Stickman Readers' Submissions May 17th, 2006

Hopelessly Hopeless Part 5

Saturday and Sunday were rather similar with regard to our daytime activities. On both days we finally made it out of bed at around noon. On Saturday we left for lunch and headed to Dreamland, Thailand's only amusement park, located an approximate 15 kilometers north of the airport. Nok proposed taking me there, but told me not to expect too much of it, as it just didn't compare at all with American style amusement parks as Six Flags, Disneyland and sorts. Anyway, that didn't matter to me, so we hit the road and arrived there in the early afternoon. After me paying the farang price of 450 Baht for entering the park, which at least included one free ride on all of the park’s attractions, we walked in and looked for some fun stuff to do. As Nok had already announced, Dreamworld by far didn't live up to the standards of any larger European or US amusement parks, but I found it to be a really good place for kids. There were lots of families around and actually it was much less crowded than I had expected, which was not a bad thing. We went on a few rides, and I even convinced Nok to go on a rather wild ride with me called the Hurricane. She was scared she would get dizzy or even sick, but finally she went along. She was screaming like mad while being on the ride, to the point of me really being worried she might actually be sick and throw up on everybody, but as it turned out she actually found it fun. She said she wouldn't go again though, so we continued to some more tame rides. I took quite a lot of photos, which she patiently accepted as she told me that she liked how I made her look beautiful on them. And yes, I have to agree, some of those shots are actually priceless, at least to me.

The nights were intense and close, as were the mornings usually. She loosened up with regard to her shyness towards her own body and me, which actually made our being together so much more intimate and enjoyable. I truly felt closer to her than I had ever before, and I could tell from her behavior that these feelings were mutual. In a desperate attempt to win some more time with her, I called the airline and asked them politely if it was possible to move my return flight back another day. Due to the status of my ticket that was fortunately possible. I actually tried to delay the return flight for two to three days, which would not have been a problem with work, but unfortunately the flights were fully booked on all days except Monday. Anyway, one extra day was better than nothing, and I had won another night with my love. At least I wouldn't have to go to the airport on Sunday night now, and could spend another evening with her on Monday.

He Clinic Bangkok

Sunday night she cooked for me, and we watched a movie together.

I realize I was on vacation and my and her situation was completely outside the norm, but everything just felt so right to me then. Everything else that usually is so important to me seemed to be irrelevant or at least only half as significant. Obviously, in those days of bliss I pushed away the thought that this time would come to an end and in particular the fact that I was still not the only one in her life. I just didn't want to ruin the moment, as I knew it would come to an end too soon anyways.

I had won another night and another day, even though most of Monday she would spend at work again. Unfortunately there was just not way she could take leave or call in sick, as she had a big project running on that particular day she just couldn’t afford to miss. Anyway, she promised to try to leave from work as soon as possible, hopefully before 6pm.

CBD bangkok

One last time, I went to see Mike and shared with him my photos and stories of Hong Kong, as well as the intensity my relationship to Nok had reached in the previous two days. Mike didn’t even need to reassure me as he generally liked to do, as I knew I had fallen for that girl more strongly than at any given time before. The fact that she had responded to me in seemingly the same way gave me hope again and lifted my spirits. Was I deluding myself, building myself a castle in the clouds that was about to dissolve with the slightest breeze?

Mike and I took the MTR to Sukumvit and he helped me to pick up some groceries at Foodland, as I had in mind to return her favor of cooking for me that night. The idea behind it was that I knew she would come home from work starving and didn’t want to waste precious time going out for eating. So I bought everything I needed for making some improvised pasta, and finally tried to head back to her place. Unfortunately that very evening the Skytrain was having a malfunction, and I found myself stuck at Siam Station. No taxi would take me as they all told me traffic was too bad, so I got quite stressed out and worried how I would make it back in time. I finally managed and arrived around 30 minutes before her. That gave me some time to take a shower, finish up packing my luggage, and starting to cook. When she arrived and found me cooking for her on the balcony she just looked so genuinely happy, hugged me hard, and then hurried into the shower.

We had dinner together and then quite quickly ended up in bed. I was holding her, and her cheerful mood of the past hour turned into despair, realizing that this would be the last evening of us being together. She started crying. I wasn’t surprised at this, and actually had anticipated it. We had another 90 minutes left together before we would have to leave for the airport. I tried to comfort her and held her close to me. She started kissing me softly with tears running down her cheeks, and we ended up sleeping with each other one last time. When she was lying in my arms there after we were done, I told her something that I had thought of offering her earlier already, but had always hesitated.

During the past so intense days of us being together, she had asked me one evening while we were lying in bed together when I would be back to see her. I didn’t answer to that question back then. Another time, in one of those intimate moments, she whispered in my ear the question if I would marry her. I thought she was teasing me, and replied saying jokingly how it was so unusual for a Thai girl to propose to a guy. To that she didn’t reply and only smiled. I am still not sure what to think of that. Was there some subtle message hidden in her question? Was she probing what my reaction to her question would be?

wonderland clinic

It was clear to me that I would not return to see her anytime soon. Primarily because I just couldn’t afford the time, as I still had to invest a significant part of my vacation time into my postgraduate study program. I had a study trip scheduled to Spain and another one to Canada for the following months, both significantly reducing my yearly allowance of vacation. I would only be left with four days of vacation for the rest of the year. So I knew, even if I wanted to see her again soon, I could hardly manage to make it happen easily.

Then off course, no matter how much I felt for her, it was rather obvious that I was not prepared to remain standing in second line, with her boyfriend being steadily in pole position. Neither did I want to swap positions with him.

Basically the only option for us to meet again anytime soon was if she decided coming to see me back home. As she was still in her probation period at work, as I mentioned earlier, the earliest time of this being possible was July. I knew that she could not easily afford the flight to Europe, and was still paying back debt to her sister for last year’s trip. So I told her that all she needed to do was tell me that she wanted to come to see me, and I would enable her to. By saying this, I was obviously offering getting her a ticket, having in mind that she could spend two or three weeks with me in summer here.

I offered this to her because I knew that if she was to accept this from me, she would also have to accept the consequences with regard to her boyfriend. She could hardly spend up to three weeks in Europe with me without her boyfriend noticing. I refused being the one who took the decision whether or not we would meet again. I had done enough. By offering her a ticket, I put her in a position of actively having to make a choice. I made clear to her that I couldn’t guarantee her anything, but that she should be very much aware already of how much I actually cared for her, considering how much love, effort, time, and energy I had invested into pursuing this “relationship”. I told her that I had tolerated being number two for quite a long time, and I really didn’t think I deserved that either. I told her that I didn’t regret what I had done, and tolerated being in that position because I just felt for her as much as I have, but I also made it crystal clear to her that I would not remain to be in such a position of uncertainty any longer. With no chance of returning to Thailand anytime soon, and honestly being tired of being kept on the hook by her, she was to accept the responsibility for making decisions now.

I told her that there were basically two options. The first one being, she could accept my offer and come to see me in Europe in summer. Taking this decision would entail breaking up with her boyfriend and giving us two a chance to pursue this relationship. It also meant that I would make her a part of any future scenario that I am drawing in my mind these days.

The second option was for her to turn down my offer, which would lead to us not meeting again anytime soon, as I could not afford the time to come to see her, nor did I want to be kept on a leash by her any longer. As I had explained to her one week earlier how being in touch with her less had not ridden me of my feelings for her during the previous months, I told her that in order to overcome them I would be left with no other option than cutting ties with her. I made clear to her how I hated the thought of doing this, but nothing else would work for me probably.

When she heard me saying this, tears started to run down her face again, and I told her that I didn’t expect an answer now, but that she would definitely have to make up her mind soon.

Finally we had to leave for the airport, and I reached the check-in desk already rather late as we had lost lots of time in a traffic jam short before reaching the airport. Just like four months earlier, we then found ourselves standing next to the gates leading to the immigration desks. Being late, I already had to hurry to my gate, so I knew we had to say goodbye quickly. That was probably a good thing, as I just hate those kinds of moments. I took her by her arm and led her into a corner hidden from other people’s view. I asked her to hug me one last time, which she did, and while holding her I whispered into her ear that I was dead serious about her coming to see me in summer, just to make sure to drive home the message and make her understand for sure. I quickly kissed her on the cheek, said goodbye, turned around and walked through the gates without looking back…

The flight back home went smooth and I could actually get some good rest. Well, as good as it gets in cattle class I suppose. On the way from the airport to my apartment she called me, but I missed the call. I did call her back when I was back at my place. As always when coming back from a journey, the feeling of being back at my place was dreadful…

During the following days we talked on the phone quite often, and she told me how much she missed having me around. However, she also said she must now get used to living alone again, as she just cannot depend on anybody other than herself there. I told her that I would write her an email, in which I would explain many things to her that I had in mind. I took me two days to finish it, and it turned out to be ten pages long. I pretty much covered everything that was on my mind, and talked about the past, the present, and the future.

I made clear to her once more that it was now her who had it in her hands to give this a chance. I told her that there are no guarantees, but opportunities, and either way almost everything in life is risky.

Most importantly, I told her that I was approaching a crossroad in my life. I will be done with my postgraduate studies within the next three months. Being 26 years of age, there are plenty of options I have in the future. I could choose to continue just the way I have, stick with my top notch job and lead a very comfortable, secure, yet also boringly predictable life. Well, maybe I am ungrateful thinking this way, but this is the way I feel so very often.

So often I just can’t help feeling just as “Casanundra” pointed out in his recent submission “Just why are we here”: “If you have an itch, and you leave it to continue to itch, one day it will just become too damn irritating that you simply have no choice but to go ahead and scratch I vigorously”. Well, I am still young and green compared to many of you more experienced readers out there, yet the truth is, I have been feeling this itch for quite a long time now already. I am definitely in search for greener lands. My life is good, but I just can’t help the feeling that there is something missing. Maybe I need a good slap, too…

I could try to reduce hours at work and use the additional time for travelling more extensively. I could decide to take advantage of my work experience and my newly earned degree by trying for a different job inside or outside my company. I could even decide to leave the country and build up my life somewhere else, as I have dreamt of doing repeatedly for so many years already. I keep on thinking that we only have so little time on this rock called planet Earth that spending it all in one place would be just such a waste. Naivety of the youth or ambitious inspiration, I am not sure. No matter what option I choose, I believe I should decide within the next three years what direction I want my life to take.

Based on these thoughts, I told Nok that I needed to know whether or not I should take her into my consideration when laying out my future in front of me. I was neither saying nor thinking that I would construct my future around her. I just told her that I really needed to know if I should factor her in one way or the other, even if I didn’t know where any of this would lead in detail yet. As I said, there are no guarantees, only opportunities.

She understood what I was telling her very well, and even though she was desperate with the “deadline” that I had presented her with, she said how she had to accept this responsibility now and how I did deserve a quick answer.

Sonkran weekend was coming up, and Nok left to stay with her family up North. I expected her to be busy during those days, and wanted her to enjoy the rare time she has with her family. However, we talked for at least an hour on the phone every single day while she was there. On the last day of Sonkran weekend Nok wrote me a short email. She mentioned how she was sorry for not yet having found the time to get back to me with an answer, as there were so many things she wanted to tell me and just didn’t have the time and privacy to put an email together that covered it all. Also, curiously so she mentioned how she was hanging out with one of her best friends a lot, and how they were talking about getting married in the future, as that was so important to both of them, even though it was not within reach for either one of them yet. Why was she writing me this? This is not exactly something you would write about out of the blue in a ten line long email, especially not in the situation we found ourselves in. Was she trying to find out if I was prepared to marry her? She had popped that question teasingly a few days before while I had been there with her, as I mentioned above. Now she had asked me again indirectly, and I was lost for words.

In the past I had never thought of myself as much of a family man. I value my freedom, witness the daily horrors of my parents 35 year lasting marriage, and actually thought it was irresponsible to raise children in this world we live in. I guess I have to attribute my change in thinking to the feelings I had developed for Nok, and I truthfully wrote to her that she was the first girl I could actually see myself having a family with. Mind you, I never promised anything, nor did I tell her I wanted her to be the mother of my children. All I pointed out was that contrary to my former way of thinking, I could actually consider this to be an option, now as I have gotten to know and love her.

Deep down within I knew what answer to my email I was to expect from her. When I talked to Mike about all of this, I mentioned to him that I thought the odds were probably against me 10 to 1. He disagreed, but that didn’t change my estimation. One of my best friends here was very supportive, even though he had difficulties to understand why I was doing what I was doing. I didn’t expect him to understand, but he was a good listener. He reasoned that if Nok needed such a long time for making up her mind and deciding in my favor, then the whole thing was not worth pursuing anyway. Judging the significance of my proposal to Nok, and the impact that could eventually have on my life, he thought that I should not pursue this relationship any longer if it took her that much time to decide. He rightly asked me: “Do you really want to place your bets on a girl who first generally kept on rejecting you over somebody else for almost a year, and then takes a week to come up with an answer only after you literally having put a knife to her throat?” Ouch, he did hit a very sore spot putting it into perspective like this …

But he wasn’t wrong, and I knew it. Nok had told me in person she was so afraid to take a decision because either way she thought she would regret it for the rest of her life. Well, did I really want to be with a girl who openly admits to probably always having regrets in the future about having given up on somebody else? If I am completely honest to myself, not really!

Yet, I had made my proposition to her, and I stuck with it. Even though I don’t show it openly and sometimes have difficulties to admitting it to myself and also to my best friends, I did and still do love that girl, and I despite everything I was willing to fight for it still. However, it was clear that if I would lose this fight, then I would have to and also should accept my ultimate defeat.

She called me after the weekend, the day after arriving back to Bangkok. Again she mentioned how she had been trying to compose the email, yet didn’t finish it yet. I had decided to give her time coming up with an answer, yet felt like as if the decision had already been taken. So I asked her if she had made up her mind already. If the only reason for the delay was that she was trying to explain her decision properly, she should just not bother and tell me now, as the outcome would be the same anyway. I told her that I expected to know the answer already, as she would hardly hesitate so long if she was about to give me good news. I asked her if I should answer the question for her, if she couldn’t make herself give me the answer. She started crying. In that moment I realized that any hope had been in vain, and had just evaporated into thin air.

We stayed on the phone for another 30 minutes, even though for some minutes none of us said anything. I heard her crying, and I couldn’t help my eyes from getting wet too. Despite me having expected this to happen nothing could have really prepared me for the actual moment of truth. After a while she started to dramatize and said things like “Forget me”, “You deserve better”, “Try to hate me”, and “I am so sorry”. I listened, but didn’t speak much. I was lying in bed, resting my head on the pillow, and staring at the wall opposite of me for the whole time. I told her “goodbye”, intending to hang up yet she pleaded me not to disappear from her life. After a while of neither one of us saying much, I said “Good night my little Nok”, and hung up the phone. I turned off my phones and remained lying in bed for another 20 minutes, still staring at the blank spot on the wall. My mind felt numb, even though there were so many thoughts and feelings rushing through it over and over again. She had rejected me (again), over somebody she called immature and incapable of living with. Over somebody she constantly fights with and could see no future with. Over somebody I could only consider to be a jerk from what I had learnt and heard about him. I guess it was that in particular that hurt and stung my pride. Well, even if this has never really made much sense to me, I guess the fact that I have been chasing her against all odds had never made much sense either.

After a while I got up, and got dressed. I had agreed to me a friend in town that very night, and even though I didn’t feel like going out I believed it would be good to distract myself.

It worked to some extent, but as you might guess I was not the most cheerful company for my friend there. At 3am in the morning Nok sent me a message telling me how she was sorry for hurting me, how she loved me, and how everything that had been between us was real and precious. I didn’t reply. 20 minutes later my buddy Mike sent me a message from Bangkok, telling me that Nok had just called him and talked to him for 15 minutes, most of the time crying.

When I called him back the next morning he told me that Nok had asked him to look after me, and to help me hating her, as it would be easier for me that way. Mike basically called her a fool for letting someone like me slip from her fingers for somebody she thought she actually couldn’t be with. He mentioned how I had been willing to change my life around for her, which was not entirely untrue, but definitely exaggerated the way he put it. The truth is, yes I admit to having considered what options we could have had in the future, if she would have decided for giving us a chance. Mind you, my rational self would not have allowed me to do anything recklessly stupid. Still, as I have so many options, I didn’t think anything was unthinkable.

The same day she sent me another text “I am so worried about you :-(“ to which I didn’t reply either. Actually, after receiving it, I switched off my mobile again for the rest of the day. I was afraid of becoming weak if she called or sent me messages again. I knew how she was caring for me and hated the thought of me suffering just as much as I did hate the thought of her suffering. Yet, there was nothing I could do. I hate to take such extreme measures, but I am afraid if I don’t, I will just never manage to get over her. As long as I still love her the way I do, and carry some hope inside of me that we might have a future together, I cannot be in touch with her. As sad as this makes me right now, I don’t see any other way.

During the following days she kept on calling Mike, asking him how I was doing, if I had talked to him, and crying her eyes out in the process. Mike listened, yet also made it clear to her that it had been her choice, and now she should accept the consequences. When he told me about those phone calls, I did pity her, yet always came to realize that she had brought this onto herself. I never hated her for what she had done, and I cannot hate her now.

Not much later, while I was sitting at my desk writing this story, my phone rang. The number was withheld, and even though I had a feeling it would be her, I picked up, as I do have some friends who often withhold their numbers from being sent when they call. After picking up I immediately noticed it was her, and was about to hang up. Yet I didn’t. What followed was a talk of almost five hours that lasted until 4am in her morning. In the end, I didn’t regret having picked up. I had felt like shit in the afternoon, and was actually more at peace after we had talked. I gave her the chance to explain herself, and I believe it was a fair thing to do. It’s so ironic and absurd that her reasoning for letting me go and her determination in sticking with her decisions are just among exactly those personality traits I like so much about her. Among many other things, she explained that as long as she couldn’t give as much to me as I had been giving to her she just couldn’t be with me, as it would make her feel constantly guilty. I listened to her and could feel she was being sincere, even though people who don’t know her would probably consider this to be just a lame excuse.

We talked about things we had done together, times we had been together, and exchanged memories of how we remembered those situations. We both often had to laugh when we found out how differently we had perceived and experienced them. Our talk was very calm, almost peaceful, yet bittersweet from beginning till end. She repeatedly told me that she loved me. She asked me if I would just allow her to slowly get used to the idea of me not being there for her anymore, by giving her a few days and possibly calling her once more a few days later. I agreed. I didn’t think that three days would make a difference.

So I did call her once more some days later. We talked for three hours about this and that, and actually it felt just like one of those hundreds of telephone conversations we had had throughout the past year. We ended the phone call just saying goodnight to each other, as if we were expecting to talk again the following day.

Mike was due to leave Bangkok for his studies for a couple of weeks the following day. I called and asked him to send Nok a message short before he would leave. I wanted him to let her know that I had been prepared to come and see her on this very weekend, as I had surprisingly been offered by a friend who is a Captain with my home country’s national airline to join him for a cockpit rotation to Bangkok just days before. Given Nok’s decision, I had turned down his offer. I just wanted her to know…

Nok replied to Mike how desperate she was to learn about this. She also mentioned how she would have decided differently if she had had only a few more days’ time, and asked Mike not to tell me about this. Yeah….right! I guess she knew exactly that Mike would go ahead and tell me. His loyalty belongs to me in the first place, and not to her.

I did call her a few days later and asked her why she even mentioned anything like this to Mike. It just seemed absurd, and I was upset thinking that she was playing some kind of a game on me. It took her a while to come out with the answer, and it was actually painful to learn about it, but at least it was truthful. She told me that one day after having made her decision in favor of her boyfriend she went out and bought a ticket to France for summer. She consequently regretted her decision after we had had that 5 hour talk on the phone, and tried to reschedule the flight to my place. As the ticket was neither flexible nor refundable, she didn’t succeed.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was she really saying she stuck with her decision just because of that stupid air ticket she got? After all, I had been prepared to actually pay for her ticket to see me in summer, and now as she bought one for herself to fly to Europe, she thought this was a seemingly insurmountable obstacle of us being together?! I told her that she must be joking, as it would be so easy to get her on a connecting flight to my place. Well, almost needless to mention, it didn’t change a thing. There were still all those other reasons she had mentioned to me earlier.

One thing that I never believed to be much of a factor in all this seems to be certain: Money has obviously never been much of a driving issue. So many times it has been mentioned how Thai girls are often only in love with a guy’s wallet rather than primarily with the person. I was more than generous with Nok and enjoyed every minute of it. I offered her a free air ticket and free vacation in Europe in summer, yet she preferred to pay for it on her own, and I know she must have saved for almost a year now to get the money together. Her boyfriend still lives with his parents and from what I know makes probably less than a third of what I net. And still…

I remember getting so much good advice from fellow Stickman readers after my previous two submissions, and I am grateful for it. I believe many of you will think now how I should have seen this coming, and how I should have turned my back on her much earlier to avoid the pain I am feeling now. I had been advised not to return to Bangkok to see her, as I would most likely only get burned even more badly. I chose to accept that risk.

Despite all the drama and emotional turmoil of the past weeks and months, I can now look back at almost two weeks of being with her that I would not want to have missed in my life. And no, I am not a masochist. In so many ways it was worth it, and I have few regrets. I gave it my all and fought like a lion, but it just hasn’t been enough. That’s life I suppose, and I have learned yet another lesson. Yes, it hurts very much right now. The thought of her flying to France to meet him in two months from now drives me nuts. I keep on wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t cancelled the weekend trip to Bangkok with my pilot friend, as she got herself the air ticket to France on that very weekend. I go through up and downs, and sometimes feel as if I have just lost more than I can ever win again. Deep within I know this is not true, but it is just as true that I have never cared for or loved anyone more than I have loved this girl.

Generally speaking, I have always been very lucky in my life, and I am trying to tell myself that life pushing me away from Nok now some day will turn out to be part of that luck. It’s hard to believe in it now, but I am trying to make myself think like that.

I am not sure what will happen in the next weeks, months, and years. Everything feels so fresh still and I need time to regain my balance. I believe this has been the final chapter of this story, yet that was what I thought in December too. One thing I am certain of: I will meet her again some day, and once we will have overcome the strong feelings of the recent past, I hope to be able to look at her as a close friend, and somebody I can really appreciate to have in my life. I want it to be that way, and actually know she feels the same way.

Many might think I am just another moron whose mind has gotten toppled over by strong emotions, and I cannot blame them. My mind did get fogged by the infamous “Thai nebula”. This I don’t deny.

How could I invest so much into someone who was cheating her boyfriend and kept on lying to me? How could I think a relationship could ever work if there was a lack of trust, and so many doubts? No matter what anybody may think or so, I actually do believe that besides her faults this girl is special, and yes, different. She proved to be in many ways.

Thanks for bearing with me. It felt good to get all this off my chest, and I am already curious what I will think reading this some 10 or 15 years down the road. It’s about time for me now to go into emotional hibernation mode, and put my heart to rest for a while. I am not sure yet how I will manage to do this, but cross your fingers for me I will manage well…

As usual, I highly appreciate your thoughts and comments. If I just may ask for thing, I wish that those few people out there who wrote to me last time to call me names and accuse me of being a dirty sex tourist because the girl I dared to fall in love with was Thai would spare me their mental garbage. Thank you…

Stickman's thoughts:

We thought the story had finished once before and it continued….will it re-start again?

nana plaza