Stickman Readers' Submissions October 4th, 2008

Looking Into Their Eyes

He looked around the room. It was poorly lit, had a bed at one end adorned with various pillows, stuffed toys and a cover with a Japanese toy or cartoon on it. Bright blue and yellow, the colours screamed at him against the light violet paint covering
the walls. It was very tidy, nothing out of place. Against the wall was a small desk of sorts, with a few items of makeup, some photos and a wallet. A small wardrobe stood in the corner, ajar slightly and there were a few select items
hanging up.

He could hear the sounds of her in the outside bathroom. A door led outside to a tiny balcony where clothes were hung struggling to dry in the tropical atmosphere. A toilet shower co-existed in the confined space of the balcony. Bars
kept unwanted people out, and unsuspecting people in.

Feeling stupid, he looked around for a fridge. There was nothing. The room and the balcony were it. A bottle of water sat by the bed and his need to do something had him pick it up and test its temperature. Warm of course. The air-conditioning
had not been turned on and a fan in the corner, bolted to the wall waved backwards and forwards sending a small breeze across his brow every few seconds.

He wanted to leave. What was he doing there? What compelled him to follow her up here? She came through the door wearing a towel, a smile and was brushing her hair.

“Are you OK?”

“Sure” he replied, not really knowing what to do or say.

He nervously looked to the door and curtains that covered the window that faced to corridor. This complex was a series of rooms, all identical, rented out to those souls who poured into Bangkok for work constantly. This was the second
floor, where the “richer” residents stayed as there was air-conditioning and a balcony.

“Don’t worry. I always lock”, she sat on the bed preening…

Four days ago he’d been sitting in his bed sitter in England, feeling a victim of a messy divorce and a love gone bad. He’d married her when he left high school to work for the local car factory. Three kids and a lack
of mutual interest had seen them devolve more and more until one day they didn’t know each other any more. He could not determine when that might have been, but it just happened. He had traveled here to visit a friend who had left
the homeland two years ago to be with his “loved ones”. He was 47, had kids, grand kids and little if no residual debt. His pension would kick in if he was laid off and his wages, though not stellar, would keep him going
quite nicely thank you very much…

He looked up and she was asking him something. His hearing seemed to be dulled by the ridiculousness of the situation and he said “Sorry, what?”

She smiled; it was not uncommon for her to see this reaction. She put her hand on his knee and asked him if he wanted a shower. She indicated the balcony by pointing at it while she checked her nose in the mirror. There was no sense
of urgency. She was comfortable with this and her confidence calmed him. Her touch was warm and welcoming. She was small, a real woman. His heart beat in his chest. He headed out to the balcony to check out the amenities.

The toilet had no seat and there was water all over the floor. A hose was attached to the wall and the head was latched on to it. He looked for toilet paper and there was none. It was a stupid thing to think about, but he wondered
how he would get on if he had to. . . .

She was standing behind him again. Her phone rang and she answered it, poking him with her other hand that held the towel she thought he was looking for.

Looking around, not really wanting a shower but sensing somehow this was the thing to do, he then stressed on where to get changed. He wasn’t going to go back inside (where he could hear a muted conversation going on) and the
bathroom was awash in water. He could get undressed on the balcony, but that was against all of his 47 years of experience. He stepped inside, looking for a hook for his clothes. There was none. This was not going to be easy…

Inside, she deliberately kept her chatter down. She knew that her talking to another man would not go down very well. She felt that this one was going to be good for a few days; he seemed nice, didn’t drink too much and didn’t
smell of sour milk. She contemplated going to the market later for some food and some fruit. It depended on what happened in the next hour, but she gave that little thought. She decided to ring a friend while she waited…

The shower logistics were complex. He managed to get his shoes and socks off without getting the socks wet. He then realized that he’d have to step outside to get his pants off. Once the decision had been made, he stepped out
and got his undressing logistics sorted out.

He stepped back inside the room, clean and nervous. He was wearing his towel. She quickly ended her call, sitting there looking into the mirror, also in a towel. She turned and looked at him smiling.

He ordered another beer. His afternoon had been exciting, guilt ridden and among the best times he had ever had. She had been everything and more he could ever have wanted. She sat across from him eating some local food. It was hot
as the gates of hell and she didn’t appear to sweat at all. She was taking a lot of calls and making them too. This seemed odd, but she was comfortable nattering away in her local dialect. He wanted to see her again and he wanted
her again.

“Can I see you later?”

“Up to you”

He was not sure how to react. She was the ultimate “mate”, when they were alone, but out in the world she seemed to change, become indifferent and distracted. Her phone seemed to be her closest companion and she constantly
took and made calls. Now and then she would duck away and he could hear her speaking English, but could not make out the conversation. He was not naïve as to think he was her boyfriend, but he was being bitten heavily by her allure
and it was breaking his heart. Feelings he didn’t know he could have were erupting in his chest…

To be continued…

Stickman’s thoughts:

EXCELLENT start. I’m hooked already.

He Clinic Bangkok
nana plaza