China Elevator Stories

Hiding Our Love And A Romantic Morning Walk

My fiancé and I try to keep our relationship a secret.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


Shortly before spring festival 2012, the company I work for in Shenzhen invites all employees to the countryside. We visit Zengcheng, a small village not far from Shenzhen. 

My fiancé and I have kept our relationship a secret and avoided being seen together too often by our co-workers, except for lunch which we usually have together. 

Song Yang - Ruth Silbermayr

On the bus that takes us to Zengcheng, we still sit right next to each other. When some of our co-workers get on the bus, they give my fiancé a high-five. Many of them have thought that he had been chasing after me, without us actually having gotten together. Although the engagement ring that my fiancé bought for me in Hong Kong which now decorates my ring finger would be a very obvious sign we’re engaged, our co-workers don’t seem to have noticed.

Zengcheng is located in quite a romantic setting, and I find it hard to stay away from my fiancé. It would be a nice place to spend your honeymoon in China.

After dinner, all the employees gather on the second floor of the restaurant, our boss holds a speech and we play some games. After that, we watch the spring festival fireworks. We then have the evening off. Most of the co-workers drink alcohol and play card games or Majiang. Since it has been a crazy week, my fiancé and I decide to get back to our separate rooms, which we both share with another person.

We send each other text messages, not sure if we should take a walk together or not. We decide against it. I watch TV, which is a very rare occasion, and decide to go to bed early.

When I’m just about to fall asleep, somebody knocks on my door. I ignore the knocking but can’t get to sleep because of the noise of drunk co-workers outside. A bit later, there’s another knock. I hear the voice of our supervisor who wants me to open the door. He is the same age as my fiancé, and not much older than me. He must be drunk, because he doesn’t usually talk to me. I get up slowly but when I open the door, he’s already gone. When I go back to bed, I receive a message from my fiancé, saying that our supervisor wants him to go to my room. They want to create an opportunity for us to be together. I laugh about this. They act like teenagers when they are drunk. A while later into the night, the noise outside quiets down and I am finally able to fall asleep.

Zengcheng - Ruth Silbermayr

I wake up early the next morning. When I switch on my phone, I receive a message from my fiancé asking me if I want to go for a walk. A few minutes later, we meet outside. We walk to the nearby river and while the sun rises, we watch our bus driver fish. Some women from the village wash clothes in the river.

My fiancé tells me that this is how they used to wash clothes when he was still little. The laundry soap people used when he was little was made from plants, so it wouldn’t contaminate the river. 

The women tell me that washing clothes like this is hard work. Not only do you need a lot of strength, but the water of the river is also really cold. 

When the local women get up to go back home and prepare breakfast, my fiancé and I go for a walk. We hold hands and take pictures of the beautiful countryside. For a while, it’s just me and him. 

We go back to the hotel when it’s time for breakfast.

We go for another walk after breakfast, albeit this time we do not hold hands. We walk into a nearby forest and find a clearance, where I climb on a tree and we kiss. A bit later we go to the bus that takes us back to Shenzhen.

Have you ever had to hide your relationship from your co-workers?

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