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balance (2): now

Friday, February 4, 2005

now

'o' drags me around banglamphu, with my spluttering and protesting under a million degree sun, looking for an apartment... after a couple of fruitless inquiries, finally he sits me down on the curb, kisses my forehead and says "wait here, i'll go find something". i sigh gratefully and wait obediently in front of a noodle soup lady who insists she has no cafe yen, though i see all the ingredients spread on top of the table in front of her. i scowl at her and crouch in a small spot of shade on top of my bags, trying not to melt, and think.

coming back to bangkok has been a sort of culture shock- did i really leave my utopian village? the smoky nightly decadence, the pleasant guilt of feeling like everything is too perfect, the friendly moon, the sensual sand? i try to imagine my life here- commuting through bangkok's nuclear dust, dodging scabby soi dogs, surrounded by thai women in dark suits and gawky expat men in khaki trousers. i imagine teaching english to children- walking into the front of a room of 28 of them and having to command control (something i am surely too shy to do). there are other things i can do... the yoga school insists i have a guaranteed job as an instructor if i take their 5-month class. i imagine myself being able to stand on my head without the support of the wall- seems very unlikely as it's a chore for me to walk staight without tripping over something. erm, maybe i can write for an english publication- i'll mail a few sample articles, perhaps someone will find my blathering quaint or (even worse) accessible. maybe i can appeal to the masses, find a common denominator, be a uniter. what about my "career"? am i throwing that away? throwing away the key to america? ...i stop thinking because something in my head is beginning to panic. the busses are loud, the tuk tuks screech to swerving halts on the corner, the drivers look lazily sideways at me drowning in the sun. i try to scrunch up smaller, hide.

'o' always says not to worry, to take things a day at a time. "this is my country", he says. "i can take care of you if you can try to live simply. you'll be happy when you stop feeling like you need tons of money". can i live without money? can i commit myself to a life of running in circles and getting nowhere? 'o' comes back smiling, says "follow me". ten minutes later we have a beautiful apartment. the room is large, brand new, with a balcony, a/c, hot water, cable tv, a refrigerator, furniture, and even high speed internet access. it's 5500 baht per month ($130). i dutifully hand over the rent and 2 months' deposit. sign away my life. we flop onto our new bed under the air conditioner, and i freak out. i am living with 'o', something i swore i wouldn't do. it's not the lack of love, it's my propensity to hurt him almost constantly by my independence, my american drive, our cultural differences. it's mostly intellectually that we don't match... but something underneath always wins, a certain calm. when we took mushrooms together i remember marvelling at this calm of his. "you are like an ancient indian", i told him, laying my hand on his chest and soaking in the healing peace. 'o' is unphased by my constant shifting, he is steady through all my abuse. can i love him for that? i think i do, to some extent, and this sort of love is much preferable to the sort i had with a certain ex boyfriend, that unrequited passion, the desperation of never being able to be enough. i am more than enough for 'o', and though he will never be enough for me, do i really need him to be anything? i sigh, close my eyes. 'o''s hand creeps into my pants, he is on me, kissing me wetly. we haven't had sex in 2 weeks, the kissing is too much. "it's too much", i say, pushing him away. i try to wrap myself into myself. he doggedly comes at me again, i give in and we fuck. 'o' and i always fuck. he growls, i sigh. he pulls my hair and pushes into me, it takes about 3 seconds for him to come. he rolls off and looks at me curiously, sadly. "happy birthday", he says. he heads for the shower and i am left unfulfilled, lost. uncertain.

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