Running on empty, again. I am drinking with my brother-in-laws and other relatives of my wife's Filipina family. I have come to her village in Rizal province to see her and get her back in my arms after having committed sex adventure with an Aberdeen-born lass in the Thailand beach town of Ao Nang. I have gone off the path of decency in my marriage when I entered the pink of a red haired siren one morning. I remember it was raining drips outside as in a dream, while drenched in her musky scents and salty sweats inside.
Someone once wrote me an angry letter after reading my submissions calling me an idiot. The subs are descriptions that speak of narcistic adventure without moral responsibility, but I'd like to tell him that rather than stay the same, I have finally grown clear of a past romance with an "artistic" sensibility that allows one to skirt the moral compass. Is this called growing up? Knowing that going for pink is not one's right just because desire points that way: we make promises that require sacrifice, and if broken, one's own conscience and peace may be broken.
All this is to say I want my wife back. I have come to this hot and mosquito-infested part of the world to ask for her return of heart to me. I sit drinking after hearing she does not want to see me. She is somewhere in the village.
After awhile, past the drunken first point, one of my brother-in-laws tells me where she is.
I decide that I should be fresh, not drunk, when I go to her, and so wait; that is, continue drinking. All the male faces around me are happy: free drink for them, and they are all together, and the Kano seems ready to continue the rounds in this large family where half the lads don't work, and the other half work for a dollar a day.
When I met E…, her family was quite happy. Like in Thailand, marriage to a Westerner seems automatic entry into middle class for the lady, with promise of many gifts for the whole family.
Anyway, I keep drinking and as the dark starts the lads stay. I vaguely wonder why they don't go off to dinner. The hours pass. In the middle of the night I get a call on my cell from my mother in England. She had previously called to tell me that Aberdeen lass had just happened by, as she was in town, to say hello to the mother of her friend (that's me). The news made me nervous. What was that movie where the man was stalked and nearly killed after he ended the affair? <Fatal Attraction – Stick>
My mother now tells me that Aberdeen had stayed for a little sherry, and of course the poor thing had gotten slightly tipped, so had been put up in the guest room.
The next morn they had taken breakfast together. Quite a lovely young thing, my mother noted.
This from a woman who had never quite fancied my marriage to an Asian of almond eyes. Snobbery is not a thing of the past in my homeland. It is one of the reasons I prefer the States. Indeed, my mother would not even be quite free of a certain disdain of Aberdeen's Scottish beginnings, but, in perspective, the origin is a million miles nearer acceptance than one from a province in the Philippines.
The past. Have you guys noticed the strain of it on our right journeys? Of course.
But now in the middle of the night I have arrived against the deterministic outlook. I hope.
If I jerked all my life, perhaps now is the chance to stop. For my true wife is near, and in the morning, and in sober affect, I will go to her and plead for her. I don't have to be prisoner to pink.
This is not to say, even now: tired, and dusty, and stinky, a part of me doesn't feel the wanting to be with Aberdeen Express, or upon the spread silken fur of Mali the bargirl in Ao Nang.
I wonder if one understated gift of old age is the lessening of the sex desire.
It is a weight upon me. Nearly always. Do you guys understand?
I am feeling light-headed now. The spinning tops. Me. Out
I awake on a couch inside the house. My throat gags and the old sour dregs start up, and before I reach the comfort room, I am punished by my unforgiving drunk and vomit, in misery, in company with all the other millions of my mates in common agony states.
I awake with my head exploding. The house is still. I get water.
I want my wife. To be with her. This desire is so strong I leave the house and go outside and travel the single lane to her aunt's house, where I have been told she is staying. There are rooster sounds and dogs barking and no one seems awake except me.
I knock on the door. Nothing. Louder. Then it opens. It is her uncle. He opens the door. Points to the second floor. (Of course probably the whole village knows I am here for my E…, and that she refuses to see me. There are no secrets in these small packs of families crammed together in poverty, and also love.)
I go up the steps. Knock on the door.
I knock. "E…" I say. "Open up. Please."
I knock and knock.
I am so tired. My clothes smell of overnight and beer and vomit. My hair is uncombed and looks not gold but rust.
I am remorseful and have come so far and made, finally, finally, the right and moral choice, to be with her, and now, she doesn't want to see me.
I understand, I really do. I have sinned my love but don't you see I have turned on this road to Damascus?
I start to knock again but then stop.
I am defeated. I have tried. And I also start to feel angry, somehow.
If you don't want to see me, fine, I think.
I'm now at empty.
I turn to go.
But then, something breaks in me. A gear has shifted. I cannot stop its transition.
I raise my hand and knock once more and start to say, "E…"
And my voice loses control and becomes small cry.
And she opens the door.
You can't end it like that…..unless part 2 is on the way!