Stickman Readers' Submissions April 5th, 2007

Love Lost 3

China Hotel Guide
• Spring Hotel Beijing
• Suyuan Jin Jiang Hotel Beijing
• Yue Xiu Hotel Beijing
• Zhongmin Plaza Hotel

I loved your comment at the end of Part 2, Stick. I’m not a Catholic but two things I believe in are the power of prayer and the benefits of confession. I doubt that the reason for my belief in these practices would match with your other readers. We won’t address the first but, since you mentioned it, confession can be a wonderful thing, especially if one is confessing to strangers and need not worry about meeting them. The Church made a mistake, though, with its’ approach to confession. Confession was instituted by the Church not for the benefit of those confessing but for the priests. As humans, we need a certain amount of wickedness in our lives. It’s an unfortunate fact but it’s true. The Church, however, saw fit to impose celibacy and other unnatural restrictions on its’ priests. This is why the concept of confession was originated. By allowing the priests to hear of the wicked ways of their parishioners, it permitted them to experience wickedness and live it vicariously. This was how they intended for the priests to be able to control wholly unnatural acts that inhabit the heart of man. What they didn’t take into account, however, was the fact that the parishioners would be uncomfortable telling their darkest secrets to someone who knew them. The confessional ceased to be the tell-all venue that the Church had imagined it to be. As a result of this, the priests were not able to experience the necessary level of wickedness in their lives to enable them to control their impulses. Children are always the most vulnerable members of any society and pedophiles, having naturally gravitated toward the Church due to the position of respect and unquestioned authority, soon began to act on their impulses and desires. We all know the consequences of this. The Church has been embroiled in scandal for years. I implore all good Catholics to unburden their souls in confessional. You will see a most remarkable change in the Church if you do this. I realize that I am asking a difficult thing of you but, please, remember that the child you save may be your own.

And now back to my story….

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About three to three and a half months after I had sent Nok back to Thailand, my friend called me. Let’s call him Somchai. It feels stupid to keep referring to him as my friend and Somchai seems to be a common name used to refer to poo chai in these stories. I have known Somchai for some time. He worked with my company in the US before deciding that he wanted to try his hand at achieving his success back home. He has also known Nok for quite some time too. I believe his judgment to be sound. Even with what had happened, which he knew nothing about, he was still trying to get me and Nok back together. If he saw something good in her and he believed we were meant to be together, I felt that it was not merely some flight of fancy on his part. One day Somchai called. This was unusual. Usually we communicated through email, SMS or IM. If he was calling, it was important. He told me that there was something wrong with Nok and that he was very concerned about her. He implored me to come back to Bangkok. Had it been anyone else, I wouldn’t have done it but I had never known Somchai to exaggerate or show bad judgment in his dealings with me. I couldn’t just take off, though, because I didn’t work for myself. It took me about a week to get back to Bangkok. Arriving at midnight, I was greeted by my friend and we spent the night catching up on a great many things.

The next day I called Nok. I didn’t recognize her when she answered; she didn’t sound anything at all like herself. Once she knew it was me, though, there was a change in her. I’m not sure if it was hope or relief that I heard in her voice but I knew that Somchai had been correct to call me. We met for lunch and we’ve been together ever since. Not physically together, as I did have to return to the US, but definitely in spirit.

The problem that Nok was having was that one of her uncles was dying and she was torn as to whether she should go to the hospital to see him before he passed away. I could see that she was really struggling with this and wondered what was going on with her. For the moment, I didn’t want to pry too much but I kept trying to persuade her to go see him. Regardless of whatever reason she had for not wanting to go, it was obvious that she needed to go. She just hadn’t accepted that yet. Over the next few days, I just went about getting reacquainted with her. She wanted so much to talk and it was better than the letters we had been sharing. Don’t get me wrong, a well-written letter can be a beautiful thing. Still, the fact remained that I was again in love with her and being together just felt so natural. I had no idea how much time her uncle had left but didn’t see any reason to push her into something she wasn’t ready for.

We finally went to the hospital to see Leung. I was surprised to find him in his room and what a room it was. It was a suite and was it sweet. I guess if you have money there’s no need to bother with an ICU unit. Actually, it turns out that Leung had turned the corner and wasn’t going to die after all. We hadn’t known that at the time. In the room were Leung, naturally, Pa (auntie), Ko (male cousin) and Ii (female cousin). Note that her name sounded, to me, just like ‘I’ but we can’t have two I’s in the story. There were a couple of nurses fussing over Leung for a bit and then they left. At that point, Ko came over and hugged Nok. I guess that was a mistake because all hell broke loose after that. She started hitting him and yelling at him and he just ducked and ran for cover. Pa started saying something and Nok started in on her too. By now, the nurses had come running back into the room and Nok quickly chased them off. She now turned on Leung and was just chewing him a new ass. I would have given anything to know Thai at that time. Whatever was happening was a long time in coming and she wasn’t holding anything back. Pa started in again and Ii jumped in the middle of it and, now, both Nok and Ii were going at Pa. Ko just remained out of the way and kept quiet, as did I. When Pa finally backed down, Nok turned on Leung again. The women, Nok included, were all crying. Leung had started to say something once or twice but never did. Whether it was due to being weakened or because he just thought better of it, I don’t know. Then Nok did something I could never have imagined. She spit in his face before storming out of the room. She said “let’s go” as she passed me and I hurried after her. I almost felt as if I should have apologized for something before I left because I was obviously an intruder. Nok was already headed for the elevator and the nurses almost collided with me, in their haste to get back inside, as I left the room. That night we didn’t sleep. We talked all night and I heard all the gory details of a family secret that had weighed on her for too long; one that she had never been able to tell anyone. Over the next several days, Ii also spent a lot of time with us and confirmed everything. Plus, she had a little unburdening of her own to do. Nok’s problem, the one that Somchai had detected, was one hell of a problem. She knew she needed to confront Leung but she had been afraid to go see him. Knowing that he was dying was eating at her because, as much as she would have liked for him to have died, she knew she could never get beyond what he had done to her if she didn’t confront him. Because she was afraid to face him, she felt certain that he would die before she could do what needed to be done.

Nok had a loving father. Maybe he loved her too much. She was pampered and spoiled by him. And she came to see to see all the males in her life as she had seen her father. He, however, died when she was 12. Her mother, thinking she would have a better life with her (rich) uncle, had sent her to stay with them not long after her father’s death. At first, everything was wonderful. Ii was 3 years older than Nok and it was she, apparently, who was the object of Leung’s desire at the moment. Over the next 3 years, Nok knew something wasn’t right but she wasn’t exactly sure what it was. When she turned 15, she found out. On her 15th birthday, Leung switched his attention to her. She was, naturally, confused by what had happened. Her uncle had been, for the first 3 years, just as loving as her father and she didn’t really understand what was happening at first. Eventually, she just accepted it and looked forward to the day that she would go off to University. She came to realize that Leung had taken the same liberties with his own daughter and that the whole family knew but did nothing. For that, she loathed them all. All except Ii. Just like Ii, this ended when she went off to University and she was just glad that there were no other girls in his home for this to happen to. Even though Leung was paying for everything, she never returned to that home that had become her own personal hell. She would make nice and talk to the family only as much as was required to make sure that the funds were not cut off. She had suffered enough, she figured, and was going to take full advantage of the educational opportunities afforded her. She never wanted to be in the position of being dependent on another man. She excelled in her studies. I’ve found her to be extremely bright and intelligent and she applied herself fully to her education. Not knowing how long Leung’s financial generosity would continue, she focused completely on her studies. For his part, I’m sure he felt guilty about his actions. So much so, I think, that he would have paid for anything. Nok took full advantage of this and, after completing her Bachelor’s degree, applied for a Master’s program in another country. I won’t name the country but many will know which one it is. It is an English speaking country with a generally warm climate. While attending University there, for the first time, she allowed herself to have a boyfriend. Of course, her choice in men wasn’t so good at this point and he didn’t treat her too well. She ended the relationship at the end of her first year there and, again, focused solely on her education.

I met her after she had completed her studies abroad. She wasn’t sure, at the time, whether to continue in a Doctoral program or go to work. So she returned to Thailand to take a short break and figure out what she wanted to do. And you know pretty much what happened from that point. So, now, I just want to fill in a little of the holes that are still there.

Obviously, she had trust issues with men. When I left Thailand without her, her first thought was that I had been lying to her and that she wasn’t going to see me again. By chance, she ran into her ex-boyfriend who was now in Thailand. To this day, he is teaching English in Bangkok. It’s not hard to see how she could have ended up in bed with him. As the daily calls started, though, she once again chose to hope that I was for real. Since she didn’t actually like the guy, having already learned something about the kind of person he was, it makes you wonder why it happened. When you know her background, though, I’m surprised that she wasn’t more screwed up than she seemed. This one I couldn’t have seen. I wasn’t even in Thailand at the time. The big question people had was about Dave. Was it possible that I could have not seen it? If so, how dumb did I have to be? Fair questions. I didn’t see it and, yes, I was dumb. Not for having missed it but for creating the atmosphere in which it could happen. There is one period out of the year where my work fairly demands all of my time for a period lasting from one to two months. If we had not had visa problems, Nok would not have been in my home during that time as she had only come to the US on a B-2 tourist visa. Since we did have problems, there she was and there wasn’t much I could do about it. Truth be told, she was basically neglected by me for 6 weeks. Sure, I would call her from work and we would talk when I got home but it was so little. I was out of the house before dawn and back after dark. How I missed it is not hard to understand knowing that. I’m not sure I could have done anything to prevent it, though, given her history. What happened to set her off, anyway? As I said, I would call her from work all the time. Usually I would go outside, away from everyone else, so as to have a little quiet and some privacy. We worked hard during this time and it wasn’t unusual for little impromptu parties to be held. One night it was raining and, as luck would have it, a little party had started. I wasn’t going to stand in the rain while I spoke with her so I tried to find as quiet a spot as possible from which to call her. While I was talking to her, some of my loud-mouth, slightly inebriated coworkers came looking for me. You can figure out the rest. She thought I was out partying and screwing around on her. Dave found her crying and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Obviously I needn’t specify any details of the abuse. Her outburst at the hospital was a tremendous step for her and it was also a great help to Ii. It gave her the chance to also confront her father. That family suffered a terrible loss of face in the hospital that day but Nok and Ii are so much better off for it. They’re also very close now. Nok never blamed Ii but, still, they were estranged. Ii, however, blamed herself. When I said she had some unburdening of her own to do, this was it: she had been ashamed of herself all these years, not because of her father’s actions, but because of her own. She knew what was going to happen to Nok when she left and she had done nothing to help her. She was, in fact, relieved when her own molestation had stopped. The worst thing was, she said, that she had secretly hoped that it would end earlier even though she knew that meant that it would have started for Nok. The pain of her situation had been so great that she had wished it on someone else. For that, she had not been able to forgive herself. Nok fully understood everything she had said and, whether true or not, had offered that she would have probably done the same had their roles been reversed. I don’t think she would have. I think she was just displaying a compassion that I have seen in her many times. I know that this is one question I will never ask her.

To know what has transpired since that visit, you’ll have to wait for Part 4.

Until next time…

Stickman's thoughts:

Sorry, ran out of time today so no comments.

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