What Should I Choose?

What Should I Choose?

A Story by Thanh

What should I choose?

What would you do when you facing this situation? How do you make the decision between your dream job and the woman you love? What would you do? Would you choose-- the job that will lead you to fame and fortune or the woman that you had searched from ocean to mountain and until you had found? I had to make that decision. I am a computer consultant for a major computer company on the East Coast. My company is about to open a new office in Southern California. They asked me to form a team to set up the same system we have here.

I have never been anywhere outside of Pennsylvania, so this is my chance to have an adventurous and plus Tim, my best friend in school, is living here in Southern California. I accepted the assignment, until the branch is ready to open.

Tim and I had known each other since our freshman year in high school. After high school, Tim decided to move to California for an adventure, and later on he continued his education in California. Meanwhile I stayed in Pennsylvania and continued my education and helped out with the family business. Every time he came back to Pennsylvania to visit his family, we always hung out. The last time Tim was in Pennsylvania was two Christmases ago.

When I decided to take the assignment, I came out a few weeks early so I could spend some time with Tim before I started to work. Before moving into the apartment that my company had rented for me, I decided to stay with Tim for a few days.

Tim’s apartment was a few minutes away from Little Saigon and I still remember the first time we were driving around Little Saigon. I could not believe my eyes. At first I thought I was back in Vietnam because there were Vietnamese everywhere we went and everywhere we looked there were Vietnamese restaurants. I was said to myself I would never want to move back to Pennsylvania again.

I still remember it like; I was in shock to hear people speaking Vietnamese everywhere I went. Now you ask what is so surprising about that. Don’t you expected to hear Vietnamese in Little Saigon? Yes, but you have to realize where I was coming from. I had lived in a small town that has less then a hundred Vietnamese residents. So hearing Vietnamese spoken in the street was very rare.

One day I parked my car at one of the little Saigon restaurants; I then started walking around the area. I must have bought almost everything I looked at because everything was so inexpensive. I walked at least an hour before I decided to go back to the restaurant where my car was parked to have lunch there.

After lunch I was driving home, when I was found a park that was just a few minutes away from Tim’s apartment. I decided to check it out before going on to meet Tim. This is a small park but it was a romantic park. There was a small lake that located in the middle of the park. There was an empty bench on the other side the lake, so I walked toward the bench and watched the ducks swimming in the lake. I was in the middle of watching the ducks swim that when I heard a soft voice right next to me: “Can I sit here?”

I then look up and saw a young lady with long black hair and brown eyes  standing right in front of me with two paper bags in her hand. “Who? what?” I said.

She caught me by surprise. “I’m sorry; I’m just wanted to know if I can sit here.” 

“Sure, no problem.” I said.

She then continued the conversation, “Every bench is full. This is the only one that has an empty space and I love feeding the ducks.” She smiled at me then sat down.

I introduced myself and then asked hers.

“My name is Hoa; nice to meet you,” She said as she smiled at me and continued the conversation. “You are not living around this area, right?”

“How can you tell?” I asked, surprised by her question.

She laughed at me for few minutes. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to laugh at you like that, but I have never seen you around this area of the park.”

“Does everyone who come to the park live near here? So how can you know who lives here in the neighborhood or not?”  

“Well, every day same group of people come to this area to relax.” She pointed to the bench on the left of us and continued. “You see young couple who are sitting right there? They live in that apartment over there?”

 “Yes, what about them?”

”Every day they come out at this time a day to feed the ducks.” Then she continued to point to each bench and tell who was sitting there and how often they came to the park.

“You must come out everyday.” I smiled at her after the question.

“Yes, I do.” She pointed at two paper bags she had brought and said, “This is my lunch time; everyday at this time I come out here to have lunch and feed the ducks.”

“That’s why you know everyone around here. I understand now.”

I could not believe how easy it was to talk with her. We had known each other less than an hour, but I already felt like I had known her for a long time. We spent a lot of time talking and laughing until Hoa told me. “I need to go now; I have a meeting a few minutes from now.”

“Ok, well I guess I will see you tomorrow.”

She then smiled at me and said. “Yes, it’s a date.”

          We both smiled at each other. Then she walked away; I was still sitting on the bench and laughing at what had just happened. I could not believe it and couldn’t wait to tell Tim. 

          That evening came and Tim and I were having dinner together when I told him about what had happened that afternoon. Tim laughed a little. “I can not believe that? How did you do this?” Tim asked me in surprise.

          I put my hand up in the air said. “I don’t know. We just talked and then next thing I know we are deciding to see each other again.”

The last time Tim and I had such a chat was two years ago at a local pub near both of our parents’ houses. Tim is like the brother that I never had. So during high school we used to hang out at Tim’s house.

Once Tim knew that I was coming home for a several months and he told me to come out here early to spend some time with him before I started my job. Tim also knew that I just broken up with my girl friend, Rose, and that I had a problem dealing with her. That night I couldn’t sleep because all I could think it was Hoa. I couldn’t get her off my mind. All I could think about was her beautiful long black hair and that I would love to run my fingers though her hair. Hoa was the first woman and I had felt comfortable with since Rose.

I was at the park an hour early, sitting impatiently waiting for Hoa. I was like a kid waiting for permission to open a gift. Every few minutes I looked both ways to see if I could spot her at a distance. My head must have turned back and forth at least twenty times, before I saw a familiar figure toward me. I was trying to be cool by pretending I did not see her coming. My head turned away and looked at couple of kids running around the park. The funny thing about the whole thing was that I was trying to pretend not to see her walking toward me, but every step that she took toward me, I knew as I looked from my left eye without turning my head.

“Oh! Sorry, I’m late.” She spoke in her beautiful soft voice.

I was pretending that I did not see her walking up. “Hi there! I just arrived here few minutes ago.” I did not want her to think that I had been here waiting go long. Then I saw that she had a big basket on her hand. “What is in the basket?”

She ignored my question and asked me with another question. “How are you doing today?”

“I am fine, what about you?”

“I’m ok. A little crazy this morning. I’ve been running around the last couple of hours.” She was breathing hard.

“What happened?” I asked her again.

“There was problem at the office; my employee called me. I had to come in to take care the business, then come home to get ready for us.”

“Ready for us? What do mean by that?”

She smiled at me and pointed at the basket then said, “I made us some lunch; a little picnic for us.”

“Really! Picnic for us?” I was surprised.

“I told you yesterday; it is a date right?” she asked

“Yes, but I did not expect the anything like this. I thought we were going just hang out here and talk.” I was totally shocked to see how much she had planned for this afternoon.

She was laughing and then walked me over to a table near us. “Please sit down.”

This is not what I expected to receive; as I sat down and felt some wind flow over her beautiful hair. That made her even more attractive than before, or maybe it was because I was hungry and she had made me lunch. Either way, she was more beautiful than the first time I saw her.

          I was still admiring her beauty when I heard Hoa’s soft voice say, “Here is your sandwich.”

          “Oh thank you!” I shook my head and said, “I cannot believe that you planned this!”

          “That’s nothing; I did have a great time with you yesterday.” She then smiled at me than continued. “For the longest time I have not found another man that made me laugh like you did yesterday.”

          “Well thank you, the reason it was easy for me was because you make it easy for me to talk.” Both of us were laughing and then I continued to say. “After my ex girlfriend and I broke up a year ago; there no one I felt comfortable to talk with until yesterday.”

          “Really? Do you mind telling me about it?”

          “Some other time, I will.”

          There was nothing to make the picnic better than having the great company with laugher and great food that we had that afternoon. I could not remember the last time I had so much fun. Hoa and I started dating a few weeks after our picnic and at the same time my team members got here to start the project. Before actually began the project. I decided to take Hoa on a date, knowing that the next few weeks I would be too busy.

Before I came over to Hoa’s house, I had a full day. I had to go to one of vendor’s office for a meeting. After that her house, I went to a flower shop and got her a bouquet. Finally it was time to pick her up. As I walked up to her door I a little nervous, as if were first date. I must have stood in front for few minutes before ringing the bell.

The door was finally open; I couldn’t believe what I saw. Hoa was standing right in front me wearing a beautiful blue dress. It took my breath away. If I have not told you how beautiful she was, she was like an angel standing in front of me. I must have stared at her for few minutes, until she said “Are you going to stare at me the whole night?”

“What?” I finally mumbled. “Oh I’m sorry; I can’t believe how beautiful you.”

I could see that she was embarrassed by my comment. Then she said, “Thank you. By the way, what’s behind your back?”

I just realized that I was holding flowers behind my back. “Oh, when I saw these flowers at the store, I was thinking of you,” I said as I handed her the flowers. “There are no flowers as beautiful as you but these flowers will do.”

 We both were laughing as she said, “You are too funny. Please come in I should be ready in a few minutes.” 

I followed her in the living room. She said. “Would you like something to drink?”

“No thanks.”

She then disappeared into her bedroom to get ready, and very soon she came out. She looked at me and said, “Shall we go?”

“Sure.” I walked her to my car and drove to the restaurant. I cannot believe how comfortable I am around her. I have never laughed so much, even before the date started. We were talking and laughing all the way to the restaurant. I decide to go to the restaurant call the House of the Blues in downtown Disney. The wait to be seated was about haft an hour, so we decided is to go for a walk around the mall to check it out. She took hold of my hand as we walked.

By the time we went back to the restaurant it was time to be seated and the waitress walked us to our table. At my request ahead of time, there was a single pink rose on the table, which is Hoa’s favorite flower.

“How did they know that I like pink roses?” Hoa was speaking in a surprised voice.

“Lucky guess.” I put both my hands out like I didn’t know anything about this.

The music was wonderful; that night there was a local band was performing. The food was excellent and best of all, great company. With this how can anyone not have a great time? After a wonderful dinner, it was time for us to leave the restaurant. Both of us decided go for a walk again. As we walked around downtown Hoa was leaning over and holding my hand. We continued window shopping, for sometime, until she said, “I’m cold, let’s get something hot.”


As we went back toward the coffee shop, she told me about a nice coffee shop closer to her place. I said. “Sure.”

Within a few minutes we were at the coffee shop. There was a small empty table close to the front. “Why don’t you sit down here and rest while I get both of us drinks,” I said and leaned over to give her quick kiss on her cheek.

As I went to the counter, I could feel every eye on Hoa. I was feeling great knowing that everyone in the café felt that Hoa is beautiful. Finally I got back to out table, handed her a cup of coffee, and sat next to her. She then leaned over gave me a soft kiss on the lip; and said. “Thank you.”

“For what?”
          “For a great time tonight.”

“I had fun; that is my pleasure.” I said.

We sat there looking out the window, seeing another couple outside kissing. I put my hand over her arm. I slowly moved her body close to me, and my hand slowly brushed up and down her hair as her head lean on my arm. I could imagine that this amazing woman actually was in my arms. It time for me to take her home came too soon. “It’s late; I must take you home.”

“Ok, Honey.”

Suddenly we were back in front of her house and I was walking her to the door. “Thank you for being my date tonight.” I said with a smile.

“What do you mean by that? We have been seeing each other almost everyday and now you just said thank for tonight only?” She said in a frustrated voice.

“No, every time I am with you, I am having fun. Tonight, there was something indescribable that made it more special.”

“What is so special about tonight?”

I was laughing. “I believe this is the first time we have gone somewhere other than a restaurant and a movies.”

“I see.”  She had to think for a few minutes then continued, “I have to admit you are right. I did not want to end the date.”

“Me neither.” I then leaned over to kiss Hoa; our lips were slowly touching. There was no way I can describe the feeling I got from that kiss the only thing I can say about that kiss is that it made my heart pump a little faster as our lips began to touch.

“Wow! I didn’t expect that.” she said.

“Is it a good thing or a bad thing?”

“Good thing. I just didn’t expect it.”

 Both of us were laughing; we both said good bye to each other and then I headed back home. I still cannot believe how wonderful the night was. I was glad that I drove myself home without an accident, because my mind was still on the date not the road. I don’t remember anything about leaving Hoa’s house and getting home. 

The next couple of weeks were busy for me. I had an overload of work. My time with Hoa had been reduced to once a week, or sometime less than that. A lot of times we only talked on the phone. For those weeks you can find me at work from 7am sometime 9 or 10 pm, but Hoa always a way to spend time with me. For instance, one day Hoa decided to come up to the office to take me out to lunch, because we had not seen each other for a couple of weeks. She brought lunch for both of us to take over to the park for a quick picnic. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I realize I am in love with her. She understood how important work is for me that I need to meet the deadlines?

Work was always important to me. Once I step into work there is nothing else in my mind until I step out of work. Then I will focus on the other world of my life. I am proud to say that I am one of the best consultants in my company. That is one of the reasons I have been sent out here. So it was natural for me.

Work that much because that is who I am; and that is one of the reasons why many of my relationships have not been successful. Most of my relations with woman ended when they saw that most of my time would be devoted to work. This time I was very lucky to find that Hoa was patient with me, and fell in love with Hoa even more.

          I was working late one night, when I receive a phone call from one of my friends back on the East Coast. He told me that his company had agreed to offer me a job that pays twice the amount of what I make, and then I don’t have to travel anymore. I was excited and told him. “Thank you when do I start?”

          After I hung up the phone I then called Hoa and told her the good news. I did not think that she wouldn’t feel the same way as I. “What about us?”

          “What do mean us?” I asked with surprised.

          “If you take a job back east then, what about me?”
          It took me a few minutes to realize what she was saying. Suddenly, I realized that if I take this job Hoa and I will not see each other. Most likely we would have to end our relationship because of long distance relationship, I don’t know what to say to her other than, “Nothing will change our friendship.” I finally answer her.

          “Friend? Is that all I am to you?”

          “No. Honey, you are more than that to me. You are my girl but this is a great opportunity for me. We just have to sacrifice a few years. Then we will live together for the rest of our lives.”

          “Few years? Are you sure after a few years of separate our love will still be the same?”

          I tried to be convincing for a few minutes, before I told her, “Honey, it’s late, I have to go home now. Let’s talk more about this in a day or so, after we both have some time to think.” She agreed and we both said good bye.

          How can this be? One minute I was excited about a new job, the next minute I was confused. The job seemed like logical thing for me to pick, because this is my future, and as I said to her, she can always move back east with me, whenever she is ready to move. However if I decided to stay here with her, I could always transfer my job, but I probably would never have the same kind of opportunity from my company or any company like them.
          With any other relationship before, I would take the job without hesitating, but something about Hoa is making the decision harder. I have fallen for her. This is the first time in my life I believed I ever said this on my own. Yes, I love her. Well let me rephrase this; I have said the word “I love you” before but only to make “her” happy. In other words, I never really meant it. From the first time I met her in the park, there was something about her that attracted me to her. She won my heart that first day. Now, I don’t know if I can live without her. I cannot believe what I am thinking!

          The strange thing about the whole thing is that I knew when took this assignment that I was only going to be here for a short time. Why did I get myself involved this? What would I do? Stay or go? I decided to go to bed and then think more about this tomorrow.

          Few days later, I get a phone call from Hoa telling me to come over the house for dinner this Saturday night. She will make my favorite dish, and I accepted the invite. I was excited about the dinner date that Hoa was planning for us. Does that mean that she wants to congratulate me on the job offer? Finally, does she see my way? Does she see how important this job is to me?

          Finally I was at her front door with one hand holding a dozen pink roses and a box of her favorite chocolates, as the other hand rang the doorbell. She opened the door wearing a stunning outfit I’d never seen. “Hi Honey!” She said with a big smile on her face.

          “Hi Beautiful! Glad to see you,” I said as I handed her the flowers and the chocolates.

            “Oh thank you. How beautiful.” She leaned over to give me a kiss, and followed her in the apartment. I had been at the apartment many times but today she had turned it into a romantic restaurant for us. There were a candle lit in the middle of the table and other lights dimmed down. Soft music was playing in the background. “Wow! It’s very romantic,” I finally said.

          “Thank you.” She said with a smile then she continued. “Please sit down. I’ll be right back.” She headed into the bedroom to finish changing. I was feeling great sitting in the living room waiting for a romantic evening with the woman I love.

 A few minutes later Hoa coming out wearing a sexy black dress. I said, “Wow! You look beautiful.”

“Thank You!” she said and walked me over to the table. “Please sit down.”  As we sat down at the table; Hoa started bring out the food. I could not believe she made my favorite Italian dishes.

She then said. “One of the reasons I invited you over here was to congratulate your on the job offer. Plus I want to apologize for my behavior that night.”

“Well thank you, my dear.” I held her hand looking into her eyes and then I leaned over to kiss her.

          “You’re welcome.” Hoa said with a smile.

          I don’t think either one of us were speaking at all during dinner; I believe we both were looking at each other and enjoying the meal. I don’t know because everything romantic made her even more beautiful than before. Finally, we head to the living room to relax, and Hoa finally asks me. “What about us? Once you go?”

          “We’re still friends.” I said with a smile.

          “Friend! Is that all I am to you?”

          “No! You are more than that; you know that!” I then put my arm around her shoulder then continue. “What I mean is our relationship is still the same.”

          She started stand up and start walking back and forth thinking for few minutes then she asked me. “You know I cannot leave here. My family is live here. My business is here.” She slowly sit down and held my hand and said. “What about the company now? Tell them that they have just offered you a position with their company and also offer you a lot more money; see if they give you a promotion and a raise.”

          “Wow! You want me to do what?” I surprised by the question.

          “I just want you to stay with here with me. Now if your company can match what the other company offers then I would like you to stay with me.”

          “So you don’t want me to go?”

          “Yes of course I don’t want you to go. I don’t want to lose you.”

          “You’re not going to lose me. We will talk every night. Whenever I can I will come back to visit you.”

          “You’re not willing to ask your company to see if you can get a raise and stay here with me?”   

          I put my hand on her hair and played with it. “No Honey. No matter how much they match, the move is to a much better company for me.” Then I leaned over to kiss her. “I love you; I know you have everything here. I understand that you cannot move and I’m not going to ask you to move with me.” I poured more wine into her glass and mine and told her: “This job is very important to me; I have been waiting for this position to be open for a while now.” I looked into her eyes and continued. “Like I said before, I cannot ask you to leave everything to go with me, but I would love you to go with me.”

          “Are you breaking up with me?” She asked me in low tone of voice.

          “I don’t want to; I still believe we still can still be together. It will be tough, but it’s possible.”

          By the end of the night, Hoa told me that she would like to keep in touch. I said. “I would like that.”

          A few days later, I accepted the new job. After that date, Hoa and I did not see each other at all. Not because of what happened between us, but I have so much work to do before my replacement arrived. That was the last time Hoa and I saw each other.

          Would I be happier then now? Probably not, but here I am starting over in a new job and also a new life. To this day I still search for the perfect woman. I made a big mistake to let her go. Now I only hope that I am lucky the first time. Not one day passed I was not thinking about that day; what would I decided to not to accepted the job and stay here with her? Am I happier than now?



© 2008 Thanh

Author's Note

please ignore grammar problem, what do you think of the dialoge?

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Hoa sounds like a very special woman. The picnics and the special touches to your evenings showed her love. The flowers and phone calls when you were busy showed you cared. I'm so sorry this didn't work out between you both. I know some that pour themselves into work at all costs end up alone later. My old boss was a workaholic and lost his whole family and wife to work. I believe there has to be a happy balance to everything. Position and money will often not make up for certain losses in life.
I hope you find her again! If not, you have learned a valuable lesson like all of us. Very enjoyable and an excellent heartfelt story! Greatly written!

Posted 15 Years Ago

Wow, once agai you had me hanging on your every word I loved it, Great write


Posted 15 Years Ago

Reading your short story, is like being a fly on a wall, listening to a private conversation between two lovers. Reflecting in the honesty of the dialogue. We all make decisions, which we constantly second guess ourselves over. You have capture this perfectly here. Thank you for sharing this short story with us.


Posted 15 Years Ago


Posted 15 Years Ago

I love it. I love the feel of it. You write like its a diary entry,I almost feel like I shouldnt be reading it.
Keep writing these wonderful tales.

Posted 15 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on March 7, 2008



westmister, CA

These are some of fictional stories i had wrote in the last few years. I hope you like it. there are few minor errors in these stories. I need a feed back from you. These stories will be put together.. more..

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