Stickman Readers' Submissions May 9th, 2007

Tuesday Tirak

China Hotel Guide
• Lin Tong Hotel
• New Phoenix Town Hotel Shanghai
• Golden Riverview Hotel
• Kelamayi Petroleum Hotel

I am awake and I am excited. It is not quite seven; I can’t believe how good I feel. I have a couple of hours to get ready. It is Tuesday; Zi is coming.

I take my coffee out to the balcony for a smoke, glancing around my place to make sure it’s clean. I won’t smoke inside this morning and I leave the balcony door open to air the place out. The place looks good, having spent
three hours last night tidying up while rocking out to some old tunes. I know Zi will notice everything; she will check the cabinet where I used to keep my liquor, inventory the fridge, check the trash for an over abundance of cigarette butts
and will count my condoms.

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I want Zi to know I am doing well. That has not always been the case. I went through a period when I first moved here that I am still embarrassed about. The first Tuesday Zi showed up at my door, she was a blurred, surreal apparition. I had
not seen her for months, not since I made the big move and I had no idea she knew where I lived.

She had shoved me aside and let loose with a barrage of Thai at the girl sleeping on the floor in the living room. I could not quite grasp the girl's name nor remember how long she had been there. I started to say something, when Zi
slapped me and said “go shower”. I went.

I stood in the shower; my heart beating fast and my head pounding. God! I felt awful; I didn’t think I could feel worse; then I vomited. Hacking and coughing, shooting bile and food bits out of my nose; I was sure Zi could hear each
sound and I wanted to die. I let the water pelt my head while I pushed mysterious bits through the drain grate with my toes and reality began to seep into my consciousness. It was the reality of a physical numbness and dull throb along with the
realization that Zi was here. How could that be, I wondered. My emotions were confused and intense, which should not have been such a surprise, after all, I loved Zi; didn’t I?

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I threw on my robe, opened the bathroom door and stood listening to the silence. Venturing into the living room, I realized I was alone. I saw there was a shot or so left of vodka and drank the warm, quick liquid from the bottle, then grabbed
a can of tomato juice, a beer and my smokes and made it to my recliner.

I had met Zi a few years ago on one of my first trips to Thailand; when I actually started to venture out to some of the bar areas. I was in a tiny bar near Nana at midday and the only customer. There were two girls ostensibly working, but
neither dressed or acted like bar girls, spoke zero English and appeared fairly clueless. They were obviously friends, sticking very close to each other; the bartender saying they were from the same village. Zi was cute, a bit shy and reserved,
but tried to be hospitable with cool towels and a smiling attentiveness. Zi’s friend was homely and shy to the point of appearing fearful. I did not pay that much attention to them as I was conversing with the bartender who spoke English
very well. After a couple of relaxing hours, I struck out to find adventure.

By one o’clock, I was half drunk, bored and a little lonely and remembered the cute, friendly girl named Zi. Back in the little bar, I was again their only customer. How in the world these places make any money, I wondered. I bought
Zi, her friend and the bartender drinks. Zi seems pleased that I came back and her shy friend even grinned at me. Being inexperienced in the ways of Bangkok’s nightlife; I just laughed when the bartender asked if I was going to “pay
bar” for Zi. I then realized Zi was looking at me expectantly and her friend was also looking at me waiting for some kind of response. Okay I said; I will pay for both and one more drink for us.

It is not clear what I must have been thinking; I was not attracted to Zi’s friend at all, but thought I might hurt her feelings if I just went with Zi. I did not speak any Thai and neither girl spoke any English so I thought they
would be more comfortable together. A bit of titillation set in as we walked to the hotel, speculating as to where this would lead. I had never been with two girls before.

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Zi and her friend went straight into the bathroom and after awhile only Zi came out. We had fun together; making out like teenagers. I really liked her. Zi then went into the bathroom and her friend came out. She was wrapped in a towel and
still wearing her jeans. One look in her eyes and I knew this evening was not fantasy material. Fetching Zi from the bathroom, we all snuggled up and slept. All shyness aside, even Zi’s friend seemed to appreciate being held and having
someone to hold.

The next day I continued my itinerary, off to travel around the countryside. I thought often about Zi, which put a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Returning to Bangkok, I went straight to see her and we stayed together until my
holiday was over.

I came to Thailand every three or four months for three or four weeks. Zi and I always spent this time together. We did all of the Thai girl/Farang activities together; trips to Chang Mai, Pattaya, visiting Wats, riding elephants, dining,
going to movies and shopping.

I watched Zi learn and evolve, becoming a bit sophisticated, her dress more stylish and sexy, her English improving. I was learning as well, to be what…a farang I guess. I was coached on the internet and Zi by her new bar girl friends.
It was never my intent to “outsmart” Zi, to establish any sort of exclusivity or allude to any commitment; so I happily fulfilled my role as I perceived it to be. I made sure of a couple of party nights each trip at her bar. She
enjoyed showing me off and I was generous in ringing the bell to buy her friends drinks. I met some of her family, we went out to eat together and I bought her some gold jewelry for her birthday as well as giving her some money to give to her
family. All larger issues aside, I could see Zi was proud to have come to Bangkok, found herself a farang and could help her family. I was proud to be that farang and enjoyed her gaining face with her family and friends.

I have taken the tack with Thai girls, that absent a commitment on my part; what they do, who they see, is just flat out none of my business. I am happy to listen when they want to share; but I never ask any questions. When they are with
me, I enjoy their company and the moment. It is no surprise to me that other men care about the young ladies I am with; I do not mind the phone calls and always assure their privacy.

I have never thought it strange or stupid for men to sponsor Thai girls. I think it is a bit foolish and unrealistic to attach too many strings and conditions, but if you really care for the girl; at a minimum, you give her options. It gives
her the option to help her family, to improve her life or change it, to take the pressure off and to pick and choose who she cares to be with.

Zi did not stay working at the bar. I always left her enough to see her through until my next visit and she had other resources as well. On one of my trips; she said she would not be able to see me. I said I understood, but was sure to let
her know where I would be staying. She came to stay with me for only one night on two occasions that trip and it was the same on my following trip. I really cared for Zi and by choice would have spent all my holidays with her, but I had many friends
and was not suffering for companionship. I must say though, the one or two days together with Zi is what filled my dreams while away from Thailand.

Zi had taken me to her room a few times and introduced me to some of her friends who lived and worked nearby. Tiny and hot, Zi’s two meter by five meter room was very basic; a mattress pad on the floor, an English book and the talking
dictionary I had bought for her, a few personal possessions, some clothes and a photo of HRM the King and HRM the Queen on the wall. We ate together in her neighborhood restaurants, I saw how she sent money to her family and she sang to me in
a booth at the local karaoke hall. She told me of the many times she sat drinking, singing karaoke songs alone in the booth, putting in her last ten Baht coins. Zi seemed so happy to sing to me in these booths that any feelings of foolishness
on my part quickly vanished, my heart filling with love for her. These times seemed beyond the script we played at; moments when I felt that this girl genuinely cared for me.

On one trip I traveled to Pattaya with three girlfriends from Bangkok for Songkran. I was planning to stay in Pattaya, but my friends had to be back to work on Monday. We had a fun time and they left early Monday morning. I went back to bed
and shortly heard the door opening in my hotel room. Thinking it was the maids; I was amazed to see Zi. Not only had she figured out where I was staying, but apparently talked the receptionist into giving her a card key! Once again, she said she
could not stay. I did not ask why. She spent two days with me and left. Once again, I was thrilled to have had those two days with her.

Somehow, before my next visit, I knew Zi was pregnant. How I knew is a mystery; but I am perceptive that way. I knew most likely that the child was not mine, although not from a lack of trying. I certainly did not think of it as a crisis
if I should turn out to be the father. I spent a great deal of time fantasizing and day dreaming about having a family with Zi. Silly stuff!

Sure enough, when we were together again; she told me; adding quickly “you not father”. I felt relief, a tiny sliver of disappointment and knew I would need a calculator at some point. Zi did not seem to mind the idea of having
a child, but not all was right in her world. Zi was living with a farang, who along with his friends and Zi, were drunk every day. Zi and I did not drink a great deal when we were together, but from things that she said, I suspected that alcohol
was an issue in her life. She told me…”I cannot drink now”.

After one day with me; Zi said she had to leave, only to come back after two days asking if she could stay with me. An interesting turn of events; but hell, I loved this girl and wanted to see her safe and happy.

I slipped right into the “farang role”, graduating to sponsor status with a touch of western responsibility thrown in and said I would help “take care you”. Zi wanted to go home to her family. I opened a bank account
for her, left her well set up, including money to buy a motorbike and all the information I needed to transfer money into her account. I told her I would send five hundred USD each month until after her baby was born. The relief and happiness
on Zi’s face and her saying “now I can be confident with have my baby” made me feel wonderful.

I saw Zi once while she was pregnant and she often invited me to visit her home. For many reasons I was just not willing to travel upcountry and meet the family. Zi’s son is almost two now.

After my third or fourth red beer and daydreaming about Zi; I felt pretty good. I was wondering if I had enough beer and smokes to spend the day in my recliner without having to go out when I heard the door open. Zi came in loaded down with
bags. I just stared, watching as she dropped everything on the counter. She came over to me, held my wrists to the recliner arms and looked into my eyes. Zi said nothing and I could not think of anything to say. She picked up my empties, went
to the kitchen and brought me a beer, then disappeared into the bedroom.

I heard what sounded like “Aiiieee” every few minutes; then clothes and bedding began flying out the bedroom, piling up outside the door. As Zi walked back and forth, she smiled and rolled her eyes at me. I realized that Zi’s
cute had turned to beauty over the years and she carried herself with a confident composure. I wondered what her life was like now and wondered if she would tell me.

I was nodding and trying to fight sleep when Zi took my hand and led me into my now spotless bedroom. She only said “sleep now” and I did.

I awoke with Zi lying next to me and for a moment did not know where or when I was. She said “Tirak, I go now…I come back; no drink; okay?” I held her and squeezed tightly.

My place was clean and rearranged, my clothes clean and folded, food was on the table for me and when I checked; one lonely beer was in the fridge. Zi said she would come back; I decided that beer would still be there when she did.

As it turned out; she did not return until the following Tuesday and then each Tuesday after that. Zi always stopped at the market before coming over; she had always said she could cook and now I knew that to be true.

She did tell me all about her life and about her son. She has a good life and is happy. Now when Zi talks about the future; the talk is of plans, not dreams. I am so happy for her.

As I finish my coffee, waiting for Zi, I notice the beer that was left on that first Tuesday, still full, but now on the bookshelf months later. I had always wanted Zi to be proud of me. I still do. In my heart, I had always sensed that Zi
would remain a part of my life. I am happy, life is good and Tuesdays are wonderful.

Stickman's thoughts:

Nice, and very nice of you to volunteer to help Zi.

The author can be contacted at:
nana plaza