Readers' Submissions

How Does It Happen?



Randy’s eyes were open and he stared at the fluorescent light on the ceiling. When do they turn he wondered? Does it happen all at once or are there signs-guide posts along the way? Suppose they are that way all along and you just don’t know it? Is there a way to tell? There probably is- that first time they get a crazed look in their eyes after a few Sang-Soms or when they say ‘No, you can not go without me.’

He was fifty years old and this tiny Thai girl was telling him what he could do and what he couldn’t do, how strange, he thought; but he didn’t pay much attention the first few times that it happened.

Maybe it was the night a few weeks after she moved in, when they ate at the little restaurant on Rawai Beach. It was a beautiful night, the sun had just set and the sky was purple and orange. Randy was in love with his new girlfriend and was feeling that all was well with the world.

‘I see you look girl,’ Noi exclaimed.

‘What girl?’ Randy asked.

Enraged, Noi swept the plates from the table. Randy stared at his noodles flung across the bamboo carpet as she stomped out.

He was puzzled and later that evening asked Noi what happened, why had she behaved like that. He knew that she loved him very much but she was a little immature and young too; he knew that also.

‘I your girlfriend. You look girl.’ Her face turned dark, as if a shadow had passed over it.
‘What girl?’ Randy smiled. That was a few months ago when he still thought it was cute that she was jealous. He knew now that possessive girls in Thailand are no joking matter.
Noi poured her self another Sang-Som and soda. ‘Girl next table, you look her,’ Noi scowled.

He had a hard time remembering if there was a girl seated next to them or not. Had he really looked at her? It didn’t matter now anyway.

He had been traveling around the world with his American girlfriend. They had been to many countries including Vietnam, Nepal and India. They had never visited Thailand and planned to stay for a few months. They had been away from home for about a year and his girlfriend wanted to fly home for a few weeks and visit her folks.

When the two weeks were almost up, Randy called her and gave her the bad news. He needed time to be on his own and she should not come back. He felt terrible especially since that was not the real reason. He had met someone else.

Damn. Why did she have to go home and leave me alone in Thailand of all places? She should have left me in India. Everything would have been alright then.

He could hear Noi on the mobile phone; her voice sounded strangely far away. The room turned slowly. Randy blinked his eyes and tried to concentrate. She was so beautiful, only twenty-two years old when they met. He was having a drink late at night in Thermae – in Bangkok.

She said that she was working as a waitress but had just lost her job because she protested when a customer had patted her on the rear end. She had wandered into Thermae by accident and hardly ever came to Sukhumvit. Randy bought her a drink and took her back to his hotel. She would appear at odd moments when he went out and one time she got into his hotel room and hid in the closet. Thank God he had not taken a girl home that night. May be it would have been better if he had, he might have realized….
He wasn’t aware at that time that she was stalking him. Why would she do that when girls at home hardly paid any attention to him. He never gave it a thought until now-looking at things from another perspective. If I could only go back in time-to last year- see things differently. If I had only known. I should have listened to Frank. He told me not to get involved right away.

Frank had done everything but smack him in the face and he still didn’t get it. ‘Listen, did you fall for that bullshit, lost my good-girl-waitress job. You met her in Thermae, you idiot. What did you think she was doing there, looking for an ice cream Sunday or a Big Mac?
Thai girls pick up farang guys there- for cold cash and speaking of cold, their hearts are the same temperature.

Randy could feel that his shirt was soaked now. ‘I love you. The girl on the back of my Honda was the girl that works in the grocery store. I was only giving her a lift home. I would never go out with anyone else. You did call, didn’t you?’

‘What business you, I call?’ Noi sat next to him on the floor and lit a cigarette.

Randy touched his chest. His hand came away sticky and wet. ‘Don’t worry it was an accident. You won’t get into trouble.’

‘No accident and I no worry.’ Noi stood up and opened her purse.

‘Where are you going? The ambulance should be coming any minute now.’

‘Why you speak crazy?’ Noi took out a flat pink container.

‘The ambulance. You did call an ambulance didn’t you?’ Randy could imagine Noi’s face screwed up in a scowl getting darker by the second. Noi opened the compact and checked her make-up in the small mirror.

‘I call my girlfriend. We go disco.’

‘Call an ambulance. I’m going to die if you don’t. I bought you the house in Isaan like you wanted. You said you loved me.’

‘Next time you not go with girl.’ Noi carefully stubbed the cigarette out in the ashtray.
Randy tried to get up but could not. He strained to lift his head. Everything was becoming blurry. He heard Noi’s high heels clicking on the floor and then the door slamming behind her.

Stickman's thoughts:

So real it's scary!