I Was In Love
She had a smile that could light up the soi, and when she laughed, the angels laughed with her.
We met in a bar, and a few days later she had moved in with me. I couldn't give her much money on my English teacher’s salary, but whatever I had I shared with her. She cooked and cleaned our small flat, washed my clothes, and made me happy.
Her name was Nok.
One night I was in bed channel surfing, and Nok was in the shower. I heard her phone make that little musical sound which meant a message had arrived, the phone also lit up briefly. Nok, as I said, was in the shower.
What should I have done? What would you have done? I waited for Nok to come out, but she didn't. At last, curiosity got the better of me, and I reached over, and looked at the message. Here it is: Sweetheart, I have just checked in, room 2902 in the Sheraton, same place as last time. See you soon. I am waiting for you now. Kisses. Steven
My heart stopped still for a moment. I could hear the shower being turned off and Nok quietly humming a popular Thai tune. I quickly replaced the phone on her side of the bed. She came out of the bathroom, the towel, as always, firmly tucked around her.
She walked over to her side of the bed, picked up the phone, and studied the message.
I said "everything ok?"
She replied "remember Pla, my friend always get drunk? She drunk again. Throw up in bar. I have to go help her."
"Do you want me to come with you?" I offered.
"No. I do myself."
She quickly threw on a T-shirt and pair of jeans, and with a kiss on my cheek, was gone.
I lay there in bed for a few moments, then also got dressed. There was a massage parlor downstairs and I saw no reason why I should be the only person not getting laid that night.
A few days later we were both asleep when I was woken by that familiar sound and the flashing light on her phone. Nok stayed asleep, but I was now wide awake. It took a few minutes of thought, but finally I reached over, took her phone, and pressed the right button.
The message read: Darling, I am boarding my flight now in Frankfurt, I will be there tomorrow morning. I can't wait to see you again. Love, Marc.
I quietly took the phone and tiptoed into the other room, where I copied down both Marc's and Steven's phone numbers. Nok never erased any messages on her phone, thinking it would bring bad luck to let someone’s words disappear.
The next morning I watched her face as she read the message.
"Everything ok?" I asked.
"Sure" she replied. "My mum want 500 baht give monk. Today I go bank and send money she".
It took me a few days to decide what to do, but finally I invited Nok for a special dinner at Pomodoro, our favorite Italian restaurant on Sukhumvit near soi 5. The food wasn't great although they made a decent pizza, but the girl watching on the street was amazing if you were lucky enough to get a table by the window. Except most of them weren't born girls.
We had ordered a glass of wine each, and were making small talk when I looked at my watch. It was 7:19, so I said "Nok, we stay with each other now for three months. You ever go with another man?"
"No, never. Why you ask?"
"I know we are good together. I want to marry you. But I want to talk with you about dowry, sin sot. How much do I have to pay? I don't have so much money."
Before she could reply, her phone lit up. She read the message, her mouth silently forming the words. I had no need to lipread as I knew the message perfectly. I had written it, in fact. Here is what it said: Sweetheart, I have decided to buy the land you wanted and to build you a house. Now I have 2 million baht I want to give you. Come see me now at Tony Roma's so I can ask you one question and give you the money. Steven.
Nok looked at me and said "I happy about dowry. But my friend Pla she drunk again. Not far. I go see she and come back soon and talk you." She was gone.
Tony Roma's is only a few minutes walk from our restaurant. I ordered another glass of wine and counted the minutes. Now I guessed she was with Steven, who was asking to see her phone. He wanted to know if she was seeing other men, and her phone messages would give him the answer. She would be crying now, as Steven was saying he never wanted to see her again. I checked my watch to be sure of the timing, because she would now be getting another message. Here is what it said: Darling, I have decided to buy the Toyota Fortuner you wanted. It cost 1.6 million baht but I can get for 1.5 million. I wait for you now in Gullivers. I want to ask you one question and then I will give you the money. Marc.
She would be running to Gullivers now, about 10 minutes away, drying her tears as she ran, and, I expected, deleting her received messages.
But at Gullivers, Marc asked to see her phone and looked at the sent messages which Nok had failed to delete. You are seeing other men he would say, and she would begin to cry again. I called for the check and as I was paying it, sent Nok a message.
Honey, I have thought about it and want to give you 2 million baht sin sot. I can get money from my parents. Come back soon because I have one question to ask you.
She was back in a flash, make-up gone. She smiled and said "Pla all right now. I take she home. But I lose phone in taxi. What can I do?"
I took out my iPhone. "Nok. I know the password on your email account. While I wait for you I read your email. I know you have many boyfriends. I cannot marry you."
I got up, took a deep breath, and left the restaurant. Nok just sat there, in stunned silence. One of the girls standing on the street came up to me. She smiled. Her smile lit up the soi.
I was in love.