Oh wow, it’s been over a year since I posted a chapter on the J Town saga! Has it really been that long? As part of my New Years resolution (lies, I actually gave up the MMO I was addicted to), I’m trying to complete all that needs to be completed, which is a lot! 😛

Nothing all that much happens during this chapter as I’m basically setting up the framework for all that is to come. Our lives in Sydney, the current dynamics of our relationship at that point in time, and introduction of the players whom partook in that inning of the game that is my life. There were many points in our relationship of which I could point to and label as “the beginning of the end”. But I think the move to Sydney was probably the clearest one of all.

It was the start of 2004 when we finally moved back to Sydney. With all of the drama that had transpired over last year, it probably demonstrated a huge leap of faith in the relationship for the both of us deciding to up and relocate back North. The reason for this was due to a business venture that involved both myself and a few old friends.

My relationship with J at this point had stabilised to a level where we both felt that we were, as a couple, making sufficient progress as to where we wanted to go, and to what we wanted to be. I was well aware that taking the big step to relocate would probably further place us on the path to marriage and honestly speaking, that was what I wanted. Or what I thought I wanted.

In retrospect, I glossed over all the lessons and danger signs that I had picked up over the last few years. If J was completely unpredictable, volatile, and prone to emotional breakdowns within her home environment and with her support circle present, what on earth would she be like once she moves into an environment that’s completely new and foreign to her?

Things initially went swimmingly for us because like with any major change of environment, there comes a brief honeymoon period where you’re both excited and distracted with the tasks involved in adapting to your new surroundings. It didn’t take long however for history to repeat itself.

In only took 2 months in Sydney before J and I broke up… again. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but knowing our history it probably wasn’t all that different to the break ups that had echoed in the years before it. So much so that I knew for fact it would only be a matter of days, if not less, that we would re-conciliate and be back together again.

Now this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for me. When we first moved to Sydney, I had my heart set on buying a new motorcycle. Unfortunately, J barred me from doing so. She cited both my financial circumstances as well as the fact that I already had an existing sports bike. So basically… no new bike… until now.

I figured that since, at that present moment in time, I was single, I could do whatever the hell I wanted! I realised I didn’t have much time before we would probably be back together and so I rushed out, went to the dealer, and presto! A new Honda VTR1000F Firestorm!!

Sure enough we got back together 2 days later. How did I justify the bike? By telling her that I was so crushed and heartbroken post breakup that I just didn’t know what to do. I was just so depressed and couldn’t get my mind of her. As a result… retail therapy to the rescue. And it worked :) Women, as intuitive as they are, can easily have their judgement clouded when you start tugging at their heartstrings. Of course, I’d never do this to Erica. Never… no sir not me. *boy scout salute*

J had a Malaysian friend in Melbourne called Devinder whom I had come to know well during my time living there. A friend whom years earlier she publicly slapped in a club for trying to corner and pash her. This would be the same Dev that would eventually be responsible for Erica and I crossing paths for the first time. He was investigating the prospect of moving to Sydney for work but was deterred by the costs involved. J and him discussed the option of him moving in with us and ran the idea by me.

Now naturally, having lived with J for over 3 years in Melbourne and during that time having to endure a seemingly unending parade of shitty housemates, I wasn’t all that thrilled at this particular prospect. However, I acknowledged that she doesn’t have any friends here and it would probably be good for her to have a familiar face to facilitate this lifestyle transition. And so Dev moved in with us. Bad damn idea….

Dev is a tightass. A calculative penny pincher who always to extract as much from us as possible whilst offering as little as possible in return. This didn’t bother me all that much as I’m a guy, and guys generally have a higher tolerance for shitty housemates. J on the other hand, did not cope with this behaviour well at all.

The end result was me constantly being caught between the two. J would force me to lay down the law with Dev, and I would reluctantly apologise to him and try to do so as gently as possible. Sometimes the said dressing down was warranted, and other times, it was the result of J being just plain vindictive and unreasonable. The tension in the house was palpable and soon at a level where there would be this unspoken awkwardness whenever we all saw each other. These household problems also impacted my relationship with J, with her perpetually losing her temper at me when I tried to play the unbiased adjudicator instead of siding with her on her say so.

Eventually, Dev decided to move out with some new friends that he met, which would be the catalyst for The Story of Us, aka me meeting my soulmate. Now Dev is a sleazy bugger. All he talks about is girls and the ways of which he can score with them. I remember he once, just prior to his moving out, asked me to drinks to be his wingman. There was this girl whom he was very interested in and had his sights set on, whom he would be meeting for drinks with a few of her friends, and that wanted me there for support. And so I accompanied him and met this girl for the first time. Unfortunately for him, that girl had a boyfriend whom she had also brought along. However, Dev decided that he wouldn’t let a little hurdle like that get in his way and so he continued to pursue her. The name of that girl… was Chiu.

During this time in Sydney I was spending a fair amount of time with my bike club. During this period, I eventually met this little asian girl called Grete whose name you’ve probably seen mentioned on this blog before. She rides a Kawasaki ZZR and was the latest addition to the club. The both of us just clicked and soon became close friends, spending a fair amount of time talking and riding together, though usually in a group. Coincidentally as well, she worked in the exact same building that I did. At the time she was working for Amex and me for Sensis, with both of us based in the AMEX building next to Hyde Park.

I made no secret of Grete in telling J about my riding ventures, but one thing I forgot to mention, was that we both worked in the same building. Boy would that little omission come back to bite me in the ass. To be completely truthful, I really don’t know if I honestly forgot to mention that little fact to J, or I deliberately withheld that bit of information for fear of her being jealous. In hindsight, I really should have told her… because it would have avoided what would come next. Oh J knew about Grete, but she just didn’t know that one little piece of trivia.

Another thing about my friendship with Grete was that it was ill perceived by alot of people. Many members of the club were under the illusion that we were together and many of them had actually mistaken her for my gf, just from I guess our body language or the dynamics of our interaction. Sure Grete flirted with me, but then again she flirted with everyone. She was both a naturally touchy person and also very bubbly in personality.

Me, being a typically oblivious, ignorant and stupid pig-headed male, ignored it when some of my friends told me that Grete probably had something for me. I said that she didn’t, we were just friends, and that she behaved the same way to everyone. Now that I think about it… this whole situation sounds eerily similar to when Erica and I first started hanging out as friends 😛

Anyway, I eventually got J to agree on one occasion to come join me for a ride and meet my riding friends for the first time, something that she had no interest in previously. You know how people say that girls somehow have a sixth sense when it comes to possible competition for their man? I think it’s true! It’s probably like how dogs can sense fear… or something.

This too place at the old Momo 9 cafe in Kingsford, which is there no longer. Grete was the first person that I introduced J to. Now Grete is like one of the most cheery, bubbly, and personable people you’ll ever meet. A really really sweet and sincere girl. A little immature I’ll admit, but to be fair she’s quite a number of years younger than I was. Immediately she greeted J and did her utmost to welcome and introduce her to everyone else. And in my eyes, it was nothing but sincere. After the meet and greets, Grete asked me if I would excuse J so they could go wondering off to spend some girl time together. So of course I said yes. I was happy that everyone was so warm towards J and I was able to just relax in the company of friends… until J returned.

OOoooohhh shit. She came in by herself and told me she wanted to speak with me alone outside. Judging by the look on her face, this probably wasn’t going to be a happy conversation. The moment we got outside… KABOOM!!!! “Why the hell did you not tell me that she works in your building???”. It’s not often that I’m lost for words but on this occasion, my brain decided to pack it’s bags and head for the safety of the hills. I had nothing. All I could do was stammer something along the lines of “I was meaning to but I just forgot…”.

Man… what a cop out excuse. If I was J, I would probably have shot me too. A stupid excuse like that just makes me look guilty for all sorts of reasons. Once the starter pistol went of, there was no stopping J. She started laying into me, loudly and in public, about how it was so damn obvious that Grete liked me and that I’m 10 sorts of stupid idiot for not being able to see it. So there I am, ego being thrashed to pieces in front of everyone, with me not knowing what to do. So the first break in the tongue lashing that came, I put on my helmet, and told her that we will discuss this further at home. And discuss this we did… for the next few hours. The outcome? That I was not to see Grete again.

The next day, Grete called me at work to apologise for all the trouble. She had no idea that J didn’t know about us working in the same building. I told her that the fault was completely mine, and that unfortunately it would be a while before we could see each other again. Grete was understanding and just said that I had to do what I felt was in the best interests of my relationship. Being completely honest with myself, I can safely say that though I was attracted to Grete, I wasn’t interested in her. The communication between Grete and I soon slowed, almost to a halt, as I focused all my efforts to strengthen the bond between J and I, and tried to channel all my energy into making the relationship work.

Little did I realise that the next time I saw Grete, it would be under much more… intimate circumstances.