The ‘Wrong’ Bargirl
Yes, yes, say what you will, but this one is different. Believe me.
Read on, learn a little as I did, and be happy.
As is the case with many of these tales, this one also begins in Pattaya, during, I might add, the Songkran holiday. The Areca Lodge in Soi Diana is always welcoming, and I have been staying there for hundreds of years, and nothing was changing this time either. The evening came fast and so the race to the jungle began, and stopped about 20 yards from the hotel for no other reason than to sit down in one of those beer bars and get a Heineken down as fast as possible so I could continue my tour of Soi 7 and 8 in a mellow mood.
She came and sat by me, said hello and her name was Ann. 'Ok', says I, and see a girl who just didn't belong in a beer bar. I asked, she said she was 30, and she was petite. 'Christ!', I'm thinking, 'I've been 16 years in Japan, 2 years in the Philippines, 3 years in Thailand and I'm thinking like this now?' So I stopped thinking, bar-fined her, drank up and continued my tour with her in tow.
Now, she wasn't exceptionally pretty, but had an air. Yes lads, she was attractive, and quiet, always holding my hand, and, bless her, she drank Heineken.
Two days later, she was still with me, and not once did she mention the dreaded 'LOVE' word. She told me about her kid and she asked me on several occasions if I was married, which I am not, and she was asking if I was living with a woman in Bangkok, which I'm not either, and then she came out with the big one. 'Can I be your girlfriend?' Well, Yours Truly has been in this situation approximately 378,143 times before, and so, just because she seemed so different from those other 378,143 things, I decided to be plain, bare-faced honest.
'Ann, you're a lovely, sweet girl and I enjoy your company, but think about it from my side. You sell sex, and it will be very, very difficult for me to forget how we met, and even more difficult to have 100% 'trust' relationship. Please understand.'
There, it was out, it was said, and I was hoping I hadn't destroyed her. She went quiet, maybe even thoughtful, well, as thoughtful as a Thai girl can get, and she piped back with, 'What shall I do so I can be your girlfriend?'
Well, bugger me. I was thrown out of stride. Deciding to stay with honesty is the best policy, I told her that it wasn't for me to tell her what to do with her life, but to find out what is good for herself. Again, a quiet moment, then it was back to 'We go eat now, no have power anymore'. Bless her again.
And that was it. She didn't mention anything about that again, and me, being the dopey farang, was thinking that she'd probably forgotten about the conversation 5 minutes after the first beer went down her throat.
She disappeared for about 2 hours on the last day together, and re-appeared with an English / Thai dictionary (Lord only knows why she decided to get one 2 hours before I had to go back to Bangkok), but never once opened it. Just another scatty thing that makes these Thai things so cute. We hit the little bar across the road before my car arrived, and polished off a crate or two of beer before goodbyes were said.
As I was getting into the car, she just flung her arms round my neck and held on. And held on. I extracted myself, kissed her cheek, ruffled her hair, and slap my face and call me Stanley, the poor girl was crying. Not big sobs, no 'I not forget you long time', none of the 'I want stay with you more'. Nothing at all. Except for those tears. Car door gets shut, I look away, then look back as the car pulls out of the car park. She wasn't waiting, or waving, she was heading back to the 2nd road with a towel against her face.
As soon as we'd passed Amata Nakorn, I was back in work mode, with the Songkran holiday being stored in the memory vaults. Life, as always, goes on, and the world turns a little more. Which is just what it did in early June. I get a phone call one afternoon, the obviously female voice sounded familiar when she asked if it was me on the other end. 'Yes, it most certainly is' and she says 'It's Ann.' Being relatively unshockable, I got into stride and asked her how she is, about Pattaya etc to which she only said something to the effect of 'I can see you again one day? Cos I miss you same I miss my child'.
Bugger again. I told her I'd call her next time I was in Pattaya.
Today is the 3rd of October, and I haven't been back to Pattaya since Songkran. So I hear you all say, 'you haven't bloody phoned her, have you?' No, lads, I haven't, and to tell the truth, had forgotten about even saying that. But then again, I didn't need to phone her. Last night, as a good friend and I were solving the world's problems over Jack Daniels and finding cures for cancer and Ebola, my phone rings. 'Is that you?'
'Yes, Ann? Is that you?'
'Yes, I happy.'
'Good. Always good to be happy.'
'I get my paper.'
'I get my paper, from University. Finish my school, have test in Bangkok and get my paper already.'
Flabbergasted again. The girl had stopped working the bar, used her money she'd saved to finish her studies, and she had done it. Then came the slap in the face. . .
'I call you, cos want say thank you to you.'
'Err, ok, what for? Why say thank you to me?'
'Cos if you not talk to me many things, I still working lady bar.'
Lads, that joyous moment last night cannot even come close to being described. Another lesson learned, although this time it had a very happy ending.
At last, a positive ending – great stuff!