Journey of Despair & Hope Chapter 2
In my first installment I recounted how I met her, and undertook to pay for her to attend beauty school as a way out of the bar scene. Although we’d certainly been intimate, at the time I didn’t really see her as my girlfriend. I simply
thought I’d help her out of the bar scene before she got in too far, and if she met a nice man down the track, well that was fine…
But I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I missed her – every waking moment back in NZ. The unhappy state of my marriage only seemed to intensify these feelings. I had to see her…I resolved next time to visit longer and really get to know her. I’d fallen madly in love – and mad would prove the operative word..
I emailed her and SMSed her a few times. There was often a delay of a day or so before she replied but I thought nothing of it. Another job interview for me came up in Asia, and when combined with some minor medical attention at the local Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital I had my excuse for an extended visit of almost three weeks. Again she met me at the airport, smiling, full of affection. I would stay in her room above the school for the duration. It was bliss…
But every now and again little things rang a discordant note. We were having dinner, she excused herself to go to the toilet and came back thirty minutes later “I talk to my friend”. Next night we went to Tony’s and she disappeared so long I contemplated leaving. And her hours at Beauty School – well she wanted to be with me, and the school didn’t mind – but what kind of school was it where students could come and go as they pleased?
On the third day she did go to school and as I had a key, I found myself in her room alone after my last medical appointment. It began innocently. I needed some nail clippers and I opened the drawer in her dressing table to see if she had some. While rummaging a photo caught my eye – it was her, on the back of a jet ski with another man. Well maybe it was from before…but why had she kept it? And what was with the disappearing acts to talk on the phone away from me? My suspicions aroused, I illicitly accessed her email. There – a long, loving email to Roy in the Middle East, identical to one she’d sent me, and worse it was written in reply to his earlier email reminiscing of the days they’d spent together only a couple of weeks previously, and how they’d met at the gogo bar she was supposed to have given up. I was gutted. She’s told me all lies. I printed every email and waited for her to return.
She walked in the room and I closed the door. “What’s wrong darling?”
“Tell me the truth”, I demanded. “I know you are still working and seeing other men. If you tell me the truth, there is a chance we can stay friends, but if you lie, we are finished.”
“I go Beauty School now, I not see other men, why you say this…?
I pleaded with her again, just tell me the truth, she continued to protest she was. I threw the emails down on the bed in front of her. “I read your email and know how you “f***ed Roy!” She went very quiet. I was in a rage now. I punched the wall and she broke down.
“Why did you lie to me? You don’t love me! You only want money!”
“No, she pleaded. I love you”.
“Why do you still work at the club after I paid your beauty school fees, and pay for all your needs?”
“My friends say I must go back – cannot leave unless pay money to mamasan”.
“Bullsh*t!” I retorted. How can they make you pay money? You are a free woman, you can leave anytime you want! You write same words to Roy you write to me. You say you love him…!”
“No, I love you, but you not understand. My friends say you married man, I cannot believe you will look after me. They say I must go back.”
“Forget it. Everything you say is lies. Now you just try to get more money from me. We are finished.”
“I’m sorry. I love you. They say I must go back. You can go and ask mamasan…”
I looked at her, tears running down her face, and my resolve cracked. <Oh, you sad, bloody idiot – Stick> Then I had an idea. I had an Australian friend with a Thai wife – perhaps she could talk to my girl and make some sense of the situation with the club. I called her, explained, and then they had a long conversation in Thai. My friend then spoke to me and said that the club had a policy that if a girl left with farang support, there was a 20,000 baht release fee. I protested that this was absurd. But my Thai friend in Australia was persuaded – she said that the clubs were run by people tied up with the Thai Mafia and they could make trouble for my girlfriend. <This is all a croc of shit! You NEVER have to pay such a fee – Stick>
I had a firm discussion with my girl. She could have me or she could have the other life but not both. She had to finish with the club and with other men. She must write to Roy and tell him she has a boyfriend now and not to contact her again. She had to turn over and destroy in front of me any other addresses or photos or other bar related memorabilia. The latter she did immediately – not seeming to try and hide anything, producing a couple more photos, some email printouts and some email addresses which I destroyed.
To cut this part of the story short, next day we sent an email to Roy. Then we went to the club where I paid the money and got a receipt. I later found out this was more or less another scam – the club gave over half the money back to my girl. The remainder of the week passed with nothing but doting affection from her. Then she told me, “I go home Nakhon Phanom for sister’s birthday”.
Immediately I wondered. “I come with you”, I replied.
“Cannot”, she replied. “You married.” The gist of her explanation was that her parents knew nothing of recent life in the bar, and it was impossible for her to turn up with a farang in tow unless she had prepared them and there
was a commitment to marriage. We agreed I would travel overnight with her as far as Mukdahan, and then I would spend the day at a hotel there, while she went to her sister’s birthday before returning to Pattaya with me the following evening.
And that was what transpired – except that she brought her five year old sister back with her for a week and that put a damper on some of our daytime activity (mercifully, little sister slept soundly at night!)
My interviews completed, medical consultations complete, it was time to go home. The second night I was home, she did not answer her phone when I called. A few days later when I checked her email she’d changed the password. I was still able to get in but I felt sick…and when I asked her about it on the phone I could get no sensible explanation – although her English had never been adequate for a decent phone conversation.
The following days I was in emotional turmoil. I checked out her employment history via a Thai HR contact in Bangkok – on that score everything she had told me was true, and she was indeed a recent arrival on the bar scene. I enlisted a Bangkok
PI company and asked them to assist me to determine whether she was attending beauty school and whether the school was genuine, and whether she had returned to the club or was seeing other men – what did she do at night? My initial contact
there made all kinds of assurances – but after a payment of 21,000 baht and before investigation actually began he inexplicably was off the case and ten days had passed before the work was contracted out to a PI in Pattaya. <Sorry to keep interrupting, but you paid how much? I could have done it for MUCH less – Stick> The PI came back with two disturbing bits of news. The first was that the school was a scam – the “students” were actively encouraged to seek out farangs who then financed the “study”
and the school took commissions from the students for the “time off” they were with farangs. Secondly, but hearsay only, my girl – or someone with the same nickname was still at the gogo bar and had been barfined, and they
could not locate her. The PI admitted there was not yet 100% proof it was the same girl but the fact they could not locate her was strongly circumstantial. He suggested pretending to be an ex-client or someone referred and try to set up a “date”
by email whereupon he could get incriminating photos.
Meanwhile she was emailing me protestations of love, requesting my trust – and then – a request for help – 90,000 baht to repay a family debt. I didn’t know what to think. Was it another lie to suck more money from me? Or was it genuine – and perhaps the reason she’d gone to work in the bar…?
I still wanted proof – and was prepared to go down the entrapment route, photos at or outside the club or with a farang would do it, but proof was to be elusive and expensive. A few days passed and the PI was still unable to locate her, but she was responding to my text messages. Meanwhile my anxiety had got the better of me so I booked another flight to Thailand and arranged to meet the PI in Pattaya in person. I told my girl I would arrive Friday 18th and leave Saturday 19th, would she meet me. She asked me to come another weekend – she had a wedding upcountry and was leaving on the Friday I arrived. Again I was suspicious but when I remonstrated with her and told her I could not change my flight she agreed to meet me. I planned to arrive a day early and surprise her!
My first port of call was a meeting with the Pattaya PI who still had no evidence but gave me the benefit of his long experience – a good bargirl yet to be met – touched with some personal bitterness and tragedy. He agreed to continue the work – for another 15,000 baht
When I arrived mid afternoon at the school on Thursday she was not immediately visible. However the school was a rabbit warren and I could hardly search it. I let myself into her room and within an hour she had turned up, smiling, apparently so happy to see me. We began to make love…and then some time into it as I probed her with my tongue…the faint olfactory remnant of condom…or was I imagining….?
Anyway I could not continue. “What’s wrong darling?” she asked. “You tell me”, I replied. She did not understand so I launched into a version of the lecture I’d used when my children were young about the level of punishment being more severe if lies were told. “Tell me the truth “I demanded, but she merely protested her innocence. An hour of third-degree made little progress. We went for dinner.
On return to her room about 8pm she had a call. I hadn’t told her I’d begun learning Thai from a book and tape set. I couldn’t understand much of the conversation but I got the gist of it. A Thai woman on the phone (perhaps a hotel receptionist) was asking her to return to the man she’d been with at a hotel and she was saying she could not as she was with another farang. When she finished the call, I confronted her savagely and she broke down and told me – she’d been with another man, who she claimed had approached her when she was at dinner with some friends from the bar. She was adamant she was not at the bar. After raging a while I began to pack my bags, her begging all the while that she loved me, she only did for money because she had to pay her family debt and she did not know if I would help because I was still married. I paused. “Open all your drawers and show me everything”. She did but nothing incriminating was evident. She cried most of the night, begging me to forgive her.
Early next morning it struck me. “You take me to your locker at school and open and give me everything” I demanded.
“The school has key” she replied.
“Then we go and get key”, and I marched her down to the school reception, my wrath on display for all to see. Not good form in Thailand but I didn’t care. Eventually the key was produced and there in her locker were more emails –
to Roy – commenced from a new email address only two days after I’d first caught her out. Another storm of words. Then down to the internet café and I wrote to Roy myself, told him the whole story, copying her emails so that
he’d know she knew what was happening. He replied next day saying he was unsurprised and wishing me luck.
When we returned to her room above the school, we passed one of the older women who was frequently in attendance and clearly knew the score “He knows everything”, the basic gist of her remark.
The crazy thing was I still couldn’t let go despite the complete destruction of trust. Somehow, I still believed that she did actually care for me but she couldn’t quite believe that I could be relied on, married as I was and depending on my wife to care for my stepchildren until I sorted it out.
Later that day I contacted the Pattaya PI and arranged to bring her to a venue where he could get some fresh photos and be 100% certain of future identification. It was miserable afternoon. We talked that evening and I set some ground rules. As soon as the Beauty Course was over she would leave Pattaya. Agreed. She would always keep her phone on. Agreed. Next day I flew out again, via Singapore. She came to the airport, held me like a limpet, assuring me of her undying love and remorse…
I called her from Singapore. She answered. We talked. Then the plane was delayed and I called her again. No answer. On the plane I tried to call her repeatedly.
Again no answer. I cannot explain the desperation and despair I felt on that flight home. How on earth could I love so much someone like this. I knew it was stupid. But I was helpless.
This is a really good series….part 3, please!
BTW, those prices the Pattaya PI charged you are outrageous. Even as someone Bangkok-based, I charge much less for Pattaya based jobs.