Readers' Submissions

Delightful Ning Back In Farangland 9 – The Proposal 2



Fortunately, at the Health Center, they have another number for me to dial, where they actually know that I have been HIV-tested, and yes, they have my result, but no, they won't reveal anything on the telephone. I have to come. I can come right now. Right now I would really like to finish urgent work in the office, but fancy that, there are even more urgent things than my work: "I’ll be there in 30 minutes", I speak into the phone and change dress. Luckily Ning is just chatting with some family in Asia, so she is only beaming and waving and not too concerned when I leave the house hurriedly. To fake another insurance trip, I even carry a useless folder.

Little do I know that from the next submission on she'll pass series of tests, including HIV, where of course she is negative, which quite likely renders me negative too.

— TRIP 2 —

Back in the Health Center’s car park, I take off the ring again, and into the wallet with it. It's another doctor this time. First thing I see is a lab paper on his table, and I read "negative". The doctor says "negative, that's positive" and that's that. I talk about the echinococcosis again, probably contracted from our blueberry orgy in the fields, maybe we don't have HIV but echinococcosis? This doctor says the risk is very very low if you just eat some berries. Only hunters and furriers are at risk. "I eat blueberries in the wild all the time", says this doctor!

Maybe Ning and I are completely healthy? Maybe there are no more real obstacles to marrying her, after more than 30 months of sponsoring THAI? I'll drive home and put an end to my wandering.

I will ask her, “Ning, do you want to be my wife forever”?

She will say, "yes, my dear, I am so happy".

I am happy to concentrate on only one woman from now on, on only my Ning, Ning, NING!

In a super good mood, AIDS-free, I walk back to the car, bouncing up and down like a tennis star after a Wimbledon 3:0.

Driving back, I stop at a flower shop. I look around for 15 minutes and choose a small, unobtrusive rose bouquet that will look fine on the dinner table. When I go to pay I notice that the shop lady has been watching and heartily smiling at me for the whole time – just like the compassionate flower ladies on provincial SE Asian markets who prepared all the bunches of roses I brought for my local Nings, Norahs, Nuis, Nahlees, Nois, Leks, Phuongs etc. Well, that's over, I am mono now, and I am glad!

Oh, and when I pay at the flower shop I notice another piece of metal lurking in my wallet. Back in the car with the flowers, I put Ning’s “remember-me” ring on again.

— AT HOME 3 —

Back home! Funny, it really feels more like coming "home" this time when I turn around the bend. Now that we'll marry soon.

The sun is shining brightly. Out on the driveway: Ning, my future wife, removing two or three leaves and a snail that disturb her sense of cleanliness. Ning is shining brightly too, a big warm Asian welcoming smile for her man. For her future husband! She doesn't know I had had worries about our health. She doesn't know I lied to her. She doesn't know I brought roses. She doesn't know I brought the roses for a very special reason. She doesn't know that right after lunch we'll both be on the phones to bring the happy news to friends and families east and west.

There is just one more easy question we still have to solve before I go ahead and make her my wife.

— AT HOME 4 —

I know, I should be easier, not always think so much, spend my life in worries and scepticism, but still I have to ask her that anyway.

Over lunch, I start it like this: "Dear, just for example, you understand, JUST FOR EXAMPLE: I know you have to take care for your father and for some family members. I know it's not easy for you to come to Europe for a few months, because you also want to work in your country to make money to keep your family in good care."

This was only the preamble. I continue:

"Now EXAMPLE, dear, JUST EXAMPLE, ok: We marry, and you stay in Farangland long time. How much money should I pay monthly for your family in Asia?"

Ten seconds later I know: That was that. I can't afford her. I won't even start to negotiate.

Yes, I’ll depart her in the next submission.

Stickman's thoughts:

What?! Really?!