Through their Eyes – Part III
The taxi ride back to the hotel seemed to take 20 seconds. She organized a drop off point for herself and told the taxi driver where his hotel was. She snuggled up to him and her new packages with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She showed him each piece again and gained his renewed approval. The world motored by magically as he sat there fully engaged in this new ritual.
At her stop, she squeezed his hand and started to get out of the taxi. He leaned over to kiss her. She turned her head and stepped out into the heat. She turned around and gave him her best smile, “I will call you soon.”
He watched her as the taxi pulled away. He was now spinning out of control emotionally. She was on the phone immediately. She wore some cute shorts and a tight top that showed her assets off to maximum effect. The mixed signals to him were more than he could handle. He slumped back in the seat and closed his eyes.
She stood and dialed a friend as soon as she got out of the cab. The fact that he tried to kiss her didn't really register with her and she gave it no thought. She was due to take a call and needed to get back to her apartment.
He walked to a bar across from his hotel, sat down and ordered a beer. It was late afternoon and there was a fairly sparse crowd hanging around talking to the girls, drinking afternoon beers and generally chatting. Clumps of guys sat together chatting about this and that. He couldn't really concentrate on what was going on. He thought about the night before.
His friends had taken him to a bar on Soi 33. He couldn't remember the name of it. He had been drinking moderately but steadily and it had caught up with him around 11pm. It seemed to be full of more women than men and they were all gorgeous. The usual rites of passage to talk to women seemed not to matter here and they just came up and said hello. The bar itself was a little past its use by date, the velvet seats a little crustier than he'd like and the tables ratty and old. The lights were few and far between, with empty sockets and underpowered bulbs. There were older women walking around that seemed to be in charge of affairs. They chatted with the men equally as freely and it was an atmosphere foreign to him for a drinking establishment. He really had no idea.
She trotted up the stairs to the door of her apartment block. This was not the apartment she had taken him to. This was her special place. She never really considered it as a ticket out of her situation; it was, to her, more of the prize that came with her line of work. She didn't even consider it work any more than she thought that fruit was food. She looked at her watch, a baby G someone had bought for her, and smiled. Perfect timing.
His friends were old Bangkok hands and told him all the stories of bar girls, how to obtain them and the traps and pitfalls of getting involved with them. They could have been talking to the wall as his ears registered little of the content or intent of the conversation. The world of limitless women, cheap booze and the lifting of years of constricting marital stiffness started to course through his veins, fueled by alcohol and a deep down realization that his life was about to start again.
She settled into her favourite chair, flicked on the TV and sipped an iced tea. There were leftovers from yesterday sometime there, but she chose some mangosteens she'd picked up at the market. He'd liked them. Usually they steer away from odd-looking fruit, but he was quite ok to try them. Her call was due and she was set to tell “her darling” all about her day at the market, the fact that she'd bought some new clothes, some nice seasonal fruit and had had lunch with friends. Her partitioning of lives was something that came to her as easily as breathing.
The night was full of bar hopping, drinking, girls on knees and they felt good, so good, so very very good. Never did he think he'd feel anything like that again. At every stop he wanted to stay, but the “old Bangkok hands” dragged him from bar to bar, aware of the tight closing times, they wanted to peruse as much of the available female company as they could.
Last night she'd been Noi, today she was Pen.
She answered the phone “Ka?”
“Ti?, how are you. I've missed you”
It was 2am when they staggered out of their final bar. The old Bangkok hands had pretty well either gone home to their wives, gone out with one of the girls or was now too drunk to be of much use. He spied a stall across the soi that had seats. He was hungry and decided to try some of the local food. He sat down and on the table next to him was a girl talking on the phone and not so delicately wolfing down a bowl of noodles. She was a goddess. His breath was taken away. He just stared. He snapped out of his myopic stare when his brain registered that she was talking to him..
“Hello. My name is Pen, where are you from?”
Her call never lasted more than 15 to 20 minutes. She liked to “save money”, which always appealed to him, as he paid the bills anyway. He was always on time, they always talked about the same thing. She dialed the number for tonight's meeting.
“Hello, this is Pen, remember me??”
His phone rang, breaking the trance he was in. He looked at the number and knew it was Pen. His heart raced. “She likes me” raced through his brain and he answered. They chatted and arranged to head to a bar in Soi Cowboy. He thought this odd, but didn't question it. Just to see her again made his loins stir and his heart beat a little harder.
She showered and started to dress for the evening. She was not really looking forward to it. He was nice, but, well, just another man. She chose her usual style of tight clothes that showed her off in a slutty enough manner that would get her a man but not get her arrested.
He ironed his best shirt, showered and shaved. He put his favourite cologne on and looked at himself in the mirror. A fine specimen looked back at him. It was a long long time ago he'd ever thought that looking in the mirror, but Pen made him feel alive and a man again.
She had arranged a meeting at 9pm so she was in no hurry. She could get a motorcycle taxi down there in about 15 minutes. The ones on the corner knew her well and would see her exit her apartment and come down and pick her up. No need to waste money on taxis.
He made his excuses to the “old Bangkok hands at 8:30” and headed for a taxi
It was 8:45pm when she stepped onto the road looking for a motorcycle. She could never have seen the black Mercedes careering down the Soi with a nineteen year old society boy at the helm, high on drugs, angry at someone, and talking on his phone.
At 10:00pm he sat on the stool outside the bar, devastated. All of his dreams had been dashed. She didn't answer her phone. She had not called. She had not turned up. He would wait all night if he had to.
She died instantly. The Mercedes hit her at an angle that threw her into the post she was standing next to. The motorcycle taxis poured down the Soi to see what had happened. The Mercedes driver didn't stop. No one chased him.
It was midnight. He was full of booze, heart broken and wanted revenge. How dare she stand him up? Had he not given her money? Had he not bought her clothes? In his mind he had done the right thing. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and he thought for an instant that it was Pen, his spirits lifted.
“Hello, my name is Da, where are you from?”
“Hi, I am Ken from England. Would you like a drink?”
A very nicely penned story!