a while, I felt like I could breathe again. Seizing the moment, my husband and I decided to get out of the house, a hopeful step in the right direction. I wanted to move on from the paralyzing grip of depression and be myself again. As we entered the eatery and approached the counter, I realized how unfamiliar the once comfortable restaurant had become.
What types of bread did they have? I need to recover. Usually, we were only asked this after cashiers had mistakenly rung up our orders separately under the assumption that we were not together. Was this the first time someone had asked us right off the bat like that? Why was that so noticeable? We looked back at the employee. He was a young Asian guy, probably a college student, with an eager look on his face.
Where did you meet? I buried myself in my phone, as I figured I knew where this line of questioning was about to go and it made me feel a little awkward. My husband excused himself from the impromptu interview and left to grab a table while I finished up my order.
The employee, still grinning from ear to ear, continued to ask me questions. I heard that kids sometimes cause problems for the husband and wife. I thanked him and sat down, relieved. For once, I avoided the seemingly inescapable pressure that comes with being an idea. Was I always this tired? My husband giggled throughout the meal, tickled by the exchange. Do you think we made his day?
We finished our meal and left, but not before the employee went out of his way to bid us one last farewell. The symbolic first step forward out of my rut a success, we decided to head home. He played video games, I worked. Every conversation up until that point inevitably turned to praising me for choosing an Asian man and exalting my husband for somehow achieving the impossible in snagging a White woman. He just wanted to be loved for who he is. In our attempts to understand some of the most simple things in life, we sometimes make them more complex.
Asian women want the freedom to date whomever they choose, while Asian men want to be seen as desirable romantic partners. Both sides accuse each other of White worship, and both sides resent being passed over for a White person.
But both sides yearn for the same thing — love and acceptance. As a Mormon, if I had married a Mormon man, I fear he may expect me to act a certain way or to live a certain lifestyle. I can empathize with the Asian man who has been told he is inadequate due to his stature, his features… his race.
Instead, I believe he reacted that way to us because he saw that an Asian man had overcome his potential insecurities to find someone.
I believe what I saw was hope. The hope that maybe — just maybe — someone would want to be with him. To watch movies or play video games together.
To be vulnerable and honest with one another. To work together on shared goals. To enjoy simply being next to each other. To build each other up. To wish each other good night. So, to that Asian kid at Subway: