by Lauren Le
Has anyone ever been to Bali like me? Or been in love, like me?
Here’s the thing: I didn’t know part of Eat, Pray, Love took place in Bali until I went there and saw these Eat, Pray, Love posters plastered on several buildings. This would be silly if I’d read the book but I hadn’t, because prayer books and cookbooks are not really my genres and I already knew everything to know about love. Or so I thought.
I didn’t know anything about Eat, Pray, Love except that they had adapted it into a movie starring Julia Roberts, whom I loved in Erin Brockovich as a single mother “in a tight spot” (citation: internet) who took on an insidious energy corporation. I thought she was bad-ass and my 14-year-old self thought, One day, I’m going to be a single mother, too, taking on The Man. Since my recent trip to Bali, I’ve learned that Julia Roberts or Elizabeth Gilbert–one or maybe both of them?–found love in Bali.
And me too! I also fell in love in Bali. I went to Bali looking for some turquoise waters and ended up snaggin’ me a man. His name is Tom. Yeah, that Tom. Now you’re maybe thinking, Um, Lauren, you’ve known Tom … a few years now, haven’t you? Yes, it turns out … and we both learned this while we were getting to know each other in Bali. Turns out, we both lived in Boston; then we both moved out of Boston at the same time to the same city across the river; and are now living in the same apartment building–in the same unit! I’ve been vaguely aware of another body occupying the same apartment and I feel like we might’ve even spoken once or twice, but probably nothing beyond, Excuse me, I have to get by.
“Oh my god, that’s craaazy! I’m Lauren, by the way,” I blush, while picking some chicken satay off his plate in the courtyard of the Maha Restaurant as a bunch of rabbits munch on greens.
“People call me Tom … because that’s my name.”
“Tell me more.” I gaze into his serene cerulean, not quite the turquoise I was looking for in Bali, but close enough.
“My family calls me Tommy.”
“More, more, more!” I’m picking everything off his plate.
“At work, they call me T-No.”
A man named Tom, whose family calls him Tommy and went by T-No at his place of employment. Of course, I would only find such a man in Bali. Some of you might go to Bali looking for your own Tom, but you might not find him. But don’t lose heart. When you’re not eagerly seeking your Tom, tropical serendipity might just have you crossing paths with a Robert; Bobby to his folks; to his associates, he’s “Spongebob!”. You will drown in his cool, glistening azure pools, those cheeks turning ruddy when he spins around to see you. Who, oh, WHO is this Adonis by the sea with his chiseled, rectangular physique that stands in such surprising contrast to his boyish charm? And that hearty laughter. You may think he’s the charismatic one, but it is you who have completely captivated him. He’s listening, he’s absorbing your every word. You hadn’t really thought you would find love in paradise like Elizabeth Gilbert but were kind of hoping–and here you two are, proof that kind of hope prevails. Everyone else–including Tom and me–has disappeared from the room, and that’s when you know …
You have fallen in love in Bali.